Our beloved friend George Hernandez passed away gently, in his sleep, of a heart attack, on February 20, 2001, at his home in Los Angeles. He is deeply missed by his loving family and friends in Los Angeles, Boston, Miami, and Havana.
George was a delight to be with. We will forever miss his boundless warmth and compassion, his humor, his decency, generosity, and good, strong values. His brilliant mind overflowed with original thinking, creativity, and wit.
George was born in Havana on July 23, 1953. He left Cuba with his family when he was seven years old. He studied film and journalism at N.Y.U., and his writing was published in Interview, and elsewhere during this time. He made Los Angeles his home in the 1970s.
George loved music, and produced the first Latin music radio program to be syndicated nationally. In the 1990s, George produced major Latin music concerts in Los Angeles, featuring famed Cuban bassist Israel Lopez Cachao, the Cuban National Folkloric Dance Ensemble, and many others. George was Associate Producer of three recordings by Cachao. All three recordings were Grammy-nominated, and “Masters Sessions, Volume 1” won the award in 1994. He was also Executive Producer of Caravana Cubana’s “Late Night Sessions,” which received two Grammy nominations in 2000.
In September 2000, George produced Mambo Mass, a live concert of sacred music, featuring Cachao.
George was also deeply involved with film, which was perhaps his first creative love. He was Director of Foreign Adaptations in Post-Production at Paramount Pictures for eight years (1988-1996). He was Associate Producer and Post-Production Supervisor for the feature-length documentary Cachao-Como Su Ritmo No Hay Dos, directed by Andy Garcia, and Just the Ticket for CineSon and MGM/UA.
He co-produced the 1999 PBS concert Americanos with Edward James Olmos, at The Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C., which received an Imagen Award for Best Television Special – Musical or Comedy. George’s most recent film production was the HBO movie For Love or Country; The Arturo Sandoval Story.
In addition to recordings and films, George imprinted his legacy as co-founder/director of the annual L.A. Latino International Film Festival.
A film scholarship fund has been established in George’s name by the L.A. Latino International Film Festival. Donations can be sent to LALIFF, 6777 Hollywood Boulevard, #500, Los Angeles, California, 90028, marked “George Hernandez Fund.”
George had a wide circle of adoring family, friends, and colleagues, in whose hearts and souls he will always live.
TE RECORDAREMOS, QUERIDO AMIGO.