Home Actor Pedro Armendáriz: A Gentleman with Passion, Force and Acting Abilities

Pedro Armendáriz: A Gentleman with Passion, Force and Acting Abilities

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Pedro Armendariz was one of Latin America’s most beloved and versatile actors during the 20th century, appearing in more than 140 films both in Mexico and America and winning multiple awards for them. Furthermore, his charisma, elegance, and talent charmed audiences across both continents; we will explore his life, career and legacy here.

Early Life and Education

Pedro Armendariz
Pedro Armendariz

Pedro Armendariz was born May 9, 1912, to a Mexican father and American mother and had one cousin who also became an actress: Gloria Marin. As both his parents passed away when he was only nine years old, he went to live with his uncle until attending Polytechnic Institute of San Luis Obispo (CA) to study business and journalism before returning home as a graduate to work as a railroad employee, insurance salesperson and tourist guide before eventually taking up acting himself in Mexico City as well.

He discovered his passion for acting after recreating Hamlet’s soliloquy to an American tourist at a cafeteria. Soon thereafter he met director Miguel Zacarias who cast him in several movies; director Emilio Fernandez served as both mentor and partner on numerous productions; together with Dolores del Rio and Maria Felix they formed one of Mexico’s legendary couples of cinema.

Career Highlights

Armendariz made his cinematic debut as Pancho Villa in Soy puro mexicano (1942) directed by Emilio Fernandez and quickly went on to star in many more films that displayed his versatility as an actor, such as indigenous people, peasants, revolutionaries, cowboys, bandits, soldiers, spies, lovers, fathers, sons, brothers, friends and so forth. Some notable films with which Armendariz worked include;

  • Maria Candelaria (1943), directed by Emilio Fernandez and winning the Palme d’Or at Cannes Film Festival to launch Armendariz as a superstar.
  • Las Abandonadas (1944), directed by Emilio Fernandez and featuring Dolores del Rio as Armendariz’s love interest.
  • Bugambilia (1944), directed by Emilio Fernandez and based on a novel by Jorge Ibarguengoitia about two brothers fighting over land ownership.
  • La Malquerida (1949), directed by Emilio Fernandez and co-produced by Armendariz and Dolores del Rio was another collaboration.
  • Enamorada (1946), directed by Emilio Fernandez and featuring Maria Felix as Armendariz’s love interest.
  • Maclovia (1948) directed by Emilio Fernandez was adapted from a novel written by Jorge Ibarguengoitia about two brothers fighting over their land.
  • Armendariz made her Hollywood debut with The Pearl (1947, directed by John Ford), marking the beginning of his Hollywood career.
  • John Ford directed The Black Pirate (1944), in which Armendariz played an adventurer searching for treasure.
  • John Ford directed – The Uprooted Ones (1959). Armendariz played an American soldier who falls for a Mexican woman during World War II.
  • John Ford directed and James Stewart starred in The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance (1962). Lee Marvin played Liberty Valance, an outlaw who is shot dead after refusing to reveal the identity of his accomplice and thus becoming victim to Liberty Valance’s deadly plans.

Personal Life

Armendariz married Carmelita Bohr in 1938 after meeting her at Zacarias’ studio. Together they had two sons: Pedro Jr. who followed in his father’s footsteps into acting; and Carlos Eduardo Jr. who eventually went into engineering.

Armendariz suffered from cancer while shooting From Russia with Love (1963). To accommodate him and ensure that his salary reached his family on time, production schedules were adjusted so he could complete scenes quickly so they would receive their pay check on time.

Armendariz died on June 18th 1963 at 51 years of age from self-inflicted gunshot wounds he gave himself.

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