Bilbao native actress Mercedes López de Luzuriaga dies at 95

From lab assistant to 'Camera Café' star, Mercedes López de Luzuriaga's life is a testament to pursuing dreams regardless of age.

That dreams can be fulfilled at any time, and that age is just a number is something that Mercedes López de Luzuriaga was responsible for demonstrating throughout her life. The actress, who leaped into the world of acting at 70, passed away this past Tuesday at the age of 95, after having become a recognizable face in Spanish series recently, especially for her regular appearance in the series Camera Café.

Mercedes López de Luzuriaga played none other than Asunción ‘Asun’ Sempere, the company’s ‘intern.’ Asun’ was undoubtedly one of the funniest and most likable characters of the whole series, along with Esperanza Pedreño‘s Cañizares, whom we can now see in Poquita fe, and César Sarachu‘s Bernardo, another Bilbao native with whom she made good friends on screen.

Born in the Biscayan town of Lemóiz but raised in Bilbao, López de Luzuriaga spent most of her life at Cruces Hospital in Bilbao, where she worked as a clinical assistant in the biochemistry laboratory. However, she tried to combine her work with her true passion, cinema, which she had given up when she was young because “it was frowned upon,” as she revealed in an interview in 2007.

Imagen de 'Camera Café'
Image of ‘Camera Café.’

‘Camera café’ was her first and last appearance.

Although López de Luzuriaga had participated for years as an extra in films such as El otro árbol de Gernika by Pedro Lazaga or Todo Por la Pasta by Enrique Urbizu, it was not until 2005, with more than 70 years behind him, that he got his long-awaited jump to the world of acting. And she did it with flying colors, as she made her character one of the most beloved of the series and also one of the most iconic, so much so that Ernesto Sevilla returned to count on her for the adaptation of the series in feature film format, Camera Café, the movie.

That has been the last appearance of the actress on the big screen. However, in between, she has been very present in several series of Spanish television, including no less than Cuéntame cómo pasó, Hospital Central, or La Que se Avecina.

In the latter, she played Balbina, a friend of Izaskun (Mariví Bilbao) and Mari Tere (Gemma Cuervo), who appeared in an episode of the fourth season, in which she died suddenly after inheriting 30 million from her husband, money with which the neighbors of Montepinar managed to clean up their accounts. The actress has left much more than that, a valuable lesson that dreams, sooner or later, come true.

Reactions to the loss have not been long in coming. One of the earliest was that of Pólvora Films, a production company directed by Arturo Valls, Luzuriaga’s partner in Camera Café. “Sad news, today Mercedes Luzuriaga has left us. From Pólvora Films, we send all our love to her family and friends. How fortunate to have been able to count on the best intern for our office,” said the team on its official Twitter account.