Actor and fencing expert Britt Lomond died March 22 in Huntington Beach, Calif. after a long illness. He was 80.
Lomond was best known for his role as Capitan Monastario in the 1957 Walt Disney TV series “Zorro.”
Among the TV shows he appeared in are “Death Valley Days,” “Highway Patrol,” “Wyatt Earp,” “Perry Mason,” “I Spy” and “Sea Hunt.” He also appeared in Disney television specials and films, including “The Sign of Zorro” and “Tonka.” in which he played General George Armstrong Custer. He appeared in more than 40 features, and was Mel Ferrer’s fencing double in “Scaramouche.”
Born in Chicago, Lomond grew up in New York and received three Purple Hearts during WWII. After the war, he attended NYU where he joined the fencing team. After college, he became a magazine illustrator until a summer stock set designing job led to an acting job for the company. An experienced swordsman, Lomand qualified for the 1952 Olympics but turned professional when he started fencing in motion pictures.
He was originally chosen by Walt Disney for the title role of “Zorro,” but series director Norman Foster insisted he was better suited for the evil but elegant Spanish commandant who ruled Pueblo de Los Angeles. Although Monastario never defeated Zorro, played by Guy Williams, their fencing matches were often the highlight the show.
He moved to working behind the camera, and was assistant director or production manager on TV shows and features during the 70s and 80s, including “Purple Rain,” “Midnight Run” and “Somewhere in Time.”
In 2004, he wrote a memoir “Chasing After Zorro,” and his Monastario character was honored with a postage stamp that same year.
He is survived by his wife of 48 years, former casting agent, Diane Lomond, and two children, Glase Lomond, a screenwriter, and Evan Lomond, an events producer.