Pedro Gonzalez Gonzalez

Pedro Gonzalez Gonzalez
Film: West side of the 1500 block of Vine Street
Born Ramiro Gonzalez Gonzalez on May 24, 1925 in Aguilares, Texas
Died Feb. 6, 2006 in Culver City, Calif.

Pedro Gonzalez Gonzalez was an irrepressible character actor and comedic entertainer who appeared in dozens of movies, including "The High and the Mighty" and "Rio Bravo."

Gonzalez Gonzalez, a Texas native, first came to national public attention in 1953 when he appeared as a contestant on Groucho Marx's TV quiz show "You Bet Your Life."

The dimunitive young man proved to be irrestible comic fodder for the quick-witted Marx. John Wayne also happened to see his show-stealing appearance and signed him to a seven-year contract with his production company.

From then on, he appeared in numerous Wayne films, including "Hellfighters," "Chisum" and "McLintock!" He became one of the era's few recognized Mexican Americans on the big screen and television.

One of nine children, he was born Ramiro Gonzalez Gonzalez in Aguilares, Texas, to a Spanish dancer from Mexico and a Mexican American trumpet player from Texas.

Following Mexican tradition, he was given not only his father's last name but also his mother's maiden name. It just happened that they were the same. Friends later nicknamed him Pedro.

Gonzalez Gonzalez was a driver in the Army during World War II, stationed in the United States. He started out performing comedy in Spanish but had greater success after he learned English.

Because he left school early to enter show business, the actor could neither read nor write. Gonzalez Gonzalez would memorize his lines after having his wife read scripts to him. If a director wanted a script change on the set, his grandson said, "They would feed him the lines or give him the situation to improvise."

Because he often played stereotypical Latino roles, had a heavy accent and frequently served as comic relief, Gonzalez Gonzalez was criticized in later years for being what one critic called the "Uncle Tom of Latino actors."

His grandson Clifton Collins Jr., who followed in his grandfather's footsteps by becoming an actor, said of Gonzalez Gonzalez: "He just always wanted to work. He played the roles that were available to him, and he did them well."

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