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Argentine film director Leandro Favio dies at 74

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ALMUDENA CALATRAVA | November 5, 2012 06:06 PM EST | AP

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BUENOS AIRES, Argentina — Movie director, actor and singer Leandro Favio, one of Argentina's most important cultural figures, has died. He was 74.

Argentine national film institute spokeswoman Susan Casais says Favio died Monday after suffering from chronic illnesses.

Favio was known for his romantic ballads, helping to establish a genre later filled by many Latin American crooners. He was a film star in the 1950s and 60s, and then fled into exile when Argentina's military dictatorship took over in 1976. Favio returned after democracy was restored and made films celebrating his hero, Gen. Juan Domingo Peron.

Favio's last film, titled "The Good People," celebrates Argentina's bicentennial as well as the current government, which he supported. A viewing was being held Monday night in Argentina's Senate in his honor.