Héctor is the deuteragonist from Pixar's Academy Award winning film, Coco. Héctor was a musician in life who died and became a resident of the Land of the Dead. He is also the great-great grandfather of the film's protagonist, Miguel Rivera. When Miguel gets lost in the Land of the Dead, Héctor acts as his main guide in his quest to find the famed singer Ernesto de la Cruz and return to the world of the living.
He is voiced by Gael García Bernal in both the English and Spanish dub.
Héctor has been trying to be honored for many years since his death, but as he died destitutely he was never able to receive last-rites from his family. Being recognized on Día de Los Muertos is what gives one prestige and fortune in the afterlife Land of the Dead. Héctor has been without honor for so long he is in danger of fading away, as his last living immediate family is close to dying and senile, so they no-longer even recall him and he is in danger of dying his second death. When a spirit dies their second death they fade away into nothingness. Héctor is desperately trying to find someone, anyone to honor him before he fades away. He has even assumed a new alias, "Frida Kahlo", in order to be retroactively adopted into a family via the family ofrenda during Día de Los Muertos, thus honored among their ancestors.
Héctor is somewhat desperate because he really want to go to the Land of the Living to see his family, but nobody put his picture up. He is mischievous, charming, sly, caring, loving, benevolent, protective, crafty, stubborn, humorous, romantic and fatherly. Like his great-great grandson, Héctor is also well-meaning.
Miguel meets Héctor while making his way through the Land of the Living. Héctor introduces himself as Frida Kahlo. Miguel Rivera is alive but was cursed for removing a guitar from a memorial and now needs the blessing of his family to return to the Land of the Living.
Miguel hears that Héctor knows Ernesto de la Cruz and asks Héctor to take him to Ernesto to receive his blessing so he can go home. Héctor agrees if when he returns Miguel will add him to his family's ofrenda, Miguel accepts and Héctor acts as Miguel's guide through the Land of the Dead.
Very soon, Héctor sneaks into Ernesto's mansion while interrupting Miguel and Ernesto's exchange. Héctor reminds Miguel of their deal before confronting his old friend and reveals that all Ernesto is famous songs were actually written by him. When Héctor says Ernesto once said he would move heaven and earth for him, Miguel points out how that quote was actually used in one of de la Cruz's films. Héctor sees the film and retraces the events of his last night alive out loud. He remembers a fight with Ernesto about his decision for wanting to go back to his family and making amends with a drink before walking to the train station. Héctor recalls succumbing to a pain and dying. Suddenly, he accuses Ernesto of poisoning him to steal his songs and guitar for himself before attacking Ernesto who quickly has his guards take Héctor away. While being pulled away, Héctor condemns Ernesto for his deeds. When Miguel questions this, Ernesto asks Miguel if he believes Héctor and the latter tries to assure Ernesto that he doesn't but Ernesto recognizes the doubt in Miguel's voice and calls for his guards to take Miguel away as well.
Héctor and Miguel are thrown in the ceneto, where Miguel starts to cry in sadness and finds Héctor. Eventually, while recounting their regrets, they piece together that Héctor is Miguel's real great-great grandfather, which delights both.
Shortly after the discovery, Dante leads the other Riveras to them to save them. Imelda is still hostile toward Héctor, Miguel somewhat mends the relationship by revealing the truth of Héctor's death. This Imelda is still resistant, she soon agrees to help as Coco is losing her memory of them. The Riveras arrive at Ernesto's concert to get Héctor's photo back. Héctor is touched when Imelda calls him the love of her life, though she hides it. Later on, Héctor helps Miguel with playing music for Imelda who sung and they share a moment before the get ready to give their blessing to send Miguel back with the photo. However, Ernesto interrupts the blessing by seizing Miguel as Héctor begs Ernesto not to hurt him but the latter refuses while the other Rivera's secretly record the event. While doing so, the truth of Ernesto's role in Héctor's death is revealed as well as his theft. Ernesto then drops Miguel from the building, which horrifies Héctor. Ernesto casually walks past the horrified family and sarcastically apologizes to a stunned Héctor before leaving. Dante tries to save him but Miguel is too heavy and he loses the photo mid-fall. Miguel is saved by Pepita at the last second, but Hector's photo disappears in the lake.
Ernesto goes on stage and discovers his crimes have been exposed to the audience filmed by deceased Rivera's, everyone is booing at him as the monster he is and Pepita punishes him for his actions on the Rivera Family. With dawn on it's way, Miguel is almost completely a spirit. Héctor is starting to fade away and though Miguel does not want to leave him, he is forced to accept Imelda's blessing to save him and Coco.
Upon awakening in Ernesto's mausoleum, Miguel immediately runs back home. Once home, Miguel finds Mama Coco catatonic, having lost most of her memory. Miguel, heartbroken at seeing his great-grand-mother in he deteriorated state, breaks-down before his parents. Suddenly, Miguel recalls Héctor's guitar and sings "Remember Me" to Coco to remind her of Héctor. Coco suddenly recalls her father and she reveals a picture of him as well as his letters containing his songs to the other Riveras.
The film's finale skips ahead to one year, where Héctor and music are a celebrated part of the Rivera family. The truth of Héctor's songs has also been revealed and he is now regarded as the best musician while Ernesto is condemned.
Héctor is also excited to learn that he finally allowed to cross over since his picture has been found. He has made amends with Imelda and they are happy together while they are reunited with their now deceased daughter Coco. Crossing over with his family, Héctor dances with his wife as they watch their living descendants celebrate their legacy. He soon joins Miguel in playing a song on his very own guitar.
- Héctor is one of the six characters in the movie to be voiced by the same actor in both the English and Latin American Spanish dubs of the film, the others being Julio Rivera, the Departure Agent, the Security Guard, Tío Berto, and Luisa Rivera.
- Héctor was 21 years old when he died.
- The officer (who let him off with a warning) must have felt sorry for him after Ernesto's actions were exposed.
- He was born in 1900 and is a year younger than his wife Imelda.
- This suggests that he was married and had a child by the age of 18, since Coco, his daughter, was born in 1918, and his wife was 19 then.
- Héctor's last name was Rivera and his wife's was the same. His daughter later took up the name and her daughter, in turn, passed it on. Even if the society were matriarchal, then Hector's last name must not have been Rivera.
- However, this may hold true if Coco had decided to retain her birth name and Abuelita had followed suit.
- This may also be if the family intermarried with their own cousins.