Hollywood Remains to Be Seen

Cesar Romero
1907 - 1994

Inglewood Park Cemetery

Actor Cesar Romero was known to one generation as the tall, handsome "Latin lover" in more than 100 films from the 1930s to the early 1960s, and to the next generation as the green-haired, white-faced Joker from the "Batman" television series of the late 1960s.

Romero was born into a distinguished Cuban family -- his grandfather was Cuban writer and revolutionary Jose Marti. Romero started his career as a nightclub dancer before landing roles in several Broadway plays, including "All Points West" and "Dinner at Eight." He was spotted by a talent scout for MGM studios, and brought to Hollywood in 1933. Romero's first film role was in "The Shadow Laughs" (1933), and he followed that by playing a gigolo and murder suspect in "The Thin Man" (1934).

For the next few decades, Romero alternated between smooth romantic roles that highlighted his good looks and dancing ability, and sinister villains. Romero was an Afghan leader who counsels Shirley Temple in "Wee Willie Winkie" (1935), a luckless lover in hot pursuit of Marlene Dietrich in "The Devil is a Woman" (1935), and had the chance to show off his dancing skills with Betty Grable in "Springtime in the Rockies" (1942). He also played the Cisco Kid in a series of Westerns in the early 1940s. Romero seemed equally comfortable in Westerns, dramas, comedies, adventures, romances or musicals, though he typically played supporting roles.

After returning from military service in the Coast Guard during World War II, Romero played Hernando Cortez in "Captain from Castile" (1947), one of his strongest performances and a role he later described as his favorite. In the early 1950s, Romero started working more in television, hosting "Your Chevrolet Showroom," a musical comedy variety show from 1953 to 1954, and starring as suave courier Steve McQuinn in the adventure series "Passport to Danger" from 1954 to 1955. In addition to guest appearances in television Westerns, Romero continued his regular appearances in films, including his roles as Marquis de Labordere in "Vera Cruz" (1954), gangster Duke Santos in "Ocean's Eleven" (1960), Adam Wright in "If a Man Answers" (1962), and Marquis Andre de Lage in "Donovan's Reef" (1963).

Romero played the evil villian, the Joker, in the "Batman" television series from 1966 to 1968. When Romero agreed to play the role, he refused to shave off his moustache -- which you can see if you look closely under his thick white makeup. He returned to television from 1985 to 1987, playing the wealthy and elegantly sexy Peter Stavros on the prime-time drama "Falcon's Crest," and he hosted several television specials until the early 1990s.

Though Romero made regular appearances on the Hollywood social circuit, usually in the company of an attractive actress, he never married, and he was almost always described in interviews and articles as a "confirmed bachelor."

Romero's remains are interred in a lyre-shaped urn, along with the remains of his father, Cesar Romero Sr. (1872 - 1931); his mother, Maria (1880 - 1962); and his two sisters, Maria (1905 - 1991) and Graciela (1911 - 1996). Romero's mother was the daughter of Cuban writer and patriot Jose Marti, whose death in a battle with Spanish troops in 1895 made him the martyred symbol of Cuban independence from Spain.

Romero was born Cesar Julio Romero Jr. on Feb. 15, 1907, in New York City, NY. He died on Jan. 1, 1994, in Santa Monica, CA.

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