Antonio Banderas

José Antonio Domínguez Banderas was born in the year 1960 in Spain. When his dream of being a professional soccer player ended at the age of 14, Banderas went on to pursue his interest in acting. He began by acting on stage in a group that traveled all over the country.

His stage acting was inspirational and caught the eye of well-renowned Spanish director Pedro Almodóvar who went on to cast Banderas in his 1982 film, “Labyrinth of Passion.” Banderas went on to appear in other projects created and directed by Almodóvar including “Matador” and “Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown.” However it wasn’t until he starred in Almodóvar’s 1990 film “Tie Me Up! Tie Me Down!” that he received Hollywood recognition.

Interestingly enough, when Banderas arrived in the United States to act in American films, he only spoke minimal English. His first role in America came when he appeared in the film “The Mambo Kings” in 1992. Even though he was still learning to speak English, he was ultimately praised for this role. Check out the link to watch the trailer.

The following year, Banderas appeared in the film “Philadelphia” alongside actor Tom Hanks. It was this film that brought on much of Banderas’ nationwide recognition and his career in Hollywood took off. In the 1990s, Banderas appeared in “Interview with the Vampire” (in 1994 alongside Tom Cruise and Brad Pitt), Desperado (1995 alongside Salma Hayek and Joaquim de Almeida), and Evita (1996 alongside Madonna).

However, his iconic role came in 1998 when he was cast as the famous masked hero, Zorro. Though there have been over forty film adaptations of the hero, Banderas is the first Spanish actor to ever portray him. This role brought on many nominations and awards including but not limited to nominations for a Golden Globe for Best Actor in a Motion Picture Musical or Comedy, an ALMA Award for Outstanding Actor in a Feature Film, and he received a European Films Award for Best European Actor and an Imagen Award for Lasting Image Award.

The 2000s continued shaping Banderas’ career as he went on to appear in the “Spy Kids” trilogy in the year 2001, in which he was nominated for an ALMA Award for Outstanding Actor in a Motion Picture. In 2003, he starred in Once Upon a Time in Mexico, the last installment of the Mariachi Trilogy which also  included Banderas’ film, “Desperado.” He received another Imagen Award, this time for “Best Actor.” In 2003 he starred in “And Starring Pancho Villa as Himself”, “Imagining Argentina”, and he reprised his role as Zorro in the 2005 hit, “The Legend of Zorro”, for which he received another nomination for an Imagen Award for Best Actor.

2004 opened  a new venue for Banderas in the way of voice acting when he joined the stellar cast of the “Shrek” series. Banderas made his voice debut in “Shrek 2” as Puss in Boots. This role also brought on several award nominations, roles in “Shrek the Third” and “Shrek Forever After”, and his character’s own film, “Puss in Boots” which is set to bow November 4th.

Banderas has accomplished many things in his career as an actor, and he has been honored and recognized in various ways. In 2004, Banderas was awarded with the Rita Moreno HOLA Award for Excellence from the Hispanic Organization of Latin Actors. In 2005, he received the Gabi Lifetime Achievement Award at the Los Angeles Latino International Film Festival and in that same year he received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. Banderas also dedicates much of his time to charity work, and in the year 2002 as a thank you he and his wife, Melanie Griffith, received the Stella Adler Angel Award.

Banderas will next be seen in “Puss in Boots”, and he is set to appear in “Haywire”, the action-thriller from Relativity Media set to open January 2012.

Emilio Estevez

Emilio Estevez was born in 1962 into a family of artists, the son of actor Martin Sheen and artist Janet Templeton. Forgoing college after his graduation in 1980, Estevez started out like many other actors his age with a debut on stage. In 1982 however, he worked with his father on a TV-film called “In the Custody of Strangers.” Estevez even did the casting for this film.

The ’80s were when Estevez really hit star status when he was sited as one of the members of the Brat Pack, the group made up of young popular actors who starred in coming-of-age films in this decade. Due to his involvement and popularity during this time, Estevez has often been cited as the “unofficial president” of the group due his early role in the 1983 film, “The Outsiders.”

After appearing in “The Outsiders”, Estevez appeared in the cult classic “Repo Man” in 1984, followed closely by both “The Breakfast Club” and “St. Elmo’s Fire” in 1985. Also in that same year, Estevez co-wrote and starred in the drama, “That Was Then, This Is Now”, followed by “Maximum Overdrive” and “Wisdom” in 1986.

The 1990s brought on a new venue for Estevez in the way of directing, starting with a 1990 comedy called “Men at Work” that Estevez wrote, directed, and starred in with his brother, Charlie Sheen. Though that movie wasn’t very well critically-acclaimed, it was only two years after that Estevez became the lead role in one of Disney’s most successful franchises, “The Mighty Ducks.” Though Estevez had various other roles in films throughout the ’90s and early 2000s (for example, “Mission: Impossible”, “Dollar for the Dead”, “Late Last Night” and a television appearance on the show “The West Wing”) his most prominent film during the late 90s was “The War at Home”.

“The War at Home”, created in 1996, is a film that starred Estevez and his father. This film also marks an accomplishment in Estevez’s career, for he was nominated for two ALMA Awards in 1998 for “Outstanding Latino Director of a Feature Film” and “Outstanding Individual Performance in a Crossover Role in a Feature Film.”

However, his most famous film came ten years later, a film that took over six years to write. “Bobby”, written by, directed by and featuring Estevez is a film about the events prior to the assassination of Robert F. Kennedy. This film has been nominated for two Golden Globe Awards for “Best Motion Picture – Drama” and “Best Original Song”, three ALMA Awards for “Outstanding Motion Picture”, “Outstanding Director – Motion PIcture” and “Outstanding Screenplay – Motion Picture”, a Screen Actors Guild Award for “Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture” and was awarded with wins at the Venice Film Festival for a “Biografilm Award”, two Hollywood Film Festival Awards for “Best Ensemble Cast” and “Best Breakthrough Actress (Lindsay Lohan)”, and a Phoenix Film Critics Society Award for “Breakout Performance of the Year – Director.”

Currently Estevez is focused on his latest feature film, “The Way”, which is set to bow in the United States next week under his production company, Estevez-Sheen Productions. Written by, produced by and directed by Estevez, this film stars himself and his father in two key roles. Take a look at the trailer below for this drama.

Sheila E

Sheila Escovedo, better known as Sheila E, is one of the most accomplished and hottest musicians of her time.  Born in 1957, Sheila E’s career began at an incredibly early age when she performed a drum solo in front of 3,000 people at the age of five.  Sheila E’s father, Pete Escovedo, was a great influence on her since he was a famous percussionist who initially played for Santana, and as his vision grew bigger he took steps to launch himself to the next level.  Read more about Sheila E’s fascinating father at

Sheila E’s official career began when she was 17 years old, recording on the “Yesterday’s Dream” EP with Alphonso Johnson in 1976.  She went on to team up and play with artists such as Lionel Richie, Marvin Gaye and Diana Ross.

In the late ’70s/early ’80s Sheila E’s career took off when she met Prince.  Prince was impressed with her skills that he assisted her on her first solo album, “The Glamorous Life.” From this album came a single by the same name, which went on to not only receive Grammy and American Music Award nominations, but the music video won the MTV Best Video Award.

After this, Sheila E joined Prince on his 1984-85 Purple Rain Tour, but she also continued to work on her own projects.  Then in the summer of 1985, she released her second album, “Romance 1600”, which also did well and had a chart-topping single called “A Love Bizarre.”  Sheila E had her own headlining tour the following spring.

In 1986 “Sheila E” was released, and she joined forces with Prince once again on his European tour for the album “Sign o’ the Times”, followed by a tour with the artist again in 1988-89 for the Lovesexy World Tour.  Sheila E actually played a role as a writer on many of Prince’s songs, along with her contribution as a percussionist.  The 1990s marked her departure from Prince and 1991 brought on her fourth studio album, “Sex Cymbal.”

Sheila E released two more albums 2000 and 2001 (“Writes of Passage” and “Heaven”) while she continued touring with a variety of other bands.  In 2004 she rejoined Prince once again on his Musicology tour.  Then in 2006, she toured with Ringo Starr of the Beatles.  And over the last decade she has appeared on various soundtracks and presented or performed at various award shows.

Beyond her skills as a drummer, Sheila E has given so much of her time and dedication to changing the world and making a difference.  She is currently involved with the Elevate Hope Foundation  (EHF) which she co-founded in 2001.  EHF is designed to help abused and abandoned children find a positive outlet through music and the arts, funding programs for them to learn the basics.  You can read more about the organization at

Sheila E has also contributed her talents to the Pediatric Aids Foundation and USA For Africa’s “We Are the World”, designed for African famine relief. She has created a line of children’s percussion instruments called The Sheila E Player’s series.  She has been presented with several awards for her charity work, including but not limited to, the Imagen Foundation’s Humanitarian Award in 2004, the Angels Across America Award in 2004, and the Woman of the Year Award in 2005.

As you many of you know, Sheila E has a band with her brother and father.  To learn more about the E Family and their music check out  The E Family had a launch party of their CD “had a CD launched party at the Conga Room and we have a few images of this event to share with you.  Be sure to check iTunes for their CD which is now available for purchase.  The E Family is also touring in the Los Angeles this month. See the tour dates for more information.

Edward James Olmos

Edward James Olmos was born in 1947 in Los Angeles.  Olmos was the son of a Mexican immigrant father and a Mexican-American mother.  As a teenager, Olmos was focused on his career as a musician, singing in a rock band called Pacific Ocean and playing in clubs around the Los Angeles area.  The band even released a record in 1968.

It wasn’t until the late ’60s and early ’70s that Olmos started gravitating toward acting.  At first, Olmos wasn’t acting in films but rather made his career as a stage actor, playing parts in small productions.  Then in 1979, he made his big break by appearing as the narrator in the first Chicano play on Broadway, “Zoot Suit”, written and directed by Luis Valdez.  From this role, Olmos earned a Tony award nomination and later he went on to play the same role in the film version of the show.

In the 1980s, Olmos starred in the TV series “Miami Vice” as Lieutenant Martin Castillo.  For his portrayal of this character he was awarded a Golden Globe and an Emmy in the year 1985.  In 1989 he returned to film, coming back and starring in “Stand and Deliver.” “Stand and Deliver” is based on the story of East LA math teacher Jaime Escalante whom Olmos portrayed.  Thanks to this role, Olmos was the first American-born Latino to receive an Academy Award Nomination for the category of Best Actor.

In 1992 Olmos was able to add the title of Director to his list of credentials with the making of “American Me”, a film  which he also starred in that depicted Chicano gang life in LA.  Also in 1995 he starred in “My Family/Mi Familia” alongside other Latino actors including Esai Morales and Jennifer Lopez.  Other movies that Olmos has played part in include “In the Time of the Butterflies”, “Walkout”, “Caught”, “Blade Runner”, “Wolfen” and “Selena”, along with roles in televisions shows such as “Battlestar Galactica” and “CSI: NY.”  Olmos has contributed much of his time to the Latino community, giving them a chance to have their voices heard.  In 1997 he co-founded the Los Angeles Latino International Film Festival and the organization Latino Literacy Now.  In 1998 he founded Latino Public Broadcasting, a station that funds public television programming focusing on issues that affect Latinos.  Olmos makes around 150 visits annually to places such as delinquent centers and juvenile halls to get out the message that everyone has the opportunity to make their own life choices.  Olmos continues to impact the Latino community at large, and it’s safe to say he’s one of the most influential Latinos in the industry.

Most recently, Olmos played a role in “The Green Hornet” and he now has a reoccurring role on the hit TV show “Dexter.”

Raquel Welch

Ms. Raquel Welch was born in Chicago, in 1940, and was given the birth name of Jo Raquel Tejada.   At an early age Ms. Welch had her heart set on the performance arts. She was a dancer from age 7 until 17.  Once her dance instructor said she didn’t have the body to be a dancer she started her acting career at the age of 19.

Welch began on stage in 1959 playing the title role in “The Ramona Pageant.”  She moved to Los Angeles in the early ’60s and began to pursue roles through studios in the area.  In the beginning, she didn’t have many large parts though she was acted in both films and television.  Then in 1965 Welch landed her first feature role in “A Swingin’ Summer”, a film that earned her a contract with 20th Century Fox.

A year later Welch had a lead role in “Fantastic Voyage” which launched her as a star.  Welch then went to Britain to star in a remake of “One Million Years B.C.” Despite the fact she said so little in this movie, it was this film that launched her appeal sky-high due to one publicity still.  This poster went on to be one of the best-selling posters of all time, helping Welch become one of the leading sex symbols of the ’60s and ’70s.  Welch was named “Most Desired Woman” of the 1970s.

After “One Million”, she appeared in “Bedazzled” .  Then before returning to America she appeared in “Bandolero!” and “Lady in Cement.” Her appearance in the 1969 film “100 Rifles” marked another large milestone in Latino cinema, becoming one of the first films to ever feature an interracial sex scene between Welch’s character and actor Jim Brown.

Then in 1970 Welch starred in her own TV special “Raquel!”   The special was made up for a variety of classic song-and-dance routines and took place in countries all around the world.

Welch went on to evolve into a singer, releasing a single and performing in a one-woman musical act in Las Vegas in 1987.  She has also appeared on Broadway in the shows “Woman of the Year” and “Victor/Victoria.”

Also in the ’80s, “The Raquel Welch Total Beauty and Fitness Program” book hit the market.  Welch also created a line of wigs called HAIRuWEAR

Welch’s accomplishments include winning a Golden Globe for “Best Motion Picture Actress in a Musical or Comedy” for her role in the 1973 film, “The Three Musketeers.” She also was nominated for another Golden Globe three years later for her performance in “Right to Die.”  In 2007 she was chosen as the newest face of MAC Cosmetics Beauty Icon series.  Welch’s line featured many items that were limited and packaged in a tiger-print.

Currently Ms. Welch is featured in Foster Grant sunglasses commercials. She has also recently published a new memoir called “Raquel: Beyond the Cleavage.”

Rita Moreno

Ms. Moreno was born in 1931 as Rosa Dolores Alverio in Puerto Rico.  Moreno moved to New York at the age of 5 where she not only adopted her stepfather’s surname (Moreno) but she also started dancing and singing.  Moreno broke into the industry in the way of voice-acting in Spanish versions of American films when she was 11, and at age 13 she was on Broadway.

Her big break came in 1961 when she portrayed the role of Anita in the film version of “West Side Story.”  Anita is the girlfriend of Bernardo, leader of the Sharks, a gang made up of Puerto Rican immigrants.  For this role, Moreno was nominated for and won an Oscar for the Best Supporting Actress, making her the second Puerto Rican to receive such an honor.  She also won a Golden Globe Award for the same category for this film.

After her role in “West Side Story”, Moreno was offered several roles but they weren’t roles she had no interest in playing since they were all similar to that of Anita. Moreno didn’t want to keep playing stereotypical Latina roles.  It wasn’t until 1968 that she appeared in her next film, “The Night of the Following Day.”

Moreno had a small but powerful theatre career starting in London in the 1960s and returning to America in the 1970s.  She appeared in “The Last of the Red Hot Lovers”, “Gantry”, the female version of “The Odd Couple”, and most importantly, “The Ritz” where she portrayed Googie Gomez and received a Tony Award in 1975.

The ’70s paved the way for Moreno’s appearance on TV.  Moreno became a regular on the children’s series “The Electric Company.”  “The Electric Company” created a spin-off musical album for children, “The Electric Company Album”, which earned her a Grammy Award in the year 1972.

Moreno made other guest appearances on television series during this era, including a guest appearance on “The Muppet Show” and “The Rockford Files.”  These two appearances also earned her two Emmy nominations, a win in 1977 for “Individual Performance in a Variety or Music Program” and a win in the following year for “Outstanding Guest Actress.”  Moreno was the first actress to receive an Oscar, an Emmy, a Grammy and a Tony award.  She was also the first Latina to do so, and she still remains one of twelve actors who have achieved this goal.

In more recent times, Moreno has been busy both on stage and on screen.  Currently she is playing the role of the mother on Fran Drescher’s new sitcom, “Happily Divorced.”  She is also currently performing her autobiographical show, “Rita Moreno: Life Without Make-up” at the Berkeley Repertory Theatre You can read more about her show on a recent interview with Moreno here at

In the 2000’s, Moreno has received many honors, awards and special recognitions. Some of these include the “Special Recognition Award” from the International Latin Music Hall of Fame in 2001, a Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2004, indictment into the California Hall of Fame at the California Museum for History, Women and the Arts in 2007 and a National Medal of Arts in 2009 and her own star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

Moreno had the biggest influence on the Hispanic Organization of Latin Actors who renamed the Award of Excellence to reflect her achievements and honor her.  This award is now named the HOLA Rita Moreno Award for Excellence.  Ten years later in 2010, HOLA honored Moreno with a Lifetime Achievement Award.

Ricardo Montalbán and the Chrysler Cordoba

Ricardo Gonzalo Pedro Montalbán y Merino was born in the year 1920 in Mexico City.  When he was a teenager he left Mexico to move to Los Angeles with his brother, actor Carlos Montalbán, and in the year 1940 the pair of them left LA for New York.

Montalbán’s career started in 1941 when he landed roles in a few motion pictures.  These films were produced for the Soundies film jukeboxes.  So, what are Soundies? Three-minute musicals on film that people could view on the Panoram (a coin-operated film jukebox) in areas such as nightclubs, restaurants, bars, and amusement center.  Montalbán’s first starring role came from the film “He’s a Latin from Staten Island” which came out in 1941.

During that same year; however, Montalbán returned to Mexico for a family emergency.  While in Mexico, he acted in Spanish-films and became a star in Mexico.

In 1943 he returned to America and arrived in Hollywood to begin acting again.  In the ’40s though, Latinos still weren’t getting the same respect as Anglo film stars. Though he was in a variety of films and television shows, Montalbán often portrayed Asian characters instead of Latinos.  But in 1949 he was the first Latino actor to appear on the cover of Life magazine.

Montalbán was one of the only Latino actors working during the ’50s and ’60s.  He also had the opportunity to star in “Jamaica”, a broadway musical in which he sang and starred in for two years.  Montalbán even acted off-screen and off-stage when he started his own radio show, “Lobo del Mar”.  “Lobo del Mar” was a half-hour weekly-ran show that aired in Spanish-speaking countries until the ’70s.

In 1975 Montalbán was back in front of the camera, this time as the spokesman for the Chrysler Cordoba.  He became well-known for being associated with these cars and Montalbán starred in several commercials advertising the car over the years.

It wasn’t until 1978 that Montalbán landed an ongoing part on television in the series “Fantasy Island.”  Playing the role of Mr. Roarke, Montalbán remained on the show for 6 years.  Mr. Roarke became a pop culture icon, and Montalbán became a classic icon.  Along with appearing on “Fantasy Island”, Montalbán had played roles such as Khan Noonien Singh in “Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan” and reprising the role in an episode of “Star Trek” in 1967.  He then appeared in “The Naked Gun: From the Files of Police Squad”, “The Money Trap”, “The Singing Nun”, “Escape from the Planet of the Apes”, “Conquest of the Planet of the Apes” and several more. He has also appeared in such shows as “Bonanza”, “Hawaii Five-O” “Murder, She Wrote”, “Freakazoid” and “Kim Possible.”

Montalbán contributed to the Latino community in his own way. In 1972, he co-founded the Screen Actors Guild Ethnic Minority Committee.  Prior to that in 1970, he co-founded the Nosotros Foundation to spread the word on how Latinos were portrayed in the industry and advocate for them in the movie and television industry.  From the foundation came the creation of the Golden Eagle Awards which highlights Latino actors.  You can read more about this organization at

In 2004, the Nosotros Foundation and the Ricardo Montalbán Foundation established the Ricardo Montalbán Theatre, located in Hollywood on Vine.  In addition to his own theatre, Montalbán also is one of the Latino stars to have his own star on the Hollywood walk of fame.

Carmen Miranda: The Brazilian Bombshell

With an incredible voice and a keen eye for fashion, who could resist Carmen Miranda.

Born with the name Maria do Carmo Miranda da Cunha, she received the nickname Carmen from her father at a young age.  Miranda grew to love the arts of singing and dancing at an early age.  Her career started, at age 20, when composer Josué de Barros discovered her and helped her record her first album in the year 1929.  In 1933 she signed a two-year contract with Rádio Mayrink Veiga, becoming the first contract singer in the radio industry in Brazil.  She continued with her musical career throughout the ’30s, receiving a recording contract through RCA Records for her samba sounds and rising on the charts.  During this time she was also appearing in small parts in films, most notably “Estudantes” in 1935 and “Alô Alô Carnaval”, that latter in which she sang “Cantoras do Rádio” with her sister Aurora in 1936.

After the premiere of  “Alô Alô Carnaval”, Miranda left Brazil and signed onto a contract in Hollywood in the year 1939. Over the course of her film career in the United States, Miranda starred in 14 films, often sporting tall hats made of fruit and blending Brazilian, Portugese, Argentinian and Mexican traditions all into one.  By the mid-1940s, she had become the highest-paid entertainer in the US and had earned herself a new nickname: The Brazilian Bombshell.

Of course, her Hollywood image received its own share of backlash. Her new flamboyant nature upset Brazil, claiming she was projecting a false image of the country and that she had given up her culture for American commercialism. Miranda didn’t take the criticism lightly, and left the country behind.

Her last film was made in 1953 (“Scared Stiff”), and her life ended shortly after that when she suffered from two heart attacks in 1955. Though she’s laid to rest in Rio de Janeiro, Miranda has left her mark on America.  She has her own star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, and even now Miranda’s fruit-hats are iconic. Fruit jewelry and the like are still associated with her, often known as “Carmen Miranda jewelry.”  Various musical artists have paid their respects to Miranda with references to her life and career in their own music.

In Rio de Janeiro, people can visit a museum dedicated to Miranda with a great deal of memorabilia.  In 1998 in Hollywood, Carmen Miranda Square was founded, located at Hollywood and Orange across from Grauman’s Chinese Theater.  Speaking of, Miranda’s footprints also happen to be preserved in concrete at the theater itself.

Finally, in honor of Carmen Miranda, a documentary was created in 1995 entitled “Carmen Miranda: Bananas is my Business.” Ten years later, Brazilian author Ruy Castro wrote a biography entitled “Carmen.” You can view the opener for this documentary below.

David Siqueiros: The Political Artist

Influence on David Alfaro Siqueiros’ career began in his early years. Born in 1896 he lived in Chihuahua, Mexico with his family.  In 1907 his family moved to Mexico City where he was exposed to political ideas that framed the person he was to become.  At the age of eighteen while attending the School of Fine Arts, Siqueiros joined Veustiano Carranza’s Constitutional Army to fight the Huerta Government.  The Huerta Government began in 1913 when Victoriano Huerta became president of Mexico.  Many Hispanics saw Huerta as someone in violation of the Constitution of Mexico though, and in March of 1913 politician Venustiano Carranza called for a declaration of war between himself and Huerta’s party.  Even though Huerta was defeated in 1914, Siqueiros was part of the Constitutional Army when they fought against Pancho Villa and Emiliano Zapata for political control of Mexico. The good part about traveling with the army is that he was able to see different parts of the country and various parts of culture he wouldn’t have seen before.

In 1919, Siqueiros traveled to France and picked up other forms of art, meeting influential figures such as Paul Cezanne and Diego Rivera. Three years later in 1922 Siqueiros returned to Mexico City and began to paint again as a muralist for Alvaro Obregón’s revolutionary government. He also joined the mission José Vasconcelos, Secretary of Public Education, to educate the masses through public art.  Siqueiros came to the conclusion that the art wasn’t nearly as prominent as it could be, so in 1923 he went on to help found the Syndicare of Revolutionary Mexican Painters, Sculptors and Engravers. Also 1923 brought Mexico Burial of a Worker, which still remains as a famous mural today.  The Syndicate of Revolutionary Mexican Painters, Sculptors and Engravers also played a hand in publishing a union paper, El Machete. While El Machete spread the word about the problems Mexican artists faced about widespread public access, it also brought on its on problems among the members of the union, ending with Siqueiros being let go from his post under the Department of Education and being jailed and exiled in the early 1930s.

The 1930s is when Siqueiros’ career really launched. He produced a series of political-themed lithographs, one of which was shown at the 1930 exhibition entitled Rectifications on Mexican Muralism at the Delphic Studios in New York City. Check out the picture below.

"Head" by David Siqueiros

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Rudolph Valentino: The Latin Lover

Before there were movie stars, there were silent movie stars.

Rodolfo Alfonso Raffaello Pierre Filibert Guglielmi di Valentina D’Antonguolla, or more commonly known as Rudolph Valentino, was a big name in the 1920s, and his short life provided a large impact on the Latino community.

Born in Italy, at the age of 18 Valentino left for the United States to try his luck. He had a hard struggle securing any sort of financial stability, working odd jobs. It wasn’t until 1917 that his career started to break free. In that time, Valentino joined an operetta company. When the group disbanded he joined another stage production that brought him to Los Angeles, and then San Francisco. In San Francisco, Valentino befriended an actor by the name of Norman Kerry. Kerry’s the man who convinced Valentino to try his hand at film acting.

When he first began screen-acting, he played a lot of small roles in movies and was usually cast as a villain or a gangster. But this wasn’t good enough for Valentino. He wanted to be playing different parts, bigger parts…as any actor would 🙂

Opportunity shined upon him in the year 1921. While he was filming a movie called “Stolen Moments” (notably his last film where he plays a villain), Valentino had started to read a novel called The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse, written by Vicente Blasco Ibanez. After finishing the novel, Valentino learned about a company called Metro (prior to its merge with Goldwyn Picture Corporation to create Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer) had acquired the rights to the plotline. The screenplay written by June Mathis, the first female executive in the history of film. She was allowed to give her input on who should direct and star in her adaption, and she chose Valentino, having seen him act in “Eyes of Youth” and being impressed with his work. “The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse” went on to not only be the sixth highest grossing silent film ever but skyrocketed Valentino to stardom.

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