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Cesar Romero: 1907-1994: Dancer, Actor

Made Screen Debut

Romero made his screen debut in 1933 in an unnoticed, low-budget film, The Shadow Laughs. After an impressive screen test for MGM, the production company signed Romero to a bit part in the 1934 hit film, The Thin Man. During the early days of film, actors were hired by a production company and worked on movies solely under the studio's label. However, MGM loaned Romero to Universal Studios for his 1934 role in British Agent. Following the film's release, Universal signed him to a three-year deal. When author Preston Sturges wrote the screenplay for his edgy comedy The Good Fairy, Romero was assigned the role of a sexy gigolo. From early in his career, Romero was singled out for parts that emphasized his image as the ultimate Latin lover. This characterization provided film opportunities for Romero, but the typecasting also limited the scope of his career.

Romero's association with Universal in the 1930s also included roles in Hold 'em Yale and Diamond Jim. He was also loaned out to newly formed Twentieth Century for numerous films, including Clive of India and Cardinal Richelieu. Romero won the lead role in The Devil is a Woman after the picture's first choice abandoned the project. According to James R. Parish and William T. Leonard's Hollywood Players: The Thirties, Romero was thrilled by the chance to play a true leading man role in a major film. "I wanted the role terribly because I knew how much it could do for me. But I don't think I had a dog's chance of getting it," Romero said. In fact, Romero was awarded the lead role, but the film was a commercial and critical failure—the Spanish government complained that it presented an insulting image of the Spanish military, and insisted it be withdrawn from theaters. After seven months the film was pulled from theaters, and Romero's chance to claim a spot as a full-fledged leading man had passed.

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Brief BiographiesBiographies: Dudley Randall Biography - A Poet from an Early Age to Ferrol Sams Jr BiographyCesar Romero: 1907-1994: Dancer, Actor Biography - Danced His Way Into Show Business, From Dinner Club To The Stage, Made Screen Debut