Nationality: Mexican. Born: Churubusco, 9 May 1912. Education: San Antonio, Texas, public schools; graduated from University of California at Los Angeles, 1928. Family: Married Carmen Pardo, 1939, children: son Pedro, two daughters. Career: Following graduation from college, moved to Mexico, and considered it his home throughout career; early 1930s—brief stage career in Mexico; 1935—Mexican film debut; 1935–44—in 44 Mexican films: called "the Mexican Clark Gable" (or "John Wayne" or "James Mason"); 1947—American film debut in John Ford's The Fugitive; 1963—admitted to UCLA Medical Center with advanced cancer. Died: Of self-inflicted gunshot at UCLA Medical Center, 17 June 1963.
Films as Actor:
Maria Elena; Rosario; Bordertown
Las cuatro milpas; Amapola del Camino; La adelita; Jalisco nunca pierde
Canto a mi tierra; Mi candidato; Los millones de Chafian
Con los dorados de Pancho Villa; El Indio; La China hilaria; Borrasca humana
Los olvidados de dios; La reina del Rio; Malahierra; El torro de falisco; El charro negro; Pobre diablo; El jefe maximo
El secret del Sacerdote; La e ropeya del camino; Del ranco a la capital; La isla de la pasion (Passion Island) (Fernández); Ni sangre ni arena; Alía en el bajia
Soy puro mexicano (Fernández)
Las calaveras del terror, Guadalajara; Flor Silvestre (Fernández); Konga roja; The Life of Simon Bolivar (Simon Bolivar); Distinto amanecer (Bracho) (as Octavio); María Candelaria (Xochimilco; Portrait of Maria) (Fernández) (as Lorenzo Rafael); La guerra de los pasteles
El corsario negro; Tierra de pasiónes; Alma de bronce; La campana de mi pueblo; Las abandonadas (Fernández); El Capitan Malacara; Entre Hermanos; Bugambilia (Fernández)
Rayando el sol; La perla (The Pearl) (Fernández)
La casa colorado; Juan Charrasqueado; Albur de amor; The Fugitive (John Ford)
Maclovia (Fernández); En la hacienda de la flor; Al caer de la tarde; Three Godfathers (John Ford); Fort Apache (John Ford)
Tulsa (Heisler); La lalquerida; Villa vuelve; La masquerada; El abandonado; We Were Strangers (Huston); The Outlaw and the Lady; Pancho Villa; Bodas de Fuego
Camino de infierno; Del odio nace el amor (The Torch; Bandit General) (Fernández); Rosauro Castro; Tierra baja; La loga de la casa; Puerta falsa; Nos Veremos en el cielo
Elly y yo; Por querer a una mujer; La noche avanza
Carne de presidio; El rebozo de la soledad; El Bruto
Les Amants de Tolède (The Lovers of Toledo; Tyrant of Toledo) (Decoin); Lucrèce Borgia (Lucrezia Borgia; Sins of the Borgias; Lucretia Borgia) (Christian-Jaque); Reportaje (Fernández); Mate a la vida; Mulata
Dos mundos y un amor; La rebelion de los Colgados; El diablo del desierto (Borderia); Border River (Sherman)
The Littlest Outlaw (Gavaldón); Les amants du tage; Tam Tam Mayumba (Native Drums; Tom Toms of Mayumba); El pequeno proscrito; La escondida (The Hidden Woman) (Gavaldón)
Uomini e lupi (Men and Wolves) (De Santis); The Conqueror (Dick Powell); Diane (David Miller); Canasta de cuentos mexicanos; La major que no tuvo infancia; El Impostor (Fernández); Viva revolución
Flor de mayo (A Mexican Affair; Beyond All Limits) (Gavaldón); The Big Boodle (Wilson); Ando volando bajo; La pandilla del soborno; El Zarco (El Zarco—The Bandit); Asi era Pancho Villa; Affair in Havana (Benedek); Manuela (Stowaway Girl) (Hamilton)
Pancho Villa y la valentina; Cuando viva villa es la muerte; Café Colón de la Cerna; Las Senoritas Vivanco (Blake); Los desarraigados; La cucaracha (The Bandit) (Alazraki)
Yo Pecador (Rodríguez); El hombre nuestro de Cada Dia; Calibre 44; The Wonderful Country (Parrish); El pequeno salvaje
La cárcel de Cananca; El induito; 800 Leguas por el Amazona; Dos hijos desobedientes
Los valientes no mueren; El rejedor de Milagros; Arrivani i titani (Sons of Thunder; The Titans); Francis of Assisi (Curtiz)
Los hermanos del hierro (My Son, the Hero) (Tessari); Captain Sinbad (Michelet); From Russia with Love (Young)
On ARMENDÁRIZ: books—
Mora, Carl J., Mexican Cinema: Reflections of a Society 1896–1980, Berkeley, 1982.
Riera, Emilio Garcia, and Fernando Macotela, La guia del cine mexicano: De la pantella grande a la television 1919–1987, Mexico City, 1984.
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Pedro Armendáriz was Mexico's major movie star of the 1940s, frequently appearing in films of that country's leading director Emilio Fernández, whose work gained international recognition, ushering in a period of critical attention and acclaim for Mexican filmmaking. As a part of this new Mexican cinema, Armendáriz too gained some degree of recognition and began acting in American films around 1947, and later in some European films. He continued to work both at home and abroad until his death in 1963.
A key role in Armendáriz's early career was the lead in Julio Bracho's Distinto amanecer, in which he played Octavio, an idealistic labor leader fleeing the gunmen of a corrupt governor. The film was noted for depicting the tensions of contemporary Mexican society.
Armendáriz was often cast as the romantic lead in his Mexican films. Perhaps his best-known role was as Lorenzo, the Indian peasant, in Fernández's Mariá Candelaria. In the film, Lorenzo loves Maria, but finally cannot save her from being stoned to death by the villagers because of a tragic misunderstanding. Though the film was internationally acclaimed, it was also criticized by Mexican intellectuals for depicting Mexican Indians in terms of idealized stereotypes. However, Fernández's approach and Armendáriz's portrayal of Lorenzo presented a positive view of Indians—a group that had often been negatively stereotyped and made the butt of jokes.
His first role in an English-language film was in John Ford's The Fugitive. He worked on three subsequent films by Ford, including Three Godfathers, in which he co-starred with John Wayne. Though Armendáriz's move into American and international films can be seen as a career advance, he never appeared as a romantic leading man in American films, but in character parts that called for a Mexican ethnic actor.
—Susan M. Doll