Leo Carillo

Leopoldo Antonio Carrillo (1880 – 1961), known professionally as Leo Carrillo, was an American actor, vaudevillianpolitical cartoonist, and conservationist. He was best known for playing Pancho in the popular television series The Cisco Kid (1950–1956) and in several films.

Leo Carrillo was a member of the Carrillo family of California, a prominent Californio family, and traced his ancestry through California, Mexico, and Spain to the year 1260.  His great-great grandfather José Raimundo Carrillo  (1749–1809), was a soldier in the Spanish Portolá expedition colonization of Las Californias, arriving in San Diego on July 1, 1769. Franciscan Friar Junípero Serra performed the marriage ceremony for Don Jose Raimundo and Tomasa Ignacia Lugo in 1781. His great-grandfather Carlos Antonio Carrillo [7](1783–1852) was governor of Alta California[8] (1837–38). His great-uncle, José Antonio Carrillo, was a three-time mayor of Los Angeles and twice married to sisters of Governor Pío Pico.  His paternal grandfather, Pedro Carrillo, who was educated in Boston,  was a writer.

The family moved from San Diego to Los Angeles then to Santa Monica, where Carrillo’s father Juan José Carrillo (1842–1916), served as the city’s police chief and later the first mayor. His cousin was Broadway star William Gaxton (real name Arturo Antonio Gaxiola). Proud of his heritage, Carrillo wrote the book The California I Love, published shortly before his death in 1961.

A university graduate, Carrillo worked as a newspaper cartoonist for the San Francisco Examiner, then turned to acting on Broadway. In Hollywood, he appeared in more than 90 films, often as a dialect specialist — although in real life, he had a baritone speaking voice without a trace of an accent. He usually used the dialect for comic effect, liberally salting his speech with malaprops: “My ears, they are para-loused!” or “Why you wanna put your dirty face in my horse’s water? I got a healthy horse and you put Germans in the water!” When his screen character left any scene, Carrillo always exclaimed, “Let’s went!”

Leo Carrillo could play sympathetic and villainous roles with equal skill. In 1951 he took the starring role in the feature film Pancho Villa Returns, which was filmed in both English-dialogue and Spanish-dialogue versions. However, he is best remembered as Pancho, good-natured sidekick of The Cisco Kid, opposite Duncan Renaldo as Cisco. Renaldo and Carrillo were teamed for a series of feature films in 1949, and then for a syndicated television series that ran from 1950 until 1956. The Cisco Kid was notable as the first TV series filmed in color. After The Cisco Kid ended production, Carrillo appeared in the episode “Rescue at Sea” of the syndicated military drama Men of Annapolis.

Carrillo was a preservationist and conservationist of long standing. When a film crew did location filming in Hilo, Hawaii in 1933, the city named one of its stately banyan trees in Carrillo’s honor; the “Leo Carrillo tree” still stands there today.

Leo Carrillo served on the California Beach and Parks commission for 18 years and played a key role in the state’s acquisition of Hearst Castle at San Simeon, Los Angeles Arboretum, and Anza-Borrego Desert State Park. He eventually was made a goodwill ambassador by the California governor at the time.

As a result of his service to California, west of Malibu, California on CA-1 Pacific Coast Highway, a 1.5-mile beach is named Leo Carrillo State Park in his honor. The City of Westminster, California named an elementary school for him. Leo Carrillo Ranch Historic Park, originally Rancho de los Kiotes, in Carlsbad, California, is a registered California Historical Site.[15] Rancho Carrillo Trail, also in Carlsbad, is named for Leo Carrillo.

In 1913, Carrillo married Edith Shakespeare Haeselbarth of Nyack, New York, whom he met backstage at the New York City theater where she had seen him perform. They remained together until her death in 1953. They lived in Los Alisos on Channel Road, in Santa Monica Canyon. The Carrillos had one child, a daughter, Marie Antoinette. They spent part of their time at their 4,500-acre (1,800 ha) ranch in Carlsbad, California. Carrillo frequently permitted Boy Scout groups to camp on the grounds.

For his contributions to the film industry, Leo Carrillo has a motion pictures star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame at 1635 Vine Street, and a second star at 1517 Vine Street for his work in television

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