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Henry Calvin

Henry Calvin
Gene Sheldon as Bernardo in the background
Born Wimberly Calvin Goodman
(1918-05-25)May 25, 1918
Dallas, Texas
Died October 6, 1975(1975-10-06) (aged 57)
Dallas, Texas
Resting place Grove Hill Memorial Park, Dallas
Occupation comic actor

Henry Calvin (May 25, 1918 – October 6, 1975) was an American comic actor best known for his role as the Spanish soldier, Sergeant Garcia on Walt Disney's live-action television series Zorro (1957–1959).

Early life

Born Wimberly Calvin Goodman in Dallas, Texas,[1][2] he sang in the choir of his local Baptist church as a child; he was often the featured soloist. After graduating from public school in Dallas, Texas (Sunset High School), he attended Southern Methodist University before pursuing a career as an actor and singer.[3]

Career

Calvin hosted a 1950 NBC radio show[2] and appeared on Broadway (most notably in Kismet as the Wazir of Police).[1] In 1952, he portrayed Big Ben on the children's TV series Howdy Doody. and made his film debut in Crime Against Joe as Red Waller four years later.

His character in Zorro, Sergeant Demetrio Lopez Garcia, was a comedic foil for Zorro and alter ego, Don Diego de la Vega (Guy Williams). Sometimes a friend (especially to Diego), sometimes a reluctant foe, Garcia is constantly outwitted by other characters, and is often his own worst enemy due to his weakness for food and drink.[2]

Hazel "Gil" George composed Sergeant Garcia's humorous music theme. [4]

Calvin also sang and released a version of the "Zorro" theme song.[2] Calvin's rich baritone voice also contributed to a number of musical interludes over the course of the series, singing everything from drinking songs to a serenade, and even a duet with Annette Funicello in one episode. After the series ended due to a contract dispute with ABC, he reprised the role of Garcia in all four Zorro stories that aired as part of Walt Disney Presents in 1960 and 1961.

He appeared in the 1960 film Toby Tyler as gruff wagon driver Ben Cotter, Toby's friend and protector. Toby's other mentor in the film, clown and animal trainer Sam Treat, was played by Gene Sheldon, who co-starred in Zorro as Bernardo. Toby Tyler was played by Kevin Corcoran, a prolific child actor at the studio in that era. All three actors also appeared in another Disney film, Babes in Toyland (1961).[3]

Calvin sang the children's song "Never Smile at a Crocodile" for Disneyland Records, a recording that was later reissued as part of a Peter Pan soundtrack CD. He also sang "We Won't Be Happy Till We Get It" with Ray Bolger and "Slowly He Sank To The Bottom of the Sea" on the Babes in Toyland soundtrack.

After Zorro and his Disney contract ended, Calvin guest starred in numerous television series during the 1960s. In his appearance on an episode of The Dick Van Dyke Show, his character performed a comedy sketch as Oliver Hardy, opposite Dick Van Dyke's Rob Petrie character as Stan Laurel.[5]

He also kept in touch with other members of the Zorro cast, even traveling with Guy Williams to Argentina in 1973 to attend a charity event.[3] He died in Dallas[1] from throat cancer in 1975.[3]

Selected credits

References

External links

  • Find a Grave
  • Internet Movie Database
  • Internet Broadway Database

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