In honor of the special focus on Turner Classics Movies in May on "Race & Hollywood: Latino Images in Film", each of the writers for the Movie Morlocks Blog on the TCM website posted pieces in the first week of the month that reflected Hispanic contributions to American movies. These diverse highlights included such actors as Cantinflas, the struggles of Ricardo Montalbán in the studio system, imaginative Mexican monster movies, the acting and directing career of Emilio Fernández, and the education of a Latinophile. My article focused on one of the few Mexican-American actors whose long career spanned from the silent era of the Latin Lovers to the early 1980s--Gilbert Roland.
While I think I first became aware of Mr. Roland via his raffish appearances as one of the elders who 'guided' a younger generation on the 1970s television western set in the American southwest, The High Chaparral, my ongoing film education has introduced me to his evolving style in westerns, pre-codes, mysteries, splashy musicals, satires, and two particular films containing what I believe are his finest performances, in Anthony Mann's The Furies (1950) and and Budd Boetticher's Bullfighter and a Lady (1950). As I delved into his background and the marathon achievements of his career, I found a very likable man with great style and a sense of loyalty that was all too rare in Hollywood. If you'll pardon a personal note, he wasn't too hard on the eyes at any age, either. You can see this brief tribute to Gilbert Roland in its entirety at the following link:
Gilbert Roland: Amigo
Update: March, 2010:
In response to this article, my friends throughout the internet began sharing their own impressions and memories of this durable, dignified and gallantly jubilant actor who performed in American, Mexican and international films for seven decades. Part of our shared affection for this man inevitably included sharing images of Gilbert Roland on and off screen. In order to enable more people to enjoy the mere sight of Gilberto, this slideshow brings all their contributions together. I hope that you enjoy them as much as we have and thank everyone who sent an image my way.