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Biography
Mexico-born Gilbert Roland planned to become a bullfighter like his father, but these plans were shelved when his family moved to the U.S. during the Mexican Revolution. Roland began getting film work as an extra in 1918 in such productions as Cecil B. DeMille's Joan the Woman. In the 1920s, Roland befriended superstar Rudolph Valentino, who helped open several professional doors for the young aspiring actor. Roland's first important film role was Armand in Norma Talmadge's 1926 adaptation of Camille. In talkies, Roland was often consigned to traditional Latin Lover parts, though his athletic prowess and sense of comedy enabled him to expand his range. In the 1940s, Roland became the first and only genuine Mexican to portray the Cisco Kid onscreen, essaying the role in 11 films. A born-and-bred romantic (his first wife was the glamorous film queen Constance Bennett), Roland wrote and published reams of poetry, some of which he was able to incorporate into his film dialogue. Gilbert Roland remained active in films until 1982, exuding warmth and virility to the very end.

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