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Ricardo Cortez Poster

Biography

Jump to: Overview (5)  | Mini Bio (1)  | Spouse (3)  | Trivia (4)  | Salary (1)

Overview (5)

Born in New York City, New York, USA
Died in New York City, New York, USA
Birth NameJacob Krantz
Nickname Jack Crane
Height 6' 1" (1.85 m)

Mini Bio (1)

Ricardo Cortez was born Jacob Krantz in New York City, New York, the son of Sarah (Lefkowitz) and Moses/Morris Krantz, Austrian Jewish immigrants who moved to New York just before he was born. His brother was cinematographer Stanley Cortez, who also changed his surname. Cortez worked a number of jobs while he trained as an actor. When Jacob he arrived in Hollywood to work in movies in 1922, the Rudolph Valentino craze was in full bloom. Never shy about changing a name and a background, the studio transformed Jacob Krantz into "Latin Lover" Ricardo Cortez from Spain. Such was life in Hollywood.

Starting with small parts, the tall and dark Cortez was being groomed by Paramount to be the successor to Valentino, but Cortez would never be viewed (or consider himself) as the equal to the late sex symbol. A popular star, he was saddled in a number of run-of-the-mill romantic movies that would depend more on his looks than on the script--pictures such as Argentine Love (1924) and The Cat's Pajamas (1926) did little to extend his range as an actor. He did show that he had some range with his role in Pony Express (1924), but roles like that were few and far between.

Cortez' career, unlike some other silent-screen stars, survived the advent of sound, and he would play Sam Spade in The Maltese Falcon (1931) (aka "Dangerous Female"). Never a great actor, Cortez was cast as the smirking womanizer in a number of films and would soon slide down into "B" movies. He played a newspaper columnist in Is My Face Red? (1932), a home wrecker in A Lost Lady (1934), a killer in Man Hunt (1936) and even Perry Mason in The Case of the Black Cat (1936).

After 1936 Cortez hit a dry patch as far as acting work was concerned and tried his hand at directing. His career as a director ended after a half-dozen movies and his screen career soon followed. He retired from the screen and returned to Wall Street, where he had worked as a runner decades before. This time he returned as a member of one of Wall Street's top brokerage firms and lived a comfortable life.

- IMDb Mini Biography By: Tony Fontana <tony.fontana@spacebbs.com>

Spouse (3)

Christine Coniff Lee (8 January 1934 - 14 June 1940) ( divorced)
Alma Rubens (30 January 1926 - 22 January 1931) ( her death)
Margaret Belle (? - 28 April 1977) ( his death)

Trivia (4)

Brother of cinematographer Stanley Cortez.
Arrived in Hollywood with Norman Kerry and used his business acumen to arrange a Universal Studios contract for his actor friend.
Jesse L. Lasky was impressed by his dancing and his resemblance to Rudolph Valentino when he saw him in his nightclub routine in 1922 and signed him as a rival/replacement for the increasingly demanding and difficult Valentino. One of Lasky's secretaries suggested the screen name of Ricardo Cortez.
He was born in New York City, to Austrian Jewish parents, Sarah (Lefkowitz) and Moses or Morris Krantz, who married in New York on October 8, 1899. His paternal grandparents were Jacob Krantz and Annie Schluosselfeld. His maternal grandparents were Samuel Lefkowitz and Rosa Schwartz.

Salary (1)

The Imp (1919) $90

See also

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