Saturday, December 11, 2010

Remembering Gilbert Roland

Luis Antonio Dámaso de Alonso was born on December 11, 1905 in Juarez, Mexico. Following his parents to the USA, he did not become the bullfighter he had dreamed of being but became an actor instead. His Mexican roots, his half macho half romantic ways, his handsome virile figure helped him land roles in movies from the early twenties until 1982. He took his stage name Gilbert Roland from his two favorite actor John Gilbert and Ruth Roland. During World War II he served in the Army Air Corps. After the war he continued his long and varied career in which he was in turn an extra, a matinée idol (Armand Duval in “Camile” (1926)), a Latin Lover, a star of English-speaking films made in Hollywood in the early 1930s, a Mexican bandit in B-Movies, The Cisco Kid in a series of six popular Westerns, a brilliant character in major A movies such as “We Were Stangers” (1949), “The Bad and the Beautiful” (1952), “Thunder Bay” (1953) and “Cheyenne Autumn” (1964), a sinister but lovable rogue in such Spaghetti Westerns as “Any Gun Can Play” (1967), “The Ruthless Four”, Between God, the Devil and a Winchester”, “Sonora” all in 1968. When he retired in 1982, twelve years before he died, he could be satisfied. His career had spanned six decades, the coming of sound had not ended it, he had played in all kinds of movies, he had held the most beautiful women in his arms, and maybe the most important thing, he had been given the opportunity to show his acting talents. Not every actor can boast such a life achievement. Gilbert’s brother was assistant director Francisco Day [1907-1995] and he was married to actress Constance Bennett [1904-1965] from 1941-1945. He had two daughers Lorinda Roland and actress Gyl Roland [1941- ]. Roland died of cancer on May 15, 1994 in Los Angeles, California. Today we remember Gilbert Roland on what would have been his 105th birthday.


  1. Tom,

    Very good piece, one of my favourites. I always remember him and Robert Mitchum in "Bandido"

    David d.

  2. Rolands list of silent classics is staggering enough and the leading ladies,all you gotta do is name 'em!He still looked good on crutches in Barbarosa in '82

  3. Gilbert Roland is one of my favorite actors. I've seen him in everything from "Gunsmoke" to "Bonanza". He even appeared on "The High Chaparral". A great actor even today.