Cesar Romero

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Cesar Romero

Cesar Romero as photographed by Allan Warren in 1973.
BornCesar Julio Romero, Jr.
(1907-02-15)February 15, 1907
New York City, New York, U.S.
DiedJanuary 1, 1994(1994-01-01) (aged 86)
Santa Monica, California, U.S.
Cause of deathbronchitis and pneumonia
Resting placecremated; ashes interred at Inglewood Park Cemetery
Other namesButch, Latin from Manhattan
OccupationActor
Years active1933–1990
 
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Cesar Romero

Cesar Romero as photographed by Allan Warren in 1973.
BornCesar Julio Romero, Jr.
(1907-02-15)February 15, 1907
New York City, New York, U.S.
DiedJanuary 1, 1994(1994-01-01) (aged 86)
Santa Monica, California, U.S.
Cause of deathbronchitis and pneumonia
Resting placecremated; ashes interred at Inglewood Park Cemetery
Other namesButch, Latin from Manhattan
OccupationActor
Years active1933–1990

Cesar Julio Romero, Jr. (February 15, 1907 – January 1, 1994) was an American film and television actor who was active in film, radio, and television for almost sixty years. His wide range of screen roles included Latin lovers, historical figures in costume dramas, characters in light domestic comedies, and as the Joker in the Batman TV series.

Contents

Early life

Cesar Romero as part of the deck crew aboard the USS Cavalier, 1940s

Romero was born in New York City, the son of Maria Mantilla and Cesar Julio Romero.[1] His father was a native of Italy and was an importer-exporter of sugar refining machinery, and his mother was a Cuban concert singer.[citation needed] That lifestyle[clarification needed], however, changed dramatically when his parents lost their sugar import business and suffered losses in the Stock Market Crash of 1929. Romero's Hollywood earnings allowed him to support his large family, all of whom followed him to the West Coast years later. Romero lived on and off with various family members, especially his sister, for the rest of his life.

In October 1942, he voluntarily enlisted in the U.S. Coast Guard and served in the Pacific Theater. He reported aboard the Coast Guard-manned assault transport USS Cavalier in November, 1943. According to a press release from the period he saw action during the invasions of Tinian and Saipan. The same article mentioned that he preferred to be a regular part of the crew and was eventually promoted to the rate of Chief Boatswain's Mate.[2]

Career

In Public Enemy's Wife (1936)

Romero played "Latin lovers" in films from the 1930s until the 1950s, usually in supporting roles. He starred as The Cisco Kid in six westerns made between 1939 and 1941. Romero danced and performed comedy in the 20th Century Fox films he starred in opposite Carmen Miranda and Betty Grable, such as Week-End in Havana and Springtime in the Rockies, in the 1940s. He also played a minor role as Sinjin, a piano player in Glenn Miller's band, in the 1942 20th Century Fox musical, Orchestra Wives.

In The Thin Man (1934), Romero played a villainous supporting role opposite the film's main star William Powell. Many of Romero's films from this early period saw him cast in small character parts, such as Italian gangsters and East Indian princes. He also appeared in a comic turn as a subversive opponent to Frank Sinatra and his crew in Ocean's 11.

20th Century Fox, along with mogul Darryl Zanuck, personally selected Romero to co-star with Tyrone Power in the Technicolor historical epic Captain from Castile (1947), directed by Henry King. While Power played a fictionalized character, Romero played Hernán Cortés, a historical conquistador in Spain's conquest of the Americas.

Television

Among his many television credits, Romero appeared several times on NBC's The Martha Raye Show in the middle 1950s. He played the role of Don Diego de la Vega's uncle in a number of Season Two Zorro episodes.[3] In 1958, he guest starred as Ramon Valdez, a South American businessman, who excels at doing the Cha-Cha with Barbara Eden in her syndicated romantic comedy, How to Marry a Millionaire in the episode "The Big Order". He performed the mambo with Gisele MacKenzie on her NBC variety show, The Gisele MacKenzie Show. Also in 1957, he guest-starred on The Lucy-Desi Comedy Hour on the first episode of the seventh season ("Lucy Takes a Cruise to Havana"). He also played a card sharp on an episode of Wagon Train, "The Honorable Don Charlie Story" 1958.

On January 16, 1958, Romero appeared on NBC's The Ford Show, Starring Tennessee Ernie Ford.[4] In 1965, Romero played the head of THRUSH in France in The Man from U.N.C.L.E. ("The Never Never Affair").

Cesar Romero (standing) in his role as the Joker in Batman. Also pictured here are his co-stars from the 1966 film Batman, Burgess Meredith (left) as the Penguin and Frank Gorshin as the Riddler.

From 1966 to 1968, Romero played the Joker in ABC's television series, Batman. He refused to shave his mustache and so the Joker's white face makeup was simply smeared over it when playing the supervillain throughout the series' run, and in the spin-off 1966 film. However, Romero's facial hair can still be seen in some shots. Romero also appeared in an episode of Daniel Boone as Spanish army captain, Esteban de Vaca in 1966.

In the 1970s, Romero portrayed the absent father of the Freddie Prinze character Chico Rodriguez in Chico and the Man, and later Peter Stavros in the television series Falcon Crest (1985–1987). Among Romero's guest star work in the 1970s was a recurring role on the western comedy Alias Smith and Jones, starring Pete Duel and Ben Murphy. Romero played Señor Armendariz, a Mexican rancher feuding with Patrick McCreedy (Burl Ives), the owner of a ranch on the opposite side of the border. He appeared in three episodes. He also appeared as Count Dracula on Rod Serling's Night Gallery, and guest-starred in an episode of Bewitched.

Apart from these television roles, Romero appeared as A.J. Arno, a small-time criminal who continually opposes Dexter Riley (played by Kurt Russell) and his schoolmates of Medfield College in a series of films by Walt Disney Productions in the 1970s. He also appeared in a sixth-season episode of The Golden Girls, where he played a suitor named Tony Delvechio for Sophia who disappoints her when she tells him "I love you" after a night of passion and he doesn't return the sentiment.

Personal life

Romero said his grandfather on his mother's side was Cuban poet and patriot José Martí.

Romero never married, but made regular appearances on the Hollywood social circuit in the company of attractive actresses; however, he was almost always described in interviews and articles as a "confirmed bachelor".[5][6]

Romero was a registered Republican and in October 1960 he appeared in the Nixon-Lodge Bumper Sticker Motorcade Campaign.[7]

Romero died on New Year's Day 1994 from bronchitis and pneumonia. His ashes were interred at Inglewood Park Cemetery in the city of Inglewood, California.

Filmography

References

External links

Preceded by
New title
Joker Actor
1966 - 1968
Succeeded by
Jack Nicholson