Not long ago, I was flipping channels and landed on 'Rio Bravo' just as a scene between John Wayne and Pedro Gonzalez Gonzalez began.
I can type that name easily enough now, because, sadly, the man has passed away and his name is appearing in many different sources. But at the time, I was thinking - "Who IS that? I'm always seeing him in things!"
It's a shame it took the man's death on Feb. 6 at the age of 80 for me to learn more about him.....
Pedro Gonzalez Gonzalez began his entertainment career at age 7, when his parents pulled him out of school to entertain migrant workers and residents in the American Southwest. By the height of his career as a character actor, he was one of the few recognizable Mexican-American movie and television performers in the 1950's and 60's.
In 1953, he appeared as a contestant on Groucho Marx's TV quiz show 'You Bet Your Life', and his banter with the legendary entertainer stole the show. John Wayne saw the performance and signed Gonzalez Gonzalez to his production company.
The films with Wayne, among them "The High and the Mighty," "Rio Bravo" and "Hellfighters," and guest appearances on such TV series as 'Gunsmoke' made Gonzalez Gonzalez one of the most recognizable Mexican-American actors at the time.
Because he often played sterotypical roles, had a heavy accent and frequently served as comic relief, Gonzalez Gonzalez was criticized in later years as perpetuating negative Latino images.
But his grandson, Clifton Collins Jr. (also an actor), said Gonzales Gonzales took what roles were available. And Edward James Olmos says that he was an inspiration to all Latino actors.
The early end to his education meant he never learned to read or write. Collins said his grandfather memorized lines by having his wife read to him, and that if a script changed, directors would feed him lines on the set.
Check the list below and you'll see from all of the cool shows that he appeared in that Gonzalez Gonzalez was probably the most recognizable Hispanic face in all of Toobworld.
Bates Motel (1987) (TV) .... Mexican Gardener
Chase (1973) (TV)
Dazzle (1995) (TV) .... Juan
Donor (1990) (TV) (as Pedro Gonzalez-Gonzalez) .... Hispanic Man
Ghost Writer (1989) (TV) .... Mr. Carillo
Low Man on the Totem Pole (1964) (TV) .... Pepe Martinez
TV GUEST APPEARANCES
- The Curse of Willis (1995) TV Episode
"The Fall Guy"
- The Meek Shall Inherit Rhonda (1981) TV Episode .... Taxi Driver
- Anniversary (1971) TV Episode .... Rudlofo Diaz
"The Bill Cosby Show"
- The Sesame Street Rumble (1971) TV Episode .... Bob
"The Flying Nun"
- Operation Population (1970) TV Episode .... Farmer
- The Moo Is Blue (1969) TV Episode (as Pedro Gonzales Gonzales) .... Gonzalo
"The High Chaparral"
- Mi Casa, Su Casa (1970) TV Episode (as Pedro Gonzalez-Gonzalez) .... Pepe
- The Firing Wall (1967) TV Episode (as Pedro Gonzales) .... Bartender
"The Mod Squad"
- Never Give the Fuzz an Even Break (1969) TV Episode (as Pedro Gonzalez Gonzalez) .... Restaurant Owner
"I Dream of Jeannie"
- See You in C-U-B-A (1969) TV Episode .... Jose
- Sister Cities (1969) TV Episode .... Santos
- End of a Challenge (1968) TV Episode .... Sebastian
- Hondo and the Death Drive (1967) TV Episode .... Sancho
- A Nice Place to Visit (1967) TV Episode .... Lupe
- Scourge of San Rusa (1967) TV Episode .... Liveryman
- The Treasure of San Diablo (1966) TV Episode .... Gonzales
- The Conquest of Maude Murdock (1966) TV Episode .... Jaime
- Fill No Glass for Me: Part 2 (1965) TV Episode .... Jose
- Fill No Glass for Me: Part 1 (1965) TV Episode .... Jose
- Who Killed the Rest? (1965) TV Episode (as Gonzales-Gonzales) .... Pancho, First Policeman
- The Case of the Wednesday Woman (1964) TV Episode .... 'Rosie' Dell
- The Quest for Asa Janin (1963) TV Episode (as Pedro Gonzalez-Gonzalez) .... Bartender
- The Hat of Sergeant Martin (1963) TV Episode .... Private Sanchez
- The Wedding Rings (1962) TV Episode .... Pepe
"The Dick Powell Show"
- Open Season (1961) TV Episode .... Driver
- Grandpa Returns (1961) TV Episode (as Pedro Gonzalez-Gonzalez) .... Pedro
"Wanted: Dead or Alive"
- Baa-Baa (1961) TV Episode
- Triple Vise (1960) TV Episode .... Tomas
- Lady Tenderfoot (1960) TV Episode (as Pedro Gonzalez-Gonzales) .... Pedro Vasquez
- Trouble on the Trail (1959) TV Episode (as Pedro Gonzalez-Gonzalez) .... Pedro Vasquez
- The Reluctant Bridegroom (1959) TV Episode (as Pedro Gonzalez-Gonzales) .... Pedro Vasquez
- Showdown at Abilene (1959) TV Episode (as Pedro Gonzalez-Gonzalez) .... Pedro Vasquez
- Stampede (1959) TV Episode (as Pedro Gonzalez-Gonzales) .... Pedro Vasquez
"The DuPont Show with June Allyson"
- Love Is a Headache (1959) TV Episode .... Firmino
- South of the Rio Grand (1959) TV Episode
- Black Barrier (????) TV Episode
"Sheriff of Cochise"
- The Great Train Robbery (1956) TV Episode (as Pedro Gonzales)
- Felix the Fourth (1956) TV Episode (as Gonzales-Gonzales)
- Willy and El Flamenco (1955) TV Episode (as Gonzales Gonzales) .... Luis Hernandez
"You Bet Your Life"
- Episode #2.22 (1953) TV Episode .... Contestant
[thanks to the NY Times and the IMDb.com]