Actor. He is best remembered for his title role in the 1950s television series, The Cisco Kid (1950-1956), along with actor Leo Carrillo, who played his sidekick, Pancho. Born probably in Spain, Renaldo was an orphan and never knew his birth parents. He was raised in several European countries, passed on to a series of stepparents, relatives and guardians. He would often say that he was unsure of where and when he was born (his given birth date is assumed for legal purposes), but that his earliest memories were of Spain. Renaldo initially worked as a stoker aboard a Brazilian coal ship. When the ship docked in Baltimore, Maryland, it caught fire and burned to the waterline, and Renaldo decided to stay in the United States. He made a bare living painting portraits and landscapes, and in 1928, found a job with MGM Studios in Hollywood as a background "extra" actor. His first (uncredited) film is believed to be the silent film, "Clothes Make the Woman" (1928). Eventually he received talking roles, and his good looks got him into better roles, with Hollywood transforming him into the Latin Lover type roles. In 1934, he was arrested for illegal entry into the United States (his original occupation as a sailor allowed him only 90 days in the country between cruises; he overstayed his visa). Due to the uncertainty of his country of origin, he was held in prison for nearly a year, before Republic Studios President Herbert J. Yates decided to intercede in his behalf, vouching for his good behavior and promising him employment at Republic. Eleanor Roosevelt, wife of the President, who had purchased one of his paintings, then aided his cause by asking her husband to pardon him. By early 1936, his legal status problems were over and he returned to Hollywood to make films. He would act in films for both Republic and Monogram studios, alternating as a hero or as a villain, often in numerous westerns or in the popular serial cliffhangers of the late 1930s and early 1940s, such as "Jungle Menace" (1937), "Zorro Rides Again" (1937), and "The Secret Service in Darkest Africa" (1943). In 1945, he starred in the Cisco Kid film series, making seven films based on the radio series, which in turn had been taken from the teen-adventure book series. Beginning with "The Cisco Kid Returns" (1945) and ending with "The Girl from San Lorenzo" (1950), he transferred the movie role to television in 1950, in which he remade the Cisco Kid character more of a clean-shaven do-gooder than the roguish bandit who was in the original books. The television version of the Cisco Kid would always help where needed, and unlike most western heroes, he never killed anyone. In the 1953 television season, he was severely injured in a rock fall, and hospitalized while the studio shot nine more episodes. The producers used doubles, disguises, previously shot footage and voice-overs to keep the public from knowing the truth about his injuries, until he was healed enough to return to acting. He would also try his hand at producing films during the late 1940s, but gave it up to return to acting on television. He retired as an actor in 1956, when the television series ended, and was awarded a Star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame for his contributions to television. He died of lung cancer in 1980 at the age of 76 in Goleta, California.
Bio by: Kit and Morgan Benson
Audrey Madeline Leonard Renaldo
1918–1993 (m. 1948)