February 15, 1907 ~ January 1, 1994
Are you wondering WHY I picked this guy to write about? Well, Karo and I were talking about the 'Batman' series on TV in the 1960's, and some of the cast on that series, and Cesar Romero's name came up. I just couldn't imagine this 'suave' gentleman as that NASTY villain, could you? I watched the 'Batman' TV series, and just didn't realize it was him...guess I was focusing too much on the handsome Batman himself, Adam West, haha!
Well, having been born in New York, this Latin lover began as a dancer, later progressing into films.
Here, Romero is dancing with Carmen Miranda in the 1941 film~
'Weekend in Havana'
And again, with Betty Grable, dancing 'The Swing' in 1942
'Springtime In The Rockies'
From a career that started in nightclubs, ballroom dancing, and on to Broadway, Mr. Romero danced his way into Hollywood films, bringing him fame and wealth enough to care for his family. Cesar Romero was born to an Italian father and Cuban mother in New York. They were wealthy importers of sugar, and Cesar attended the best schools. His parents lost their business and prosperity as a result of the devastating stock market crash in 1929. Of this situation, Cesar said, "If my father's business hadn't gone broke, I'd be exporting nuts, bolts and sugar machinery. What an awful thought! I was free to choose my own career."
Cesar Romero deemed himself "Latin from Manhattan", and, for the most part, was cast accordingly. Steming from his 'latinesse', he could take on versatile roles...Italian gangster, an Indian prince, and appeared as 'The Cisco Kid' in six westerns between 1939 and 1941. He was Don Diego's uncle in 'Zorro', and, I think he played Freddie Prinze's dad in 'Chico and The Man'. In one 'Thin Man' episode, he played the part of a gigolo, and he was forever dubbed as the most eligible bachelor, stating right before his death that he had no regrets over his confirmed bachelorhood.
Moving right along...how are all my blogmates doing, now that the New Year is in full swing?
By the time Cesar Romero was 50 years old, he had enough wealth to retire, but chose not to. His family had moved to California and he was able to take care of them. But he could not shake the acting bug, no matter how big or small the roles were.
"Can somebody tell me, what kind of a world do we live in,
where a man dressed as a bat gets all of my press?
This town needs an enema!"
In 1966 the producer of the new 'Batman' series, based on the comic book series from Detective Comics in 1939, called 58 year old Cesar Romero. They had done the first two shows of the series, and were anticipating taping of the 3rd show. The producer told Cesar that the show was really based on the villains, and they needed a new villain for the 3rd show, who would be called 'The Joker'. He, then told Mr. Romero, "I would like you to play the part." Cesar went to the studio, viewed the first episode, liked it, and said he would read the script. Now, you see, they already had 'The Riddler' and 'The Penguin' (Burgess Meredith-YES!!!)
Anyway, Cesar read the script...he said, "I thought it was a gas, and I said, "Sure, I'll do it!" And, do it, he did! Cesar Romero REALLY became well known for his role as the 'Joker'. "Once you get into costume with the make-up on, and the wig, you change completely and fall right into it," said Romero. "You whooped it on, laughed and screamed...that's all you gotta do!"
Cesar Romero truly enjoyed his role as 'The Joker', however, he refused to do away with his moustache, so, they simply smacked the white makeup over it. Of Cesar's role as 'The Joker', Adam West said, "He brought an enormous amount of energy to the role. His piercing eyes, his laugh. I dunno how he did it, because he wasn't 22!"
Detective Comics ~ 1939 ~ 10¢
The Batman series aired 120 episodes from 1966, ending in 1968. ABC decided they wanted to cut Robin and Chief O'Hara from the show, leaving poor Batman with only Cat Woman as a partner. The producer William Dozier and Adam West were against this change, to save on the budget, so the program was cancelled. NBC offered to pick up another season, however, on discovering that the sets had already been demolished, they declined.
After 'Batman', Cesar Romero moved on to other projects. He made guest appearances on various sitcoms and programs such as 'Bewitched', 'The Golden Girls', 'Chico and The Man', and even played a vampire in Rod Serling's 'Night Gallery'. So, I think he had fun, and, stayed busy until around 1990.
Then, on January 1,1996, at the age of 86, Cesar 'The Joker' Romero passed away.
And, I know, he is missed, first as 'Latin from Manhattan', and, then, as:
"The Clown Prince of Crime"
Two Other Famous Jokers!
'Batman' ~ 1989
'The Dark Knight' ~ 2008
My Thanks Goes out to:
The late Heath Ledger
My dear readers, I thank you especially for coming by and saying hello. I love hearing from you, and I love reading your blogs.
Which brings me to the BONE I have to pick!!!
AND, I MEAN, I'M TICKED!!!
I've had trouble all week leaving messages on some of my favorite blogs...some, I have managed to call up and read, but, alas, cannot comment. I will keep trying...'something's gotta give'!
Have a wonderful week...we're having up and down weather in Texas...cloudy, sunny, cloudy, sunny, cold, warm...on and off with the coats...open and shut with umbrellas, heat off, heat on!
"You know, kids, a lot has changed since your old Uncle Joker's been away.
New Gotham, new rules, even a new Batman.
But now I'm tanned, I'm rested and I'm ready to give this old town a wedgie again!"
From the animated film
'Batman Beyond, The Return of the Joker'
starring Mark Hamill
December 12, 2000