biography

Born Luis Antonio Damaso de Alonso in Juarez, Mexico, on December 11, 1905, dashing screen actor Gilbert Roland moved with his family to Texas with the onset of the Mexican Revolution between 1910 and 1911. Around 1920, the teenage Roland left his family for Los Angeles, and as he looked older than his years suggested, he was soon getting film work in bit parts. He chose his stage name by using the last names of two of his favorite silent screen stars: serial queen Ruth Roland and matinee idol John Gilbert. After several years of bit parts, at the age of 19 Gilbert Roland secured his breakthrough role in the 1925 Clara Bow vehicle The Plastic Age, one of the first films in which he received screen credit. Bow and Roland, both 20 years old at the time, became friends and lovers while lensing the film.

Gilbert Roland, Columbia, 1951

Studio portrait of Gilbert Roland


Gilbert Roland made the transition to 'talkies' relatively unscathed, unlike many of his co-stars, such as Norma Talmadge, who found their careers had evaporated because their voices were not microphone-friendly. Roland often portrayed Latin-lover types, but he also made numerous westerns from the late 1930s through the late 1960s; in addition, he also proved to be adept at comedy. In 1946, Roland went to Monogram to take over the role of the Cisco Kid, a role which had previously belonged to Warner Baxter, Cesar Romero, and Duncan Renaldo. When Roland abandoned the role in 1948 to freelance at MGM and Columbia, Renaldo was once again the Cisco Kid.

After a string of affairs with his leading ladies, Roland married his first wife, glamorous actress Constance Bennett, in 1941. (Roland was Bennett's fourth husband.) The strikingly beautiful Bennett, the sister of Joan Bennett, was the bigger star of the couple, but during the marriage Roland received the lion's share of publicity from the union, and the press lavished lots of ink on her husband's handsome visage. After producing two children, the couple called it quits in 1946.

the films of gilbert roland

Camille (1927)

Gilbert Roland and Norma Talmadge

Roland with Norma Talmadge in Camille, one of four films in which the duo starred. Sadly, this is now a 'lost' film. Roland and Talmadge started an affair during production of this film, leading to the eventual breakup of Talmadge's marriage to Joseph Schenck, one-time president of United Artists and chairman of 20th Century-Fox

The Sea Hawk (1940)

Gilbert Roland and Errol Flynn

Roland with Errol Flynn in the swashbuckling adventure The Sea Hawk

The Gay Cavalier (1946)

Gilbert Roland and Ramsay Ames

Roland in his first outing as the Cisco Kid, with Ramsay Ames. Roland made about ten 'Cisco Kid' features between 1946 and 1948

Beauty and the Bandit (1946)

Gilbert Roland and Ramsay AmesGilbert Roland as the Cisco KidGilbert Roland as the Cisco Kid

Again as the Cisco Kid. The left photo also features Ramsay Ames

The Furies (1950)

Gilbert Roland and Barbara Stanwyck

With Barbara Stanwyck in the excellent Paramount western The Furies

Mark of the Renegade (1951)

Ricardo Montalban, Andrea King, and Gilbert Roland

From the Universal adventure Mark of the Renegade with Ricardo Montalban and Andrea King

Thunder Bay (1953)

Gilbert Roland

From the Universal adventure Thunder Bay

The Racers (1955)

Gilbert Roland

From the 20th Century Fox drama The Racers

That Lady (1955)

Gilbert Roland and Anthony Dawson

With Anthony Dawson in the adventure That Lady

The Treasure of Pancho Villa (1955)

Rory Calhoun and Gilbert Roland

With Rory Calhoun in the western The Treasure of Pancho Villa, released by RKO

Underwater! (1955)

Gilbert Roland, Richard Egan, and Jane RussellGilbert Roland, Richard Egan, and Jane Russell

With Richard Egan and Jane Russell in RKO's racy adventure flick Underwater!

Zorro (1958-1960 TV Series)

Gilbert Roland and Guy Williams

With Guy Williams in a 1960 episode of Zorro

Guns of the Timberland (1960)

Frankie Avalon and Gilbert Roland

With Frankie Avalon in the Warner Bros. western Guns of the Timberland

Samar (1962)

Gilbert Roland, Joan O'Brien, and George MontgomeryGilbert Roland and Joan O'BrienJoan O'Brien, George Montgomery, Ziva Rodann, and Gilbert Roland

LEFT and CENTER: With Joan O'Brien and George Montgomery in the adventure Samar. RIGHT: With Joan O'Brien, George Montgomery, and Ziva Rodann

Any Gun Can Play (1967)


Gilbert Roland and Stefania CaredduGilbert Roland

From the spaghetti western Any Gun Can Play. The left photo also features Stefania Careddu

later years

Gilbert Roland continued to accept roles in films, both theatrical releases and made-for-TV, throughout the 1970s. And, on occasion, he appeared in guest spots on popular TV shows, including Barnaby Jones, Night Gallery, and Hart to Hart. But by the time the film Barbarosa was released in 1982, he decided to retire from the screen at age 77. Roland succumbed to cancer on May 15, 1994, at the age of 88. He was survived by his second wife, his two daughters from his first marriage to Constance Bennett, and a brother.

gilbert roland dvds available from amazon.com

filmography

FILM
Barbarosa (1982) with Willie Nelson, Gary Busey, and Isela Vega
Caboblanco (1980) with Charles Bronson, Jason Robards, Fernando Rey, Simon MacCorkindale, and Denny Miller
The Sacketts (1979) with Sam Elliot, Tom Selleck, Glenn Ford, Ben Johnson, John Vernon, and Ruth Roman
The Black Pearl (1977)
Islands in the Stream (1977) with George C. Scott, David Hemmings, Susan Tyrrell, Claire Bloom, and Hart Bochner
South Pacific Connection (1975) with Guy Madison, Nancy Kwan, Alejandro Rey, and Dean Stockwell
The Mark of Zorro (1974) with Frank Langella, Ricardo Montalban, and Yvonne De Carlo
Running Wild (1973) with Lloyd Bridges, Dina Merrill, and Pat Hingle
Incident on a Dark Street (1973) with David Canary, Robert Pine, William Shatner, Wesley Lau, and Don 'Red' Barry
The Christian Licorice Store (1971) with Beau Bridges, Maud Adams, and Allan Arbus
Sartana Does Not Forgive (1969) with Jack Elam
Between God, the Devil and a Winchester (1968) with Richard Harrison and Raf Baldassarre
The Wild & the Dirty (1968)
Land's End (1968) with Rory Calhoun, Martin Milner, and Sonny Tufts
Any Gun Can Play (1967) with Edd Byrnes and George Hilton
The Ruthless Four (1966) with Van Helfin and Klaus Kinski
The Poppy Is Also a Flower (1966) with Senta Berger, Angie Dickinson, Stephen Boyd, Rita Hayworth, Marcello Mastroianni, Omar Sharif, Eli Wallach, and Barry Sullivan
The Reward (1965) with Max von Sydow, Yvette Mimieux, Efrem Zimbalist Jr., and Henry Silva
Cheyenne Autumn (1964) with Richard Widmark, Ricardo Montalban, George O'Brien, Carroll Baker, Karl Malden, Sal Mineo, Dolores del Rio, and John Carradine
Samar (1962) with George Montgomery, Joan O'Brien, and Ziva Rodann
Guns of the Timberland (1960) with Alan Ladd, Frankie Avalon, Jeanne Crain, and Lyle Bettger
Catch Me If You Can (1959) with Cesare Danova and Dina Merrill
The Big Circus (1959) with Victor Mature and Rhonda Fleming
The Wild and the Innocent (1959) with Audie Murphy, Joanne Dru, Sandra Dee, Peter Breck, and Jim Backus
The Last of the Fast Guns (1958) with Jock Mahoney
Appointment with a Shadow (1957) with Tony Curtis
Bandido (1956) with Robert Mitchum and Zachary Scott
Three Violent People (1956) with Charlton Heston, Anne Baxter, Tom Tryon, and Bruce Bennett
Around the World in Eighty Days (1956) with David Niven, Cantinflas, Robert Morley, Noel Coward, and John Gielgud
The Treasure of Pancho Villa (1955) with Rory Calhoun and Shelley Winters
Underwater! (1955) with Jane Russell, Richard Egan, and Lori Nelson
The Racers (1955) with Kirk Douglas, Bella Darvi, Cesar Romero, Lee J. Cobb, Katy Jurado, John Hudson, and George Dolenz
That Lady (1955) with Olivia de Havilland and Anthony Dawson
The French Line (1954) with Jane Russell, Craig Stevens, Kasey Rogers, and Joi Lansing
Beneath the 12-Mile Reef (1953) with Robert Wagner, Terry Moore, Peter Graves, J. Carrol Naish, Richard Boone, Angela Clarke, and Gloria Gordon
The Diamond Queen (1953) with Arlene Dahl and Fernando Lamas
Thunder Bay (1953) with James Stewart and Joanne Dru
The Bad and the Beautiful (1952) with Lana Turner, Kirk Douglas, Gloria Grahame, Walter Pidgeon, Dick Powell, Barry Sullivan, and Leo G. Carroll
Glory Alley (1952) with Ralph Meeker and Leslie Caron
The Miracle of Our Lady of Fatima (1952)
Apache War Smoke (1952) with Glenda Farrell, Robert Horton, Barbara Ruick, Gene Lockhart, Harry Morgan, Myron Healey, and Robert Blake
My Six Convicts (1952) with Marshall Thompson, Wesley Addy, Charles Bronson, and Russ Conway
Ten Tall Men (1951) with Burt Lancaster, Gerald Mohr, Kieron Moore, and Mari Blanchard
Mark of the Renegade (1951) with Ricardo Montalban, Cyd Charisse, and Andrea King
Bullfighter and the Lady (1951) with Robert Stack
The Furies (1950) with Barbara Stanwyck, John Bromfield, Wendell Corey, Walter Huston, Judith Anderson, and Albert Dekker
Crisis (1950) with Cary Grant, Ramon Navarro, Jose Ferrer, and Paula Raymond
The Torch (1949) with Paulette Goddard and Pedro Armendariz
Malaya (1949) with Spencer Tracy, John Hodiak, James Stewart, Sydney Greenstreet, and Lionel Barrymore
We Were Strangers (1949) with Jennifer Jones, John Garfield, and Ramon Navarro
The Dude Goes West (1948) with Eddie Albert, Gale Storm, and Tom Tyler
The Other Love (1947) with Barbara Stanwyck and David Niven
Pirates of Monterey (1947) with Maria Montez, Rod Cameron, and Gale Sondergaard
King of the Bandits (1947) with Angela Greene
Robin Hood of Monterey (1947) with Evelyn Brent and Nestor Paiva
High Conquest (1947) with Anna Lee
Riding the California Trail (1947) with Teala Loring
Beauty and the Bandit (1946) with Ramsay Ames
South of Monterey (1946)
The Gay Cavalier (1946) with Ramsay Ames
Captain Kidd (1945) with Charles Laughton, Randolph Scott, and Barbara Britton
The Desert Hawk (1944) a fifteen-chapter serial
Isle of Missing Men (1942) with John Howard, Alan Mowbray, and Kenne Duncan
Enemy Agents Meet Ellery Queen (1942) with William Gargan, Margaret Lindsay, and Gale Sondergaard
My Life with Caroline (1941) with Ronald Colman and Anna Lee
Angels with Broken Wings (1941) with Jane Frazee and Leo Gorcey
Gambling On the High Seas (1940) with Jane Wyman and George Reeves
Rangers of Fortune (1940) with Fred MacMurray and Albert Dekker
The Sea Hawk (1940) with Errol Flynn and Claude Rains
Isle of Destiny (1940) with William Gargan and Katherine DeMille
Juarez (1939) with Bette Davis, Paul Muni, Brian Aherne, Claude Rains, John Garfield, Donald Crisp, and Gale Sondergaard
Gateway (1938) with Don Ameche, Arleen Whelan, John Carradine, and Lyle Talbot
Midnight Taxi (1937) with Brian Donlevy and Lon Chaney Jr.
Thunder Trail (1937) with J. Carrol Naish
The Last Train from Madrid (1937) with Dorothy Lamour, Lew Ayres, Lionel Atwill, Robert Cummings, and Anthony Quinn
Ladies Love Danger (1935) with Dick Foran
Mystery Woman (1935) with Rod La Rocque
Tarnished Youth (1933) with Madge Bellamy
After Tonight (1933) with Constance Bennett
The Romantic Widow (1933)
Our Betters (1933) with Constance Bennett
She Done Him Wrong (1933) with Mae West and Cary Grant
The Woman in Room 13 (1932) with Ralph Bellamy and Myrna Loy
The Passionate Plumber (1932) with Buster Keaton
Call Her Savage (1932) with Clara Bow and Thelma Todd
A Parisian Romance (1932) with Lew Cody and Joyce Compton
No Living Witness (1932) with J. Carrol Naish
Hombres de mi vida (1932) with Lupe Velez
Resurreccion (1931) with Lupe Velez
Mephisto (1930)
Men of the North (1930)
Possession (1929)
New York Nights (1929) with Norma Talmadge
The Woman Disputed (1928) with Norma Talmadge; Roland's first 'talkie,' the soundtrack is now lost and only silent prints are available today
The Dove (1927) with Norma Talmadge and Noah Beery; now a lost film
The Love Mart (1927) with Billie Dove, Noah Beery, and Boris Karloff
Rose of the Golden West (1927) with Mary Astor
Camille (1926) with Norma Talmadge and Lilyan Tashman
The Blonde Saint (1926) with Lewis Stone and Doris Kenyon
The Campus Flirt (1926) with Bebe Daniels
The Plastic Age (1925) with Clara Bow
The Lady Who Lied (1925) with Virginia Vallie and Nita Naldi

TELEVISION GUEST APPEARANCES
Hart to Hart, episode Raid, originally aired February 26, 1980
Barnaby Jones, episode Rendezvous with Terror, originally aired February 24, 1974
Kung Fu, episode The Chalice, originally aired October 11, 1973
Medical Center, episode Tico Taco, MD, originally aired November 8, 1972
McCloud, episode The New Mexican Connection, originally aired October 1, 1972
Night Gallery, episode The Waiting Room, originally aired January 26, 1972
The High Chaparral, episode The New Lion of Sonora, originally aired February 19, 1971
The F.B.I., episode The Patriot, originally aired February 2, 1969
Garrison's Gorillas, episode The Big Con, originally aired September 6, 1967
The Fugitive, episode The Savage Street, originally aired March 14, 1967
Bonanza, episode The Lonely Runner, originally aired October 10, 1965
Combat!, episode The Convict, originally aired February 9, 1965
The Fugitive, episode Somebody to Remember, originally aired March 24, 1964
Gunsmoke, episode Extradition: Parts 1 and 2, originally aired December 7 and 14, 1963
The Greatest Show on Earth, episode Don't Look Down, Don't Look Back, originally aired October 8, 1963
Death Valley Days, episode Kingdom for a Horse, originally aired October 1, 1963
The Alfred Hitchcock Hour, episode Death and the Joyful Woman, originally aired April 12, 1963
Frontier Circus, episode Quick Shuffle, originally aired February 1, 1962
The Dick Powell Show, episode Death in a Village, originally aired January 2, 1962
The Chevy Show, episode Mexican Fiesta, originally aired March 27, 1960
Westinghouse Desilu Playhouse, episode Border Justice, originally aired November 13, 1959
Wagon Train, episode The Bernal Sierra Story, originally aired March 12, 1958
Schlitz Playhouse of Stars, episode Rich Man, Poor Man, originally aired December 20, 1957
Playhouse 90, episode Invitation to a Gunfighter, originally aired March 7, 1957
Jane Wyman Presents The Fireside Theatre, episode The Smuggler, originally aired October 25, 1955
The Ford Television Theatre, episode The Ardent Woodsman, originally aired January 14, 1954

gilbert roland links

Gilbert Roland at GoldenSilents.Com

gilbert roland film now showing

Watch Gilbert Roland's early talkie 1929 crime drama New York Nights

Click to go back to Brian's Drive-In Theater
Click on the logo to go back to Brian's Drive-In Theater
This page premiered March 15, 2002.
Copyright and Disclaimer Information