Friday, July 13, 2018

Cesar Romero: Six Feet Under

Cesar Julio Romero, Jr. was born on February 15, 1907.  Born in New York City, he'd later earn the nickname "The Latin from Manhattan."  The things you learn on the internet.

Romero grew up in Bradley Beach, New Jersey, where his father owned a sugar import business.  The Crash of 1929 however, would put the family in financial straights, pushing Romero, a budding actor, into the role of provider for his brothers and sisters.

Throughout the 1930s, he routinely played Latin lovers on the big screen, starring opposite such notable actresses as Carmen Miranda.  In 1941, the two teamed up for Week-End in Havana, for which he was billed as "a specialist in rumba and romance."  See the trailer here.

When America entered World War 2, Romero put Hollywood on hold and enlisted in the Coast Guard, where he was eventually promoted to the rank of Chief Boatswain's Mate.

After the war, he returned to Hollywood and resumed his career, working with the likes of Tyrone Power, Martha Raye and Barbara Eden.  But it was a call from 20th Century Fox in 1965 that would forever enshrine him in the pop culture Hall of Fame, when he was offered the role of the Joker on the 1960s Batman television series.  Convinced that he owed his Latin lover image to his swarthy moustache, Romero refused to shave it for the series, opting instead to simply paint over it.  Watch the late Adam West discuss the hilarious results of that decision here.

In the 1970s and 80s, Romero regularly landed guest star spots on television, including this episode of Charlie's Angels, where the drama takes place, where else, but on a dance floor.

In late 1993, Romero checked in to St. John's Health Center in Santa Monica.  While being treated for bronchitis and pneumonia, he developed a blood clot, which would end his life on January 1, 1994.  One day after my 1993 dead pool expired.  In the end, the joke was on me.

Romero was cremated, placed in a uniquely designed family urn, already occupied by his parents and two siblings. 

Location: Inglewood Park Cemtery, Los Angeles
Plot: Mausoleum of the Golden West, Alcove of Music, Niche 408

 Romero was a registered Republican, probably the last one to ever live in Hollywood.  In 1960, he campaigned regularly for Richard Nixon.

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