Leo Carrillo

Leo Carrillo
Born Leopoldo Antonio Carrillo
(1880-08-06)August 6, 1880
Los Angeles, California, U.S.
Died September 10, 1961(1961-09-10) (aged 81)
Santa Monica, California, U.S.
Resting place Woodlawn Memorial Cemetery in Santa Monica
Years active 1915-1957
Political party Republican
Spouse(s) Edith Haeselbarth (1913-1953) (her death) 1 child
Leo Carillo unveils portrait of his great-uncle José Antonio Carrillo, 1955

Leopoldo Antonio Carrillo Spanish pronunciation: [Cay-reel-yo][lower-alpha 1] (August 6, 1880 – September 10, 1961), was an American actor, vaudevillian, political cartoonist, and conservationist.[2]


Family roots

Although he played many different ethnicities in his acting career, Leo Carrillo was Castillian Spanish and traced his ancestry in Spain to the year 1260.[1] His great-great grandfather José Raimundo Carrillo[3] (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.[4][5] His great-grandfather Carlos Antonio Carrillo[3][6] (1783–1852) was Governor of Alta California[7] (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.[8] His paternal grandfather, Pedro Carrillo, who was educated in Boston,[9] was a writer.

Early history

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[10] and later the first mayor.[11] His cousin was Broadway star William Gaxton (real name Arturo Antonio Gaxiola). Proud of his heritage, Carrillo wrote a book, The California I Love, published shortly before his death in 1961.[12]


A university graduate, Carrillo worked as a newspaper cartoonist for the San Francisco Examiner before turning to acting on Broadway. In Hollywood, he appeared in more than 90 films, including The Gay Desperado (1936), in which he usually played supporting or character roles.

However, he is best remembered from the television series The Cisco Kid, on which, beginning at the age of seventy, he portrayed the sidekick Pancho, a role that he had previously played in several films. Duncan Renaldo (1904–1980) starred as The Cisco Kid. The popular syndicated series ran from 1950 until 1956, notable as the first TV series filmed in color.[13] After The Cisco Kid ended production, Carrillo appeared in the episode "Rescue at Sea" of the syndicated military drama, Men of Annapolis.

Civic contributions

A preservationist and conservationist, Carrillo served on the California Beach and Parks commission for eighteen years[2] 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 was eventually made a goodwill ambassador by the California Governor at the time.

As a result of his service to California, west of Malibu on CA-1 Pacific Coast Highway, a 1.5 mile beach is named Leo Carrillo State Park in his honor. (Fittingly, this beach named for an actor appears in many movie and TV productions due to its dramatic cliffs, rocks and cave.) 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.[14] Rancho Carrillo Trail, also in Carlsbad, is named for Leo Carrillo.[15]

Carrillo was a Republican. In 1944, for instance, he performed a "Wild West" act at the massive rally organized by David O. Selznick in the Los Angeles Coliseum in support of the Dewey-Bricker ticket as well as Governor Earl Warren of California, who would become Dewey's running mate in 1948 and later the Chief Justice of the United States. The gathering drew 93,000, with Cecil B. DeMille as the master of ceremonies and with short speeches by Hedda Hopper and Walt Disney. Among the others in attendance were Ann Sothern, Ginger Rogers, Randolph Scott, Adolphe Menjou, Gary Cooper, Eddy Arnold, William Bendix, and Walter Pidgeon.[16]

Personal life

In 1913, Carrillo married Edith Shakespeare Haeselbarth,[17] 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" ("The Sycamores") 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. Carrillo frequently permitted Boy Scout groups to camp on the grounds.[18][19]


Leo Carillo Grave at Woodlawn Memorial Cemetery, Santa Monica

Leo Carrillo died of cancer in 1961 at the age of eighty-one and is interred at Santa Monica's Woodlawn Memorial Cemetery.


For his contribution to the motion picture industry, Leo Carrillo has one star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame at 1635 Vine Street, and another on the 1500 block for his work in television.[18]


See also



  1. Carrillo's autobiography phonetically spelled what his family considered the correct Castilian pronunciation: "The name is pronounced "Cay-reel-yo"' with a liquid Castilian double "l". It is not pronounced "Care-reeyo" with the "y" for double "l" as in Mexico. The Mexican adaptation of Spanish is a beautiful variation in itself, but we of Castilian lineage prefer the original liquid sound for the double "l". It is part of our heritage."[1]


  1. 1 2 Carrillo 1961, p. 15.
  2. 1 2 "Leo Carrillo SP State Park". www.parks.ca.gov. Retrieved 2010-04-16.
  3. 1 2 "José Raimundo Carrillo (1749-1809)". sandiegohistory.org. Retrieved 2010-04-16.
  4. Carrillo 1961, p. 17.
  5. "Leo Carrillo biography". Leocarrillo.net. Retrieved 2012-04-03.
  6. "PIO PICO GENEALOGY DATABASE". www.piopico.org. Retrieved 2010-04-16.
  7. Carrillo 1961, pp. 60, 106.
  8. Carrillo 1961, p. 16.
  9. Carrillo 1961, p. 115.
  10. Carrillo 1961, p. 39.
  11. "Santa Monica". www.worldvisitguide.com. Retrieved 2010-04-16.
  12. "Leo Carrillo The California I Love". film.virtual-history.com. Retrieved 2010-04-16.
  13. Billboard, 24 Sep 1949. Page 47.
  14. "Leo Carrillo Ranch Historic Park". Leocarrilloranch.org. 2011-08-26. Retrieved 2012-04-03.
  15. Rancho Carrillo Trail Retrieved 2012-03-30.
  16. David M. Jordan, FDR, Dewey, and the Election of 1944 (Bloomington and Indianapolis: Indiana University Press, 2011), p. 231
  17. "Edith Shakespear Haeselbafrth". Find a Grave. Retrieved 11 August 2014.
  18. 1 2 "Hollywood Star Walk Leo Carrillo". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2012-03-30.
  19. Williams, Whitney (November 25, 1934). "A Son of the Dons". Oakland, CA: Oakland Tribune. p. 61. Retrieved July 25, 2016 via Newspapers.com. (subscription required (help)).


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