Mexican telenovela star Rafael Amaya's incredible success, from singer to 'El Señor de los Cielos'

Gisselle Bances

Will Aurelio Casillas wake up from his coma? That’s what El Señor de los Cielos (Lord of the Skies) fans are dying to know. As the sixth season of the hugely successful telenovela comes to an end, Rafael Amaya’s Mexican drug lord Casillas’s future is unknown. But before you start freaking out, the Spanish-language soap has been picked up a seventh season, so don’t despair. “Arre!”

Did you know before Amaya started playing a rough-and-tough narco boss, he began his career as a singer? Really! He teamed up with Mexican group Garibaldi, but two albums later, he decided to leave. In 2000, Amaya put music on the back burner to focus on his real passion, acting. He quickly rose up the ranks of telenovelas, and by 2004, he starred in his first movie. He’s made more than 12 films in both English and Spanish, but none have matched the incredible success of “Aurelio Casillas.”

Rafael Amaya and Carmen Aub
Rafael Amaya and co-star Carmen Aub attend “El Señor de los Cielos” Season 6 premiere, May 7, 2018. (Photo: Victor Chavez/Getty Images)

The Mexican-born actor landed the role of Casillas in Telemundo’s super series El Señor de los Cielos in 2003. Six seasons — and 9 million Facebook followers — later, the telenovela is an undeniable hit. May’s Season 6 premiere came in at No. 1 in primetime TV, beating out CBS and ABC. That’s right, it outperformed some of the biggest shows in one of the most-coveted categories, adults 18-49. With nearly 2 million viewers per episode in July, this Spanish soap appears to be unstoppable.

The telenovela won an International Emmy in 2014, and Amaya has received seven awards, including three Premios Tu Mundo for Favorite Lead Actor. The franchise even inspired him to launch his own Western-style clothing line, which the cast wears on camera.

In May, Telemundo confirmed that El Señor de los Cielos will return for a seventh season. Word is Amaya’s character will turn himself in to U.S. authorities. What?!? Fans, prepare for a bumpy and action-filled ride!

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