Family & Companions
This 'Latin lover' of the 1920s was actually Austrian-born and Brooklyn-raised. After working as a runner on Wall Street, Cortez broke into films, signing with Paramount and debuting with "The Call of the Canyon" (1923). He went on to appear in dozens of silent films, including "Children of Jazz" (1923), with Gloria Swanson in "A Society Scandal" (1924), D.W. Griffith's superb "The Sorrows of Satan" (1926), alongside Greta Garbo in her American debut, "The Torrent" (1926), and with Lon Chaney in "Mockery" (1927).
Talkies held no terrors for Cortez, whose all-American voice recorded well. Out of necessity his image shifted somewhat to that of a fast-talking, streetwise New Yorker, sometimes likable, sometimes caddish, but he went on to make scores of films in the 1930s and 40s, first as a romantic lead and later as a character actor. Among his later credits were "Montana Moon" (1930), opposite Joan Crawford, the remarkably good first screen version of "The Maltese Falcon" (1931), the bizarre melodrama "Thirteen Women" (1932), the all-star musical "Wonder Bar" (1934), "Charlie Chan in Reno" (1939), and "The Last Hurrah" (1958). After retiring, Cortez took up his long-abandoned Wall Street career, joining the firm of David Greene & Company.
Director (Feature Film)
Cast (Feature Film)
Made film debut in "The Call of the Canyon"
Film directing debut
Retired from films