The Colombian Fernando Gaitán, author of I am Betty the Ugly one, died on Tuesday at 58 years after suffering a cardiorespiratory arrest in a clinic in Bogota. Gaitán was known worldwide for that soap opera, which aired in more than 120 countries, was dubbed into 15 languages and adapted 22 times. It is the telenovela with the greatest international tour in history, the "most successful", according to the Guinness Book of Records.
Gaitán worked from the age of 22 in the world of TV. In 1994 he became known with his first great work, woman-fragranced coffee, of 1994, considered the best Colombian telenovela until that date. He himself surpassed himself in 1999 with I am Betty the Ugly one, where the titular character, an intelligent economist but socially awkward and embarrassed by her appearance, went to work as a secretary in a fashion company. Some 169 episodes later would end up falling in love with his boss, Don Armando. The original series began broadcasting on October 25, 1999 and ended in 2001, but the life of that work had just begun.
Since then Betty La Fea has been synonymous with success. There have been versions and dubbings of it all over the world, included United States with Betty, and a spin-off called Ecomoda. Gaitán himself premiered in 2017 a theatrical adaptation with the original cast, which he took on tour in Latin America.
Meanwhile, I worked on other projects, such as Until the silver separates us in 2006 or Open heart, in 2010. Recently, he had signed a contract with Sony Pictures to develop a miniseries, according to AFP. As far as is known, he would mix all the ingredients that marked his work: romantic comedy with a point of thriller. It was going to be broadcast on Sony's digital platform.