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 Ricardo Cortez

Ricardo Cortez

Original Name Jacob Krantz
Birth
New York, New York County (Manhattan), New York, USA
Death 28 Apr 1977 (aged 76)
New York, New York County (Manhattan), New York, USA
Burial Bronx, Bronx County, New York, USA
Memorial ID 8836 · View Source
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Actor. Best remembered for his roles in silent motion pictures, he successfully made the transition to talking movies in 1929. Born Jacob Krantz into a financially wealthy New York City, New York Jewish family, when he reached adulthood he learned how to work in the financial sector. While working in New York, he began to dabble in acting, and his first movie role was in "The Fringe of Society" (1917), although all of his scenes were cut out of the final print. For the next couple of years, he would play a number of bit roles in various movies, almost always uncredited. In 1922, he decided that he wanted to be a full time actor, so he left his Wall Street job to move to Hollywood, California. Hollywood studio executives took one look at him and at 6 feet 1 inches tall, dark, and handsome, they quickly decided to make him over into a "Latin Lover", changing his name to Ricardo Cortez, so that he could compete against such popular actors as Rudolph Valentino and Ramon Novarro. He would play a number of Spanish or Latin roles in such films as "The Next Corner" (1924), "Argentine Love" (1924), "The Spaniard" (1925), and "In the Name of Love" (1925), among others, where his looks were considered more important than the actual role he was playing. In January 1926, he married another silent film star, Alma Rubens; the marriage lasted until January 1931, when she suddenly died from complications of pneumonia. Despite the handicap of poor roles, he became a serious contender for stardom in the silent acting world. In 1929, talking movies started rapidly taking over the silent film world in popularity, and Cortez, handicapped with a strong New Yorker accent, could not keep his Latin identity for long. Rumors circulated that Hollywood moguls had pulled one over on the audiences, so the studios first tried to remake him into a French actor, before finally admitting that he was born in Austria. Once the secret was out, Cortez remade his screen image from Latin Lover to one of a villain or womanizer, in a number of films during the 1930s. He played some quality lead roles, including the role of 'Sam Spade' in "The Maltese Falcon" (1931) and 'Perry Mason' in "The Case of the Black Cat" (1936), but most of his roles could be defined as B movies. In 1936, he began to try his hand at directing, but after directing a number of minor movies, he retired from the screen and returned to New York City and Wall Street, where he reentered the financial world he had left 14 years earlier. Eventually, he joined one of New York City's top brokerage firms and lived a comfortable life, although he would occasionally take guest cameo roles in movies up through 1958.

Bio by: Kit and Morgan Benson


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  • Maintained by: Find A Grave
  • Added: 12 Mar 2000
  • Find A Grave Memorial 8836
  • Find A Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com : accessed ), memorial page for Ricardo Cortez (18 Sep 1900–28 Apr 1977), Find A Grave Memorial no. 8836, citing Woodlawn Cemetery, Bronx, Bronx County, New York, USA ; Maintained by Find A Grave .