October 9, 1915|
Puerto de la Cruz, Tenerife (Canary Islands, Spain)
|Died||June 2, 1984
Los Angeles, California
|Nationality||Spanish and American|
Domingo Tomás "Tom" Hernández Bethencourt (October 9, 1915 - June 2, 1984), better known as Tom Hernández, was a Spanish-born American actor of theater, films and television, who played supporting roles - both in films and TV -, usually Hispanics, throughout his career. However, he is best known in the San Diego´s city (California) by their interpretation of Don Diego character at the Del Mar Fair annual fair in this city during almost of four decades until his death in 1984. He held the position of goodwill ambassador of the fair, promoting it and he welcomed people that came to the fair with his greeting in Spanish "¡Bienvenidos, Amigos!" ("Welcome Friends!"), greeting for which he was known. He was brother of also actor Pepe Hern and uncle of present day actor Justin Lopez from The Three Stooges (2012 film).
He was born Domingo Tomás Hernández Bethencourt on October 9, 1915, in Puerto de la Cruz, Tenerife (Canary Islands, Spain). Hernández was son of Domingo Hernández and Dominga Bethencourt. In 1920, Hernandez immigrated with his parent and an eldest brother to the United States when he was five. He also had a little brother who already was born in the U.S., twelve years after his arrival there, the future actor Pepe Hern.
Eventually, Hernandez became interested in film, and got jobs of helper, that led to small roles with marked Hispanic roots. Domingo chosen the Tom Hernandez stage name, seeking a certain approach to their host country, but without completely abandoning their roots.
After working in theater for a long time, he was offered a small role in Tarzan and the Slave Girl (1950), and during the '50s was common to see him at the end of the distribution of actors in many American films and some episodes of some American TV series.
The film in which, perhaps, had the greater role in his career was "The 3rd Voice" (1960)
That brief moment of brilliance on the big screen in the early 60 allowed to Tom Hernandez access to more regular jobs in renowned television series as " The Virginian" (1962), "Mission: Impossible" (1965) and "Daniel Boone" (1969), one of the last TV series in which he worked. Already into the '70s, his appearances on screen were losing relevance, focusing thereafter, basically, in his job as goodwill ambassador in the Del Mar Fair, in San Diego (California), in which he had already begun to work from the 40s.
Although he continued to participate in some movies, highlighting its roles in the Spanish films Cuatro locos buscan manicomio, Fuerza mortal and Tunka, el guerrero.
By other way, as we already comment, since the 1947 year Hernández start to interpret the character Don Diego at the annual fair Del Mar Fair in San Diego (California), appearing as master of ceremonies for the annual meeting  and occupying the work of promoter the fair, being goodwill ambassador in this fairgrounds.
- On the death of Hernandez, the council of Del Mar Fair decided expose a bronze statue of 16 feet dedicated to Hernández as Don Diego, created by artist Maher Morcos, at the entrance to the fair. The statue was presented in 1985.
- In honor to him was created also The Don Diego Fund in 1986, a nonprofit scholarship program of the San Diego County Fair to economically help to the outstanding San Diego County high school students who have participated in the annual San Diego County Fair or other events concluded by the Del Mar Fairgrounds. Thus, this fund has delivered over $556,000 in scholarships and grants along its trajectory and has helped more than 130 students achieve a college degree. The Don Diego Fund is also a tax-exempt 501(c)(3) organization.
- The character "Don Diego" was based on the landowner Don Diego Alvarado, owner of a great land in what is now Del Mar, California, in 1800 year.
- In the beauty contest of the fair, Hernández met to a girl named Raquel Tejada, that more late would the actress Raquel Welch. She was a of the contestants of this contest.
This is a list of films of Tom Hernández
|1938||Dead Men Tell No Tales||Spanish Bartender|
|1950||Tarzan and the Slave Girl||Molo|
|1953||Salome (1953 film)||Man in Cafe|
|1953||The Desert Song (1953 film)||Legionnaire|
|1953||Latin Lovers||Nora's Dancing Partner (uncredited)|
|1954||Phantom of the Rue Morgue||Gendarme Lara|
|1955||The Last Command (1955 film)||Aida|
|1956||Anything Goes (1956 film)||Frenchman|
|1957||El reflejo del alma (Spanish film)|
|1958||Party Girl (1958 film)||Sketch Artist, Canetto Trial|
|1959||It Started with a Kiss||Minor Role (uncredited)|
|1959||Holiday for Lovers||Portrait Painter|
|1960||The 3rd Voice||Desk´s Clerk|
|1961||Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse||(uncredited)|
|1961||Tender Is the Night||Novelman|
|1963||Fun in Acapulco||Photographer|
|1965||Choque de Sentimentos (Brazilian film)|
|1972||Trouble Man||Police Sergeant|
|1974||La dynamite est bonne à boire (1974) (French film)|
|1979||Black Jack (1979 film)|
|1980||Cuatro locos buscan manicomio (Spanish film)||Gerente|
|1980||Fuerza mortal (Big games) (Spanish film)||Simpson|
|1981||Othello (1981 TV film)||black command - as Fergusson|
|1981||Homo hominis opus I (short) - (Spanish film)||Dictator|
|1983||Tunka, el guerrero (Spanish film)||great sage|
This is a list of television series in which he has appeared.
|1951||The Adventures of Kit Carson||Tom Hernández||A Ticket to Mexico|
|1955||Letter to Loretta||Angelo||The Waiting Game|
|1955||Death Valley Days||The Valencia Cake|
|1955||My Little Margie||Hernando||Papa and Mambo|
|1956||Cheyenne'||Ramón||Fury at Rio Hondo|
|1957||State Trooper||Pepe Soto||Beef ala Murder|
|1959||Zorro (1957 TV series)||chapters in 1957|
|1959||Laramie||Montero Ríos||The Run to Tumavaca|
|1959||Wagon Train||Denny||The Stagecoach Story|
|1960||Bourbon Street Beat||Victor||Last Exit|
|1961||Wanted: Dead or Alive||Carlos||witch woman|
|1962||Target: The Corruptors!||Babes in Wall Street|
|1962||The Virginian||The Spanish Officer||Riff-Raff (chapter in 1962)|
|1966||Mission: Impossible||The Desk Sergeant||Wheels (chapter in 1966)|
|1969||Daniel Boone||Surgeon||The Grand Alliance|
|1969||Family Affair||Captain||Lost in Spain, Part 3|
- San Diego Fair:Don Diego Fund
- IMDB: Justin Lopez
- Tom Hernández - IMDb.
- Canarias 7: Los olvidados
- Publicaciones - Página de Manolo Ramos (In spanish:Publications - page Manolo Ramos)
- North County Times, June 25, 2006
- North County School Notes at the Wayback Machine (archived February 14, 2011)
- Biography for Justin Lopez (II)
- Tom Hernandez|Filmography