Chris-Pin Martin in American Empire (1942)
Ysabel Ponciana Chris-Pin Martin Paiz
November 19, 1893
|Died||June 27, 1953 (aged 59)|
Chris-Pin Martin (born Ysabel Ponciana Chris-Pin Martin Paiz, November 19, 1893 – June 27, 1953) was an American character actor whose specialty lay in portraying comical Mexicans, particularly sidekicks in The Cisco Kid film series. He acted in over 100 films between 1925 and 1953, including over 50 westerns.
Martin was born in Tucson, Arizona. His roles were as a rotund, roly-poly bumbling or slow comedic character who spoke in broken English. His most remembered western film role was in nine of the Cisco Kid films playing the Kid's sidekicks Gordito and in the later films Pancho. He also appeared in the John Ford classic Stagecoach (1939) with John Wayne. He was credited in his films by other names, including Chrispin Martin, Chris King Martin, Chris Martin, Cris-Pin Martin, and Ethier Crispin Martini.
Martin was adept in both drama and comedy, in films like the melodramatic The Ox-Bow Incident (1943) as "Poncho" the Mexican who reluctantly becomes a part of the lynch mob of three hastily accused killers (Dana Andrews, Anthony Quinn, and Francis Ford). It is Martin who reluctantly becomes Quinn's confessor. His comic sensibilities were best utilized in light fare, as in A Millionaire for Christy (1951). In this Fred MacMurray comedy, Martin plays a brief but memorable role as "Manolo", a Mexican who knows no English, whom MacMurray enlists to help pull his stranded car out of the beach, along with Martin's non-English speaking crew. His animated performance with MacMurray proves Martin to be every bit the entertaining supporting actor, stealing many of his scenes.
Less than five months before his 60th birthday, Martin died of a heart attack while addressing a Moose lodge meeting in the Los Angeles suburb of Montebello. He is buried at the Odd Fellows Cemetery on Whittier Blvd, in East Los Angeles.
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