Cesar Romero: 1907-1994: Dancer, Actor
Nicknamed The "latin From Manhattan"
Romero and Universal disagreed over Romero's desire for a raise, and in 1937 Romero left the studio to join Twentieth Century, which was in the process of merging with Fox. He stayed with Twentieth Century-Fox for 15 years, making close to five movies a year. Romero later remembered his days as a studio actor with fondness. "It used to be one big family, this industry," he told the Toronto Star. "You knew everybody at all the studios and you saw them often. Every Sunday night you'd be at the Trocadero for the show and you'd know everybody." Romero was known as "Butch" to his close friends, a nickname bestowed on him as a comic antithesis to his demeanor. For his part, Romero, now living in Hollywood, often referred to himself tongue-in-cheek as the "Latin from Manhattan."
During the late 1930s and early 1940s, Romero played alongside Shirley Temple in Wee Willie Winkie and in The Little Princess, in which he starred as Ram Dass. He worked with Sonja Henie in Happy Landing. After playing a henchman in Return of the Cisco Kid in 1939, Romero later became the first Latin actor to portray the Cisco Kid, a role previously played by Anglo actors. In one of the favorite roles of his career, Romero played the light-hearted role in several installments of the movie series, including Cisco Kid and the Lady, Lucky Cisco Kid, Viva Cisco Kid, and The Gay Caballero.
Romero also appeared in supporting roles in a number of musicals, including the 1941 films Tall, Dark and Handsome, The Great American Broadcast, Dance Hall, and Week-End in Havana. He joined Betty Grable in Springtime in the Rockies and Coney Island, and reunited with Henie in Wintertime in 1943. In 1942 Romero enlisted in the U.S. Coast Guard. Romero had already served as a lieutenant in the California State Guards, as a member of the Evacuation Corps, and as an air warden. During his three-year stint with the Coast Guard, Romero rose to the highest of noncommissioned ranks, chief boat-swain's mate.
After World War II, Twentieth Century-Fox sent Romero and Tyrone Power on a promotional tour of South America. After returning, Romero took on one of the few starring roles of his long career as the Spanish explorer Hernando Cortez in the 1947 film Captain from Castile. In all, Romero made seven films between 1947 and 1949. In 1950 he ended his long relationship with Twentieth Century-Fox to become a freelance actor.
Romero remained busy, making an average of two movies a year for the next three decades. He appeared with Gary Cooper and Burt Lancaster in Vera Cruz, with Frank Sinatra and Dean Martin in the original Ocean's Eleven, and with John Wayne in Donovan's Reef. He also had a role in the Oscar-winning Around the World in 80 Days in 1956. During the 1980s and early 1990s, Romero slowed his prolific movie schedule, and his last film appearance was in 1991, in the black comedy Mortuary Academy.
With the advent of television, Romero found a new forum in which to display his multiple talents. From the 1950s, he appeared regularly in a wide range of guest roles including variety shows, westerns, comedy, and drama. He was a frequent guest on Zorro, Bonanza, Wagon Train, and The Love Boat. He starred as a mysterious foreign courier in a short-lived television series Passport to Danger, which aired from 1954-55. During the 1980s, at the age of 78, he spent two years playing Jane Wyman's love interest on the popular dramatic series Falcon Crest.
- Cesar Romero: 1907-1994: Dancer, Actor - Portrayed "the Joker"
- Cesar Romero: 1907-1994: Dancer, Actor - Made Screen Debut
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