Cesar Julio Romero Jr. (February 15, 1907 - January 1, 1994) was an American actor, singer, dancer, and vocal artist. He was active in film, radio, and television for almost 60 years.
His wide range of screen roles included Latin lovers, historical figures in costume dramas, characters in light domestic comedies, and the Joker on the Batman television series, which was included in TV Guide's 2013 list of The 60 Nastiest Villains of All Time.
Romero as part of the deck crew aboard the USS Cavalier, c. 1944
Cesar Julio Romero Jr. was born in New York City on February 15, 1907, the son of Cesar Julio Romero Sr. and Maria Mantilla. His mother was said to be the biological daughter of Cuban national hero José Martí. His father was born in Barcelona, Spain and immigrated to the United States in 1888, where he was an import/export merchant. His mother was a concert singer.
In 1960, he was cast as Ricky Valenti in "Crime of Passion" from Pete and Gladys. In 1965, Romero played the head of THRUSH in France in "The Never Never Affair" from The Man from U.N.C.L.E.
From 1966 to 1968, he portrayed the Joker on Batman. He refused to shave his moustache for the role, and so the supervillain's white face makeup was simply smeared over it throughout the series' run and in the 1966 film.
His guest star work in the 1970s included a recurring role on the western comedy Alias Smith and Jones as Señor Armendariz, a Mexican rancher feuding with Patrick McCreedy (Burl Ives), the owner of a ranch on the opposite side of the border. He appeared in three episodes. Romero later portrayed Peter Stavros on Falcon Crest (from 1985 to 1987). He also appeared in a sixth-season episode of The Golden Girls, where he played a suitor named Tony Delvecchio for Sophia. Apart from these television roles, Romero appeared as A.J. Arno, a small-time criminal who continually opposes Dexter Riley (played by Kurt Russell) and his schoolmates of Medfield College in a series of films by Walt Disney Productions in the 1970s.
The Senate race was a heated contest where Salinger had already narrowly defeated then-California State ControllerAlan Cranston, who would become a senator in 1968, in the Democratic primary. Both men had "primaried" Senator Clair Engle, who had sought re-nomination despite being terminally ill with a brain tumor; Engle died less than two months after the primary. Then-Democratic Governor Pat Brown appointed Salinger instead of Cranston to fill the vacancy; although the appointment seemed reasonable since Salinger had won the primary, it was roundly criticized by Romero and Murphy as cronyism since Salinger had been the White House press secretary for the late President John F. Kennedy, a close ally of Brown. Romero appealed to disappointed Cranston backers after the primary to support Murphy. Romero's urging helped Salinger lose a race no one thought could be lost.
Murphy lost the full use of his voice during his term when part of his larynx was removed due to throat cancer. Romero employed other Hollywood stars to try to help Murphy win re-election in 1970. However, Murphy lost re-election to John V. Tunney, the son of boxing legend Gene Tunney.
After Murphy's Senate defeat, Romero scaled back his involvement in politics but would take part for a Hollywood friend, such as Ronald Reagan in his successful gubernatorial bids in 1966 and 1970 as well as all four of his presidential bids in 1968, 1976, 1980, and 1984. Romero also joined with fellow actors and actresses in lobbying the United States Congress to present the then-dying John Wayne with a Congressional Gold Medal for his service to the nation.
Romero never married and had no children, but made frequent appearances at Hollywood events escorting actresses, such as Joan Crawford, Linda Darnell, Barbara Stanwyck, Lucille Ball, Ann Sheridan, Jane Wyman and Ginger Rogers; he was almost always described in interviews and articles as a "confirmed bachelor".
Many Hollywood historians and biographers have speculated on Romero being closeted about his sexuality.
Author Boze Hadleigh included a series of claimed interviews with Romero in Hadleigh's 1996 book Hollywood Gays in which Romero allegedly came out; many of the claimed interviews in Hollywood Gays have come into dispute as possible forgeries, and Romero died two years before the book was released.
For his contributions to the motion picture and television industry, Romero has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame at 6615 Hollywood Boulevard for film and another star at
1719 Vine Street for television.
^Year: 1910; Census Place: Manhattan Ward 12, New York, New York; Roll: T624_1023; Page: 3B; Enumeration District: 0593; FHL microfilm: 1375036
^National Archives and Records Administration (NARA); Washington D.C.; NARA Series: Passport Applications, January 2, 1906 - March 31, 1925; Roll #: 453; Volume #: Roll 0453 - Certificates: 1250-1499, 11 Jan 1918-14 Jan 1918
^Voger, Mark. "'Batman' TV cast on the creation of a camp classic", NJ.com, November 8, 2014; retrieved November 15, 2014. "CESAR ROMERO - The actor who created the role of the Joker lived in Bradley Beach as a child, and attended Bradley Beach Elementary School and Asbury Park High School."