Charles Gemora

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Charles Gemora
Born Carlos Cruz Gemora
(1903-06-15)June 15, 1903
Negros, Philippines
Died August 19, 1961(1961-08-19) (aged 58)
Hollywood, California, U.S.
Occupation Actor
Years active 1928–1958
Children Diana Gemora

Carlos Cruz Gemora (June 15, 1903 – August 19, 1961), commonly known as Charles Gemora, was a former Hollywood makeup artist renowned as "the King of the Gorilla Men" for his prolific appearances in many Hollywood films while wearing a gorilla suit.

Biography[edit]

Gemora was born on the island of Negros in the Philippines, and arrived in San Francisco as a stowaway. He quickly found work at the Brentwood fruit farm in Colusa, CA. and eventually moved to Los Angeles. He earned money doing portrait sketches outside of Universal Studios where his talents were discovered and put to work in the studio's sculpture department for The Hunchback of Notre Dame.[1] When creating a gorilla suit Gemora found his 5'4"/163 cm stature made him a natural to wear the suit himself beginning with The Leopard Lady in 1928.

Gemora's study of real gorillas at the San Diego Zoo and his expertise on makeup gave him an extensive career as a gorilla opposite such luminaries as Our Gang (Bear Shooters), Lon Chaney (The Unholy Three), Bela Lugosi (Murders in the Rue Morgue), Laurel and Hardy, (The Chimp & Swiss Miss), The Marx Brothers (At the Circus), Bob Hope and Bing Crosby (Road to Zanzibar), The Great Gildersleeve (Gildersleeve's Ghost), Abbott and Costello (Africa Screams) and Robert Mitchum (White Witch Doctor).

With men in gorilla suits no longer providing the same scares in the 1950s as they did in the 1930s and '40s, Gemora moved his creature expertise into science fiction films such as the Martian in War of the Worlds and I Married a Monster from Outer Space.[2]

Death[edit]

Gemora died of a heart attack in August 1961 while he was working on the makeup of the film Jack the Giant Killer.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Biography for Charles Gemora at the Internet Movie Database
  2. ^ p.167 Johnson, John Cheap Tricks and Class Acts 1996 McFarland

External links[edit]