#DePelicula Spotlight: Pedro Gonzalez Gonzalez

There is never a time when I see Pedro Gonzalez Gonzalez appear in a movie and I’m not smiling from ear to ear.  A life-long entertainer, Pedro was Born Ramiro Gonzalez Gonzalez on May 24, 1925 in Aguilares, Texas.  He was one of nine children born to a Spanish dancer and a Mexican American trumpet player from Texas.  For those of you who are not aware Pedro Gonzalez Gonzalez has a double last name because many Latin American cultures use both the last name of a person’s father and the last name of the mother.  In Pedro’s case both his mother and his father had Gonzalez as their last name before they were married.

Pedro

Actor Edward James Olmos said of Pedro Gonzalez-Gonzalez at the time of his death that he “inspired every Latino actor.”  Perhaps many find Pedro’s characterizations stereotypical, but to Pedro they were jobs and he was a working man.  I’ll add that as all great character actors do he makes an impression in every single movie or TV show you see him in.

Gonzalez Gonzalez began performing when he was 7 when his parents pulled him out of school to entertain migrant workers with the rest of the family.  Pedro never learned to read and write and would memorize his roles with the help of his wife.

Pedro got his big break in show business in a unique way.  In 1953 he appeared as a contestant on “You Bet Your Life” with Groucho Marx.  Here’s that hilarious appearance and I dare you not to laugh:

The entertaining banter between Gonzalez Gonzalez and Groucho was seen by John Wayne who was so impressed he signed Pedro to a seven-year contract.  In the final analysis Gonzalez Gonzalez’s resume is quite impressive with a long list of credits in both film and television and in several genres in which he reliably supplies comic relief.  Pedro made seven movies with John Wayne with my personal favorite being Howard Hawks’ Rio Bravo, which is his most famous role.

With Wayne in Rio Bravo
With Wayne in Rio Bravo

Pedro’s brother, Jose Gonzalez Gonzalez also had a long list of movie and TV credits to his name.

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