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Duncan Renaldo

Real name:
Renault Renaldo Duncan

Born - April 23, 1904 in Romania or Spain or New Jersey or ?

Death - September 3, 1980, Goleta, California

(Courtesy of Jack Tillmany)

Special thanks to guest commentator Paul Dellinger for authoring the following narrative and background info on Duncan Renaldo.

The life of Duncan Renaldo would have made a pretty good movie without any fictionalizing. Despite the official birthdate and birthplace listed above, Renaldo told some interviewers that he actually did not know when or in what country he was born. The confusion led to his arrest at one time for being in the United States illegally, and an eventual pardon by no less than President Franklin D. Roosevelt.

Although he had an extensive film career, Renaldo would wind up being best remembered --- like Clayton Moore, Kirby Grant and others who moved from the big screen to the small one --- for his television series, THE CISCO KID. It was a role he had also played in movies, although others had preceded him. Renaldo told interviewer Jon Tuska that he was working as a stoker aboard a Brazilian ship when he entered the United States on a 90-day seaman's permit in the early 1920s. The ship reportedly burned, stranding him. He tried working as a portrait painter but began producing short films and soon found himself appearing in movies. His first was something called CLOTHES MAKE THE WOMAN in 1928. His first appearance in a western was PALS OF THE PRARIE in 1929. His most prominent early roles were in THE BRIDGE OF SAN LUIS REY (1929) and TRADER HORN (1931) filmed largely on location in Africa, and starring another early western actor, Harry Carey.

He was arrested in 1934 for being in the country illegally and spent about a year in prison. His rescuer, according to the definitive book on the Cisco Kid (The Films Of The Cisco Kid by Francis M. Nevins, World of Yesterday Publications, 1998), was Republic Studios head Herbert J. Yates who signed Renaldo to a seven-year contract in 1937. He got a presidential pardon for any charges of illegal entry.

(From Old Corral collection)

Above and below are Duncan Renaldo, Victor Daniels (Chief Thunder Cloud) and Bob Livingston in a lobby card and still from the cliffhanger, THE LONE RANGER RIDES AGAIN (Republic, 1939).

(From Old Corral image collection)

He had a prominent role as a bandit leader in the 1937 Republic serial THE PAINTED STALLION and played the faithful servant (named 'Renaldo') to John Carroll's Zorro in another serial that year, ZORRO RIDES AGAIN. He moved higher in serial casting for THE LONE RANGER RIDES AGAIN (1939), as 'Juan Vasquez', who joins Robert Livingston (as the Lone Ranger) and Chief Thunder Cloud (as Tonto) in an early version of a trio of heroes along the lines of the Three Mesquiteers.

Republic's Three Mesquiteers series was revamped for 1939 and 1940, retaining Livingston in the role he originated years earlier as 'Stony' (John Wayne also stepped into it for a while) but changed the other characters' names from 'Lullaby' to 'Rusty', and 'Tucson' to 'Rico'. Those roles were handled, respectively, by Raymond Hatton and Renaldo, until the series was revamped again. Renaldo joined the series with THE KANSAS TERRORS in 1939. He also appeared down in the cast in one of its next revampings, GAUCHOS OF EL DORADO (1941), when Bob Steele, Tom Tyler and Rufe Davis had taken over the Mesquiteer roles. He was featured in a John Carroll western, ROSE OF THE RIO GRANDE (1938); with Roy Rogers in ROUGH RIDERS ROUNDUP (1939) and HANDS ACROSS THE BORDER (1943, an early version of how Roy got Trigger); and in some Gene Autry pictures - he has a minor role in DOWN MEXICO WAY (1941), but gets more dialog and screen time in SOUTH OF THE BORDER (1939) (as a hot-blooded and ultimately doomed revolutionary), and as the jovial owner of a cantina (where Gene sings) in GAUCHO SERENADE (1940).

(From Old Corral image collection)

Above is the Three Mesquiteers team for the 1939-1940 release season: L-to-R are Raymond Hatton (as Rusty Joslin and ridin' his trusty mule 'Dinah'), Bob Livingston (as Stony Brooke) and Duncan Renaldo (as Rico, Rico Rinaldo, Renaldo).

Renaldo was a member of Republic's Three Mesquiteers in seven films:

Below is the title lobby card and matching still of Renaldo, Livingston and Hatton from COWBOYS FROM TEXAS (1939).

(Courtesy of Les Adams)

(From Old Corral image collection)

In 1941, he joined football star Sammy Baugh in the KING OF THE TEXAS RANGERS serial, his role as the Mexican 'Lt. Pedro Garcia' being almost as prominent as Baugh's 'Ranger Tom King' in this actionful story of modern enemy saboteurs in the Texas oil fields.

But in Allan Lane's KING OF THE MOUNTIES serial in 1942, he was down in the cast as a henchman for one of the saboteurs trying to pave the way for an Axis invasion of Canada in World War II. Although he usually played Mexicans, Renaldo could play other nationalities (here he is 'Pierre' but he plays Italians and Russians as well as Frenchmen or Spaniards). He moved to the side of good once more as 'Capt. Pierre LaSalle' in support of Rod Cameron's 'Rex Bennett' in the 1943 serial SECRET SERVICE IN DARKEST AFRICA. He also slipped over to United Artists in 1943 to appear in BORDER PATROL, a Hopalong Cassidy outing. But a more prestigious outing that year was his appearance with Gary Cooper and Ingrid Bergman in Ernest Hemingway's FOR WHOM THE BELLS TOLL.

His final serial was as the secondary hero again, reuniting him with Lane for THE TIGER WOMAN (1944) with a model named Linda Stirling in the title role. Also in 1944, he supported Lane and Stirling again in SHERIFF OF SUNDOWN (1944), turning the Lane series for one picture almost into a trio western with Lane, Renaldo and Max Terhune as the good guys. He also played a hired gunman who changes sides in the title role of THE SAN ANTONIO KID opposite Bill Elliott as Red Ryder, and joined John Wayne for THE FIGHTING SEABEES in 1944.

(From Old Corral image collection)

Above, football great 'Slinging' Sammy Baugh comes to the aid of Duncan Renaldo in one of Republic's best cliffhangers, KING OF THE TEXAS RANGERS (Republic, 1941). Does the gunbelt on Renaldo look familiar? Lee Powell and Bob Livingston wore that gunbelt - with two holsters and a pair of six-shooters - in Republic's two Lone Ranger serials.

(Courtesy of Les Adams)

Above is a duotone lobby card - and a crop/blowup - from Chapter 5 of KING OF THE TEXAS RANGERS. From L-to-R are Kermit Maynard, Sammy Baugh, Duncan Renaldo, Howard Hughes and Joseph Forte (in the suit).

(From Old Corral image collection)

Above from left to right are Earle Hodgins, Bobby Blake (as Little Beaver) and Bill Elliott (as Red Ryder) tending to Duncan Renaldo in THE SAN ANTONIO KID (Republic, 1944).

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