Family & Companions
As a boy in Mexico Gilbert Roland dreamed of being a bullfighter. But when his family moved to the United States his dreams turned to Hollywood and his name changed from Luis Antonio Dámaso de Alonso to Gilbert Roland, an homage to his favorite performers: John Gilbert and Ruth Roland. As a handsome young man, Roland established his niche early on as a Latin lover, playing opposite silent screen star Clara Bow in the college-set comedy "The Plastic Age." Many romantic roles followed, as did leading roles in Spanish adaptations of American films. In the 1940s, Roland went from matinee idol to respected actor as he developed the recurring character The Cisco Kid, a heroic but brutal Mexican caballero. The Kid first stepped out in the 1946 action-packed film "The Gay Cavalier." Roland went on to appear in six films as the daring cowboy, his fame rising with each new adventure. In 1953, Roland earned the acclaim he sought when his supporting role in the Vincente Minnelli Hollywood-set romance "The Bad and the Beautiful" garnered him a Golden Globe nod. He'd receive a second nomination in 1964 for his portrayal of Second Lieutenant Scott in the bleak John Ford Western "Cheyenne Autumn." The bold-browed actor worked in film until the early 1980s, appearing in more than 100 movies before his death from cancer at age 88. For his contributions to American cinema, Roland was awarded a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.