Ricardo Cortez

Ricardo Cortez

  • Born on
    • September 19th, 1900
  • Died on
    • April 28th, 1977
Ricardo Cortez (September 19, 1900 – April 28, 1977) was an American film actor who began his career during the silent film era. Born Jacob Krantz in New York City into a Jewish family, he worked on Wall Street in a broker's office and as a boxer before his looks got him into the film business. Hollywood executives changed his name to Cortez to appeal to film-goers as a "Latin lover" to compete with such highly popular actors of the era as Rudolph Valentino, Ramon Novarro and Antonio Moreno. When rumour began to circulate that Cortez was not actually Spanish, the studios tried to pass him off as a different type of Latin, French, before they finally admitted his (supposedly) Viennese origin. Cortez appeared in over 100 films. He played opposite Joan Crawford in Montana Moon in 1930, played Sam Spade in the original The Maltese Falcon in 1931, co-starred with Charles Farrell and Bette Davis in The Big Shakedown and Wonder Bar (with Al Jolson and Dolores del Río) in 1934. He also played Perry Mason in the 1936 film The Case of the Black Cat. Although he began his career playing romantic leads with actresses like Greta Garbo, when sound cinema arrived, his powerful delivery and New York accent made him an ideal villain and conman, and he switched from sex symbol to character actor. Cortez was married to silent film actress Alma Rubens until her death of pneumonia in 1931. When he retired from the film business, Cortez went to work as a stockbroker for Solomon Brothers on New York's Wall Street. He died in New York City in 1977 and was interred at Woodlawn Cemetery in The Bronx. He was the older brother of noted cinematographer Stanley Cortez (born Stanislaus Krantz).

Starring Ricardo Cortez on Plex


Acting (24 Credits)

1958The Last Hurrah as Sam Weinberg
1946The Locket as Andrew 'Drew' Bonner
1940Murder Over New York as George Kirby
1939Mr. Moto's Last Warning as Fabian the Great
1939Charlie Chan in Reno as Dr. Ainsley
1936The Case of the Black Cat as Perry Mason
1936The Walking Dead as Nolan
1935Special Agent as Alexander Carston
1935Frisco Kid as Paul Morra
1934The Man with Two Faces as Ben Weston
1934The Big Shakedown as Dutch Barnes
1934Mandalay as Tony Evans
1934Wonder Bar as Harry
1933The House on 56th Street as Bill Blaine
1933Midnight Mary as Leo Darcy
1933Torch Singer as Tony Cummings
1932The Phantom of Crestwood as Gary Curtis
1932Thirteen Women as Police Sergeant Barry Clive
1932Flesh as Nicky
1931The Maltese Falcon as Sam Spade
1931Ten Cents a Dance as Bradley Carlton
1931Illicit as Price Baines
1930Montana Moon as Jeff
1926Torrent as Don Rafael Brull


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