Gilbert Roland

Gilbert Roland

Luis Antonio Dámaso de Alonso (1905-1994) Spanish Actor, Performer and Writer. Luis Antonio Damaso de Alonso, later known as Gilbert Roland, was born in 1905 in Mexico. Following his parents to the USA, he did not become the bullfighter he had dreamed of being but became an actor instead. His Mexican roots, his half macho half romantic ways, his handsome virile figure helped him land roles in movies from the early twenties to 1982. A long and varied career in which Roland was in turns an extra, a matinée idol (Armand Duval in Camille (1926)), a Latin Lover, a star of English-speaking films made in Hollywood in the early 1930s, a Mexican bandit in B-Movies, The Cisco Kid in a series of six popular Westerns, a brilliant character in major A movies (John Huston's We Were Strangers (1949), Vincente Minnelli's The Bad and the Beautiful (1952); Anthony Mann's Thunder Bay (1953), John Ford's Cheyenne Autumn (1964)), a sinister character in Spaghetti Westerns... When he retired in 1982, twelve years before he died, he could be satisfied. His career had spanned six decades, the coming of sound had not ended it, he had played in all kinds of movies, he had held the most beautiful women in his arms, and maybe the most important thing, he had been given the opportunity to show his acting talents. Not every actor can boast such a life achievement.


Gilbert Roland chose his screen name in homage to his two favorite movie stars, John Gilbert and Ruth Roland.

Involved in an affair with Norma Talmadge that resulted in her divorce from Joe Schenck. However, Norma lost interest before she and Gilbert were to be married and eventually tied the knot with comedian George Jessel.

Brother of Francisco Day.

He is the only man to have portrayed both the villain and the hero of a single serial.

Daughters with Constance Bennett: Lorinda Roland and Gyl Roland.

During World War II he served in the U.S. Army Air Force.

Father-in-law of Dan Barton.

He has an entry in Jean Tulard's "Dictionnaire du Cinéma/Les Acteurs" published in Paris by Robert Laffont/Bouquins in 2007, pages. 1001-1002 (ISBN: 978-2-221-10895-6).

After his mother died, he always wore a ring on his left hand engraved with her dying words to him: Hijo mlo, no te apures, no te asustes; adioa, alma mla. The English translation is: My son, don't rush yourself, don't worry yourself, good-bye, my soul.

His formal education went no further than the seventh grade.

Considered El Paso his hometown, almost always referring to it as "mi casa".

Went on record as strongly disapproving of modern movies with their violence and sex.

The leather wrist band he often wore onscreen was initially prescribed by a doctor to aid the healing of a tennis injury to Roland's left wrist.

At age 74 Roland lobbied unsuccessfully for a biopic on Salvatore Dali in which he would play the Spanish surrealist.

Personal QuotesEdit

Death comes soon enough so why kill yourself crying about it?

I don't have any delusions about myself as an actor. I'm grateful for being able to find enough work all these years.

[on Buster Keaton] He was brilliant. One of the greatest, one of the most wonderful, altruistic men I've ever met.

You go everywhere, do everything, still there are some places you can't forget. The people and the land. If you forget the beauty of your youth, you are no more than an animal.

I am a Spaniard, but Mexico is my second fatherland.

Make each day count. Be happy. Believe in God. Dream of the past if you will but don't live in it.

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