Pedro Armendáriz

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Pedro Armendáriz
File:Kerim Bey by Pedro Armendariz.jpg
Armendáriz as Kerim Bey in From Russia with Love.
Born Pedro Gregorio Armendáriz Hastings
(1912-05-09)May 9, 1912
Mexico City, Distrito Federal, Mexico
Died June 18, 1963(1963-06-18) (aged 51)
Los Angeles, California, U.S.
Cause of death suicide
Resting place Panteón Jardín, Mexico City
Years active 1935–1963
Spouse(s) Carmelita Bohr (m. 1938–1963) (his death) (1917-1963)
Children Pedro Armendáriz, Jr.

Pedro Armendáriz, born Pedro Gregorio Armendáriz Hastings (May 9, 1912 – June 18, 1963), was a Mexican film actor who made films in both Mexico and the United States. With Dolores del Río and María Félix, he was one of the most well-known Latin American movie stars of the 1940s and 1950s.

Early life

Armendáriz was born in Mexico City, Distrito Federal, Mexico to Pedro Armendáriz García-Conde (Mexican) and Adela Hastings (American). He was also the cousin of actress Gloria Marín. Armendáriz and his younger brother Francisco lived with their uncle Henry Hastings, Sr. in Laredo, Texas after their mother died. He later studied in California. He started in the world of acting by participating in the stage plays performed by the theater group at the University of California, where he continued a career in law. He graduated with an engineering degree from the California Polytechnic State University.


Armendáriz with Harry Carey Jr. and John Wayne in 3 Godfathers in 1949.

When Armendáriz finished his studies, he moved to Mexico where he worked for the railroad, as a tour guide and as a journalist for the bilingual magazine México Real. He was discovered by film director Miguel Zacarías when Armendáriz recited a soliloquy from Hamlet to an American tourist. His meeting with the director Emilio Fernández, was providential. Actor and director began working in numerous films: Soy puro Mexicano (1942), Flor silvestre (1942) and specially María Candelaria (1943) were the first films of intense common path. Under the guidance of Emilio Fernández, Pedro Armendariz developed the film personality traits of strong nationalist; often he played tough and manly men, indigenous, peasants and revolutionaries. Amendáriz repeatedly portrayed Pancho Villa and played opposite actresses such as Dolores del Río and María Félix.

With Dolores del Río, Amendáriz formed one of the most legendary couples of the Mexican cinema. María Candelaria provided Armendáriz with international visibility. The film was awarded the Palm d'Or at the 1946 Cannes Film Festival. Other prominent titles where Armendáriz appeared with Dolores del Rio were Las Abandonadas (1944), Bugambilia (1944) and La Malquerida (1949). Maria Felix was his other partner in such films as Enamorada (1946) or Maclovia (1948).[1]

In the late 40's, he made the jump to Hollywood by the hand of John Ford. Armendáriz was a favorite of Ford, appearing in three of his films: The Fugitive (1947), Fort Apache and 3 Godfathers (both 1948).

Armendáriz with Lana Turner in Diane in 1956.

Besides his career in the Mexican Cinema, Armendariz made a remarkable career in Hollywood and Europe. His other prominent films in Hollywood were: We Were Strangers (1949, directed by John Huston), The Torch (1950), Border River (1954), The Conqueror (1956) and Diane (1956), among others. In Europe, highlighted his participation in the film Lucrèce Borgia (1953), filmed in France. In Mexico, his participation highlighted such notable films such as El bruto (1953, directed by Luis Buñuel), La Cucaracha (1959) and La Bandida (1962).

Armendáriz's last appearance was in the second James Bond film, From Russia with Love (1963) as Bond's ally, Kerim Bey. Armendáriz was terminally ill with cancer during the filming of From Russia with Love, and towards the end of shooting he was too ill to perform his part; his final scenes were performed by his double, director Terence Young.[2]

Personal life

Armendáriz was married to actress Carmelita Bohr (née Pardo). He had one son, Pedro Armendáriz, Jr., who was also an actor and appeared in the James Bond film Licence to Kill in 1989, and a daughter, Carmen Armendariz, a TV producer.

Later life and death

In 1956, Armendáriz had a role in the film The Conqueror produced by Howard Hughes. This movie was filmed in the state of Utah during the time when the US government ran nuclear tests in the neighboring state of Nevada. Ninety-one of the 220 people involved in the production of the film contracted cancer within 25 years, and 46 of these died as a consequence of this illness. In rebuttal, Pilar Wayne (John Wayne's widow) later wrote in her autobiography that she did not believe radiation was involved in the deaths of those associated with this film. She claimed she had visited the set many times as had others and did not become sick. Wayne said she believed the real cause of death of her husband and the others was solely due to smoking.

Armendáriz began to suffer pain in his hips and years later it was discovered that he had cancer in this region. He learned his condition was terminal while at UCLA Medical Center in Los Angeles, California. He reportedly acted in From Russia with Love while enduring great pain (he visibly limps in most scenes) in order to leave behind financial resources for his family after his impending death. On June 18, 1963, Armendáriz shot himself in the chest with a gun he had smuggled into the hospital. He was buried in Panteón Jardín, Mexico City, Mexico.



Year Film Role Other notes
1947 The Fugitive A lieutenant of police aka El Fugitivo (Mexico)
1948 Fort Apache Sgt. Beaufort as Pedro Armendáriz
3 Godfathers Pedro "Pete' Roca Fuerte as Pedro Armendáriz
1949 Tulsa Jim Redbird
We Were Strangers Armando Ariete
1950 The Torch José Juan Reyes aka Del odio nace el amor (Mexico)
1954 Border River General Eduardo Calleja
1956 The Littlest Outlaw Gen. Torres
1956 The Conqueror Jamuga as Pedro Armendáriz
Diane Francis I
1957 The Big Boodle Col. Mastegui as Pedro Armendáriz
1959 The Wonderful Country Cipriano Castro
Little Savage El Tiburón
1961 Francis of Assisi The Sultan
1963 Captain Sindbad El Kerim as Pedro Armendáriz
From Russia with Love Ali Kerim Bey as Pedro Armendariz; his last film

Mexican cinema


  • García, Gustavo (1997). Pedro Armendáriz. Clío. ISBN 968-6932-96-8.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>


External links