November 5, 1930|
January 3, 2012
Joaquin Martinez (November 5, 1930 – January 3, 2012) was a Mexican-born film, theater and television actor. Often appearing in Westerns, Martinez was perhaps best known for starring roles in the 1972 film, Jeremiah Johnson, in which he played a Crow chief, Paints His Shirt Red, and the 1972 film, Ulzana's Raid, which was directed by Robert Aldrich and starred Burt Lancaster. Martinez was often typecast in roles that stereotyped Latinos, Native Americans, and Mexicans, but he frequently changed and reworked his characters through his acting, sometimes causing tensions with a production's director.
Martinez was born on November 5, 1930, in Cozumel, Mexico. His interest in acting led him to study method acting under Seki Sano. His professional breakthrough came in the 1967 Mexican dramatic film, Pedro Páramo, which was directed by Carlos Velo and premiered at the Cannes Film Festival that same year. He moved to Los Angeles, California, shortly after making Pedro Páramo, where he worked as a professional film, television and stage actor for more than thirty years.
In Jeremiah Johnson, which was set in the American West shortly after the Mexican American War, Martinez's and Robert Redford's characters come into conflict, but come to an understanding and peace in the film's silent, unspoken finale. In addition to Jeremiah Johnson and Ulzana's Raid, both released in 1972, Martinez was cast opposite Anthony Quinn and Kevin Costner in the 1990 movie, Revenge, as well as the 1993 film, The House of the Spirits. Martinez's appearance in Revenge reportedly fulfilled a longtime dream to work with Anthony Quinn, who was also originally from Mexico.
Film director Lee Tamahori specifically cast Martinez in the James Bond film, Die Another Day, due to his performance in the 1972 movie, Ulzana's Raid. Martinez was cast by Tamahori in 2001 and Die Another Day was released in 2002.
Martinez often appeared in television westerns, including the television movies and miniseries Stones for Ibarra, How the West Was Won, and Ishi: The Last of His Tribe in 1978. His credits in western television series included Gunsmoke, Bonanza, and The High Chaparral. Martinez's roles in other television genres included guest spots on Quincy, M.E., Northern Exposure, L.A. Law, Marcus Welby, M.D., Dynasty, Ironside, and opposite Bill Cosby in The Bill Cosby Show.
On stage, Martinez was an original cast member for Zoot Suit, which broke sales records for live theater when it opened in Los Angeles in July 1978. In 1988, he co-starred in Summer and Smoke with Christine Lahti and Christopher Reeve at the Ahmanson Theatre in Los Angeles.
Joaquin Martinez died from pancreatic cancer at his home in Everdingen, the Netherlands, on January 3, 2012, at the age of 81. He was survived by his wife, Marja Valkestijn; daughter, Jennifer; son, Christopher; stepson, Sjoerd; and his former wife, Mary Preston.
- Joaquín Martínez at the Internet Movie Database