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CELEBRATING HISPANIC HERITAGE
2021 - Part. 1

National Hispanic Heritage Month, a 30 day annual observance of Americans with ancestry from Spain, Mexico, Puerto Rico, Central America and Latin America. During this time many historical Hispanic achievements and contributions are honored.
The celebration started in 1968 under President Lyndon Johnson that lasted one week but was later expanded to a full 30 days in 1988 by President Ronald Reagan. Hispanic Heritage Month is celebrated from Sept. 15th to Oct. 15th which is a significant time frame since many countries of South America celebrate their national Independence including Mexico

In honor of Hispanic Heritage Month we celebrate many "Firsts" of historical Hispanic achievements in the entertainment industry. These industry pioneers made contributions that helped paved the way for many others to find success. It is important to recognize Hispanics in the media that made changes in the past by representing the culture and the people, creating the opportunity for more to follow in their path today.

According to the U.S. Census Hispanic/Latino Americans depict a population that is the second-largest ethnic group in the United States, 18.5% of the overall US population. In the media Hispanics only account for about 5.3% representation in television and in film according to the 2020 UCLA “Hollywood Diversity Report.” Big-screen representation is similarly bleak: Latinos accounted for only 4.6% of movie roles in 2019.





                    

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FAMOUS HISPANICS
TELEVISION & FILM

 

RITA MORENO 
Rosita Dolores Alverio
 

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Rita Moreno -Academy Awards 2020

Rita was born on December 11, 1931 in Humacao, Puerto Rico. Rita is a dancer, stage, television and film gem. She is best known for her role as Anita on the original musical West Side Story for which she won the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress.

She is the first and only Hispanic to make history, winning all four major entertainment awards an "EGOT" winner -  Play - Tony (1975) TV- Emmy (1977, 1978) Music - Grammy (1972) and Film - Oscar (1962). Rita Moreno is one of only 16 people to have
achieved "EGOT" status.

Film

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Rita Moreno as Valentina in 20th Century Studios’ WEST SIDE STORY 2021.

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93rd Academy Awards to present the award for Best Picture.

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ANTHONY QUINN  
Manuel Antonio Rodolfo Quinn Oaxaca


Anthony Quinn was born April 21, 1915 in Chihuahua, Mexico to Manuela "Nellie" Oaxaca and Francisco "Frank" Quinn. Frank Quinn was of Irish/ Mexican decent. 

He achieved great success starring in numerous critically acclaimed Hollywood movies portraying legendary characters of strength, diversity and passion. Quinn's career could easily be considered the standard of the craft for Hispanics/Latinos that aspire to be talented and well-known actors.

In 1953 Quinn made history becoming the first Hispanic/Latino to win the Supporting Actor Oscar for Viva Zapata.  In 1957  he won again in the same category for  Lust for Life and was nominated in 1965 as lead actor in Zorba the Greek and in 1958 for Wild Is the Wind. Anthony Quinn remains the only Hispanic/Latino to win an Academy Award twice for Supporting Actor.  He also remains the Hispanic/Latino with the most Oscar nominations and wins in the performance categories.


Born January  8th, 1912 in San Juan Puerto Rico, Jose Ferrer was a stage/film and television genius. He laid the ground work to prove that Hispanics can play any type of role. His portrayal of Cyrano de Bergerac in the play of the same name,  earned him the inaugural Tony Award for Best Actor in a Play in 1947.

 

In 1951 he made history becoming the first Hispanic/Latino to win an Outstanding Lead Actor Oscar for playing Cyrano De Bergerac.  He continued  earning two other nominations, for his supporting role in Joan of Arc (1948) and his leading role in Moulin Rouge (1952). Jose Ferrer earned three Oscar nominations and remains the only Hispanic/Latino actor to win Outstanding Lead Actor Academy Award. He also starred in the original 1984 film Dune as Padishah Emperor Shaddam IV.

 

JOSE FERRER

 José Vicente Ferrer de Otero y Cintrón

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RICARDO MONTALBAN
 Ricardo Gonzalo Pedro Montalbán y Merino

Ricardo Montalban born  Ricardo Gonzalo Pedro Montalbán y Merino in Mexico City on November 25, 1920. Montalban caught the eye of Hollywood in the 1940s as the "Latin lover" appearing alongside legendary leading ladies Esther Williams, Lana Turner and many more.

His career continued over several decades mostly in typical roles of gigolo's, bandits and the Latin hottie. His contributions to film and television include memorable characters starring  in 
Aaron Spelling series Fantasy Island (1977) as Mr. Roarke, and on the big screen the  villainous Khan Noonien Singh, Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan  (1982). In 1985 he portrayed yet another villain in the Dynasty series spin-off The Colbys. He won his first Emmy Award in 1976 for his role in the miniseries How The West Was Won. He made history as the first Latino to win Emmy for Best Guest Actor Performance in that category.

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JOHN GAVIN 
John Anthony Golenor

John Gavin was born on April 4th, 1932 in Los Angeles, California. His mother was Delia Diana Pablos from SonoraMexico. His father Herald Ray Golenor was of Irish descent.  Gavin is best known for his roles in Imitation of Life  (1959)  and Alfred Hitchcock's hit thriller Psycho (1960).

When Gavin began his career he was groomed as a leading man in the image of Rock Hudson and was even considered for the role of James Bond before Sean Connery . 
From 1981-1986 Gavin became United States Ambassador to Mexico under the Reagan administration.

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SUSAN KOHNER
Susanna "Susan" Kohner

Susan was born on November 11, 1936 in Los Angeles, California. She is daughter of producer Paul Kohner and Mexcian-born actress Lupita Tovar. She appeared in numerous films and television shows throughout her career.
In 1960 TV/Film actress Susan Kohner became the first Chicana nominated for Outstanding Supporting Actress Oscar for her role as Sara Jane Johnson in Imitation of Life  (1959).
She won a Golden Globe Outstanding Supporting Actress for the same role.


RAQUEL WELCH
Jo Raquel Tejada
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Singer, model, actress and business mogul Raquel Welch was born September 5th, 1940 in Chicago, IL as Jo Raquel Tejada but like many other Hispanics in the entertainment industry she changed her name to be more marketable and appeal to the masses. Her father Armando Carlos Tejada is Bolivian and her mother Josephine Sara Hall is Irish-American
 
When Raquel starred in the remake of  One Million B.C.  in 1966 fame was inevitable. She became a national sex symbol and a household name in the 60s and 70s and continued  starring in many films and television series. Some of her most notable screen roles include Fantastic Voyage (1966) 100 Rifles (1969) and in 1974  Raquel won a Golden Globe for the film The Three Musketeers. Raquel Welch also found fame in exercise  videos and working with some of the best designers she has created her own line of fashionable wigs.

 
 
 

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TELEVISION

LYNDA CARTER
Linda Jean Cordova-Carter 
 
 

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She was born Linda Jean Cordova-Carter in Phoenix, Arizona, her father Colby Carter  is of English and Irish ancestry, and her mother  Juanita is of Mexican, Spanish, and French descent. Crowned Miss World USA in 1972, Lynda would continue on to a successful career in the entertainment industry.

Although, Lynda Cater has starred on many television series and is a very accomplished actress and singer she will forever be known as the Original Wonder Women, a
character that first appeared in DC Comics in 1941. Carter played the very first live -action version of the Amazonian Super Hero, Diana Prince in ABC's hit tv series Wonder Women from 1975-1977. Lynda Carter set the example of "spinning like Wonder Women" and many happily continue to spin in her footsteps.
 
 

FALCON CREST

It is difficult to find a main-stream popular tv series in any decade that starred a handful of Hispanics/Latinos,  therefore it is fair to recognize the successful CBS series Falcon Crest which starred not 1, not 2 but 3 Hispanics in major character roles - Ana Alicia, Lorenzo Lamas and Cesar Romero. The series aired for nine seasons on CBS from December 4, 1981, to May 17, 1990.

Falcon Crest focused on a wealthy family in the California wine industry starring the legendary Jane Wyman as the family's formidable matriarch, Angela Channing. Falcon Crest set the standard for what is 
subtly being seen in today's popular network shows with the inclusion for representation of Hispanics/Latinos. Although, Falcon Crest tv series was not the first to star more than one Hispanic/Latino the show was the first in primetime to set the stage for  Ana Alicia, Lorenzo Lamas and Cesar Romero to portray non-stereotypical roles with characters important to major storylines, demonstrating the range of Hispanic talent.

 
 
 

LORENZO LAMAS

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Lorenzo Lamas, son of the famed actor Fernando Lamas who was Argentinian and actress Arlene Dahl American of Norwegian descent  was born in Santa Monica, California.

He began his acting career in the late 1970s and since has accrued over 100 acting, directing and producing credits in film and television combined.
In 1992 he portrayed Reno Raines in the
syndicated hit show Renegade for 5 seasons. Lamas played Hector Ramirez on CBS daytime drama The Bold and the Beautiful from 2004-2006.

Lorenzo Lamas will forever be known for his portrayal of playboy heartthrob Lance Cumson on the highly rated 1980's CBS primetime drama Falcon Crest.

Lorenzo played Lance Cumson for the entire
series run of 9 seasons playing grandson to someone he admired professionally, the legendary Jane Wyman.

Although, the character of Lance Cumson wasn't Hispanic, Lorenzo is undoubtedly the very first "Latin lover" hunk to hit the small screen in the 80's which he portrayed brilliantly - many remain thankful for his historic contribution to television.

 
 

ANA ALICIA
 
Ana Alicia Ortiz Torres
 


Actress, producer and singer Ana Alicia Ortiz Torres was born in Mexico City, Mexico on December 12, 1956. Her career began in the role of Alicia Nieves on the ABC series Ryan's Hope from 1977-78. Her credits include the feature film Halloween II  (1981) Romero (1989) Miracle Landing (1990) and Rio Shannon (1993) and many more.

She hit stardom status in 1982 landing the role of the
memorable villainous vineyard heiress Melissa Agretti alongside Jane Wyman as Angela Channing on CBS hit series Falcon Crest.  Ana Alicia played Melissa for seven years until 1988. Alicia can be credited as the first Latina villain in a hit primetime drama series.

 

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CESAR ROMERO
 
Cesar Julio Romero Jr.
 


In a career that lasted nearly 60 years Cesar Romero's gift of acting demonstrated that Latino talent is extremely versatile. After starting in the industry in stereotypical roles such as the "Latin lover" and the "outlaw" he showed his talents in musicals, comedies and in television.

While his film credits include  
The Shadow Laughs
(1933) The Devil Is a Woman (1935) 1960's Around The World In 80 Days and the original Ocean's 11 opposite Frank Sinatra and Dean Martin, Romero will perhaps be known for his memorable performances on television.
 
In 1985 Cesar joined the cast of the hit prime-time drama series Falcon Crest as
 Peter Stavros Jane Wyman's love interest until 1987.

Donning a white-painted face and creating one of the industry's most unforgettable cackling, Romero brilliantly brought to life the green-haired villain - The Joker on the 1966 tv series Batman.  He can be considered one of television's most popular villains of all time.

Cesar Romero was born Cesar Julio Romero Jr. to Cuban parents in New York City, February 1907.


 

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BILL MELENDEZ
José Cuauhtémoc Meléndez
 

Bill was born on November 15, 1916 in Hermosillo, Sonora, Mexico as José Cuauhtémoc Meléndez.
Producer /writer and voice actor he is best known for his work as animator for the classic Peanuts television specials, A Charlie Brown Christmas (1965) It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown (1965) A Boy Named Charlie Brown 
(1969) and many more from the Peanuts franchise. Bill is the voice of Snoopy, Charlie Brown's faithful and lovable beagle and Woodstock , Snoopy's best friend.

In a career spanning 60 years Bill also worked on the 1979 tv movie adaption,
 The Lion, the Witch & the Wardrobe  1968's The Bugs Bunny/Road Runner Hour and had quite the impressive run as animator for Warner Brothers' Looney Tunes cartoon series. According to the Television Academy Bill Melendez has been nominated 26 times earning 7 Emmys - undoubtedly the most awarded Hispanic in television history. He was also nominated for an Oscar and several Grammy awards.