Henry Darrow, the first Hispanic actor to portray Zorro on television who also starred in TV series “The High Chaparral,” has died. He was 87.
According to his former publicist, Michael B. Druxman, Darrow died Sunday at his home in Wilmington, N.C.
Throughout the 60s, Darrow appeared in television series such as “Wagon Train,” “Bonanza,” “Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea,” “Gunsmoke” and “Daniel Boone.” Additionally, he appeared in the first season of “Harry O” and won a daytime Emmy for his role on the soap opera “Santa Barbara.”
Darrow also took part in many stage productions such as “The Alchemist” and “Dark of the Moon.” He caught the attention of “Bonanza” creator David Dortort while appearing in the 1965 stage production of “The Wonderful Ice Cream Suit” at the Coronet Theatre in Los Angeles, where he was immediately offered a role in the Western series “The High Chaparral” He played Manolito Montoya, a roguish man who would rather make love than war, on 97 episodes of the series from 1967 to 1971.
In addition to starring in Disney’s “Zorro and Son,” which ran for five episodes, Darrow provided the voice of Zorro and Don Diego for Filmation’s animated series “The New Adventures of Zorro.” In the early 1990s, he replaced Efrem Zimbalist Jr. as Zorro’s father, Don Diego, in a reincarnation of the series that starred Duncan Regehr.
Making his big-screen debut in the 1959 comedy “Holiday for Lovers,” Darrow appeared in films such as “The Hitcher,” “Summer and Smoke,” “The Glass Cage,” “St. Helens,” “The Hitcher,” “Runaway Jury,” “Walk Proud” and “Soda Springs.”
Darrow co-founded the Screen Actors Guild Ethnic Minority Committee in 1972 alongside actors Ricardo Montalbán, Edith Diaz and Carmen Zapata and was a founder of Nosostros.
He was born Enrique Tomás Delgado in New York City on September 15, 1933, the first son of Puerto Rico immigrants Gloria and Enrique Pío Delgado. After playing a woodcutter in a school play at the age of eight, Darrow concluded that it was his destiny to become an actor. He and his family returned to Puerto Rico in 1946, where he rediscovered his cultural roots. After serving as president of his high school class, Darrow went on to attend the University of Rio Piedras as a political science and theater major.
Darrow’s fluency in two languages helped earn him supplementary income as an interpreter, which he combined with his scholarship funds and moved to Los Angeles. He attended the Pasadena Playhouse and met his first wife, Lucy. They went on to have two children, Denise (Dee-Dee) and Tom.
He is survived by his wife, Lauren.
(pictured at top: Henry Darrow in “Walk Proud.”)