Carlos Fuentes was born in Panama on November 11, 1928. He studied law at the National University of Mexico and did graduate work at the Institute des Hautes Etudes in Switzerland. He entered Mexico's diplomatic service and wrote in his spare time. His first novel, Where the Air Is Clear, was published in 1958. His other works include The Death of Artemio Cruz, Destiny and Desire, and Vlad. The Old Gringo was later adapted as a film starring Gregory Peck and Jane Fonda in 1989. He won numerous awards including the Fuentes the Romulo Gallegos Prize in Venezuela for Terra Nostra, the National Order of Merit in France, the Cervantes Prize in 1987, and Spain's Prince of Asturias Award for literature in 1994. He also wrote essays, short stories, screenplays, and political nonfiction. In addition to writing, he taught at numerous universities, including Columbia, Harvard, Princeton, and Brown. He served as the ambassador of Mexico to France. He died on May 15, 2012 at the age of 83.