MADRID – Spanish film director Josep Joan Bigas Luna, who discovered actors Penelope Cruz and Javier Bardem and whose 1992 movie “Jamon, Jamon” launched their careers, has died in northeast Spain, aged 67.

News agency Europa Press and Spanish state broadcaster RTVE, citing members of the director’s family, said Bigas Luna died early Saturday at his home in Riera de Gaia after a long battle with cancer.

Bigas Luna was born in Barcelona on March 19, 1946, and became one of Spain’s most influential filmmakers.

He shot his first work, “Tatuaje” (“Tattoo”) in 1976, but it was the explosively erotic and humorous “Jamon, Jamon” that earned him the Silver Lion at the Venice Film Festival and the Jury Award at the San Sebastian film festival.