Gilbert Roland

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Gilbert Roland
Roland in 1952
Luis Antonio Dámaso de Alonso

(1905-12-11)December 11, 1905
DiedMay 15, 1994(1994-05-15) (aged 88)
Years active1923–1982
(m. 1941; div. 1945)
Guillermina Cantu
(m. 1954)
AwardsHollywood Walk of Fame
(Motion Picture 6730 Hollywood Boulevard)

Luis Antonio Dámaso de Alonso (December 11, 1905 – May 15, 1994), known professionally as Gilbert Roland, was a Mexican-born American film and television actor whose career spanned seven decades from the 1920s until the 1980s. He was twice nominated for the Golden Globe Award in 1952 and 1964 and inducted into the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 1960.[1]

Early years[edit]

Gilbert Roland from the trailer for The Bad and the Beautiful (1952)

Roland was born in Ciudad Juárez, Chihuahua, Mexico,[2] and originally intended to become a bullfighter like his father and his paternal grandfather.[3]

When Pancho Villa took control of their town, Roland and his family fled to the United States. He lived in Texas until at age 14 he hopped on a freight train and went to Hollywood. After arriving there, he found menial jobs and slept in a Catholic church. He often lost those jobs because he spent time working as an extra in films. He chose his screen name by combining the names of his favorite actors, John Gilbert and Ruth Roland.[2] He was often cast in the stereotypical Latin lover role.[4]


Roland's first film contract was with Paramount.[2] His first major role was in the collegiate comedy The Plastic Age (1925) together with Clara Bow, to whom he became engaged.[5] In 1926, he played Armand in Camille opposite Norma Talmadge, with whom he was romantically involved, and they starred together in several productions. With the advent of sound films, Roland frequently appeared in Spanish language adaptations of American films in romantic lead roles.

In 1933, Roland played a large supporting role in She Done Him Wrong as one of Mae West's character's lovers, along with rivals Cary Grant, Noah Beery Sr. and Owen Moore.

Roland served in the U.S. Army Air Corps during World War II.

Beginning in the 1940s, critics began to take notice of his acting, and he was praised for his supporting roles in John Huston's We Were Strangers (1949), The Bad and the Beautiful (1952), Thunder Bay (1953), and Cheyenne Autumn (1964). He also appeared in a series of films in the mid-1940s as the popular character "The Cisco Kid". He played Hugo, the agnostic (and fictional) friend of the three shepherd children in The Miracle of Our Lady of Fatima, based on the apparitions of Our Lady of Fatima in 1917. In 1953, Roland played Greek-American sponge diver Mike Petrakis in the epic Beneath the 12-Mile Reef.

He also portrayed Howard McMahon on Bewitched,[6] acted on December Bride and Playhouse 90, and both wrote the script for and acted in an episode of Wagon Train.[4] He played Don Domingo Montoya, who inherits Rancho Montoya near the end of the series The High Chaparral.

His last film appearance was in the 1982 western Barbarosa.

Personal life[edit]

With Constance Bennett in After Tonight (1933)

Roland married actress Constance Bennett on April 20, 1941, in Yuma, Arizona.[7] They were married until 1946 and had two daughters, Lorinda "Lynda" (b. 1938) and Christina "Gyl" (b. 1941). Bennett won custody of their daughters.[8] He had appeared with Bennett in 1933 as Pepe in George Cukor's Our Betters, and in the same year, as the romantic lead in After Tonight, a World War I drama.

His second marriage to Guillermina Cantú in 1954 lasted until his death 40 years later.


Gilbert Roland died of cancer in Beverly Hills, California, in 1994, aged 88. His body was cremated, and his ashes were scattered at sea.


Roland was nominated twice for a Golden Globe Award, for his roles in The Bad and the Beautiful (1952) and Cheyenne Autumn (1964).[9] For his contributions to the motion picture industry, Gilbert Roland has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame at 6730 Hollywood Boulevard.[10]


The moving-image collection of Gilbert Roland is held at the Academy Film Archive. Home movies make up the bulk of the collection. The film material at the Academy Film Archive is complemented by material in the Gilbert Roland papers at the academy's Margaret Herrick Library.[11]

In 1975, El Paso, Texas, held Gilbert Roland Days. Among the recognition given the actor was creation of The Gilbert Roland Newspaper Carrier Scholarships Fund by the Newspaper Printing Corporation.[12]


Gilbert Roland in The French Line (1954).
Gilbert Roland in The Woman Disputed (1928), directed by Henry King. Left to right: Gilbert Roland, Norma Talmadge, and Arnold Kent.



Short subjects[edit]


  1. ^ "Gilbert Roland". HOLLYWOOD WALK OF FAME. Retrieved January 1, 2015.
  2. ^ a b c Anderson, Nancy (January 11, 1973). "Gilbert Roland Saw Calling Early". Courier-Post. New Jersey, Camden. Copley News Service. p. 63. Retrieved February 12, 2020 – via
  3. ^ "Gilbert Roland Wants Bull-Ring of His Own". Deseret News. Utah, Salt Lake City. January 8, 1953. p. 41. Retrieved February 12, 2020 – via
  4. ^ a b Torre, Marie (October 24, 1960). "Gilbert Roland Back". The Decatur Herald. Illinois, Decatur. N. Y. Herald Tribune Service. p. 5. Retrieved February 12, 2020 – via
  5. ^ "My life, by Clara Bow". Told to and edited by Adela Rogers St. Johns. Published by Photoplay magazine in February, March, and April 1928
  6. ^ Terrace, Vincent (2011). Encyclopedia of Television Shows, 1925 through 2010 (2nd ed.). Jefferson, N.C.: McFarland & Company, Inc., Publishers. p. 97. ISBN 978-0-7864-6477-7.
  7. ^ Arizona, County Marriage Records, 1865-1972
  8. ^ "Actress Constance Bennett Dies at 59". Independent. California, Long Beach. July 26, 1965. p. 2. Retrieved February 12, 2020 – via
  9. ^ "Golden Globe Awards for 'Gilbert Roland'". Golden Globe Awards. Hollywood Foreign Press Association. Archived from the original on February 12, 2020. Retrieved February 12, 2020.
  10. ^ "Gilbert Roland". Hollywood Walk of Fame. Hollywood Chamber of Commerce. October 25, 2019. Archived from the original on February 12, 2020. Retrieved February 12, 2020.
  11. ^ "Gilbert Roland Collection". Academy Film Archive.
  12. ^ "Roland To Receive Sketch". El Paso Herald-Post. Texas, El Paso. January 14, 1975. p. 12. Retrieved February 12, 2020 – via
  • Monush, Barry. The Encyclopedia of Film Actors From The Silent Era to 1965. New York: Applause Theatre & Cinema Books, 2003.

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