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Enrique Tomás Delgado Jiménez, known as Henry Darrow, was an American actor. PHOTOGRAPHY: Jacob Andrzejczak / Getty
Enrique Tomás Delgado Jiménez, known as Henry Darrow, was an American actor. PHOTOGRAPHY: Jacob Andrzejczak / Getty 

Farewell to Henry Darrow, the legendary Puerto Rican "Zorro"

A gallant among television heartthrobs, Darrow also played the iconic Manolito Montoya and fought against stereotypes of Latinos on the small and big screen.

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The well-known and respected Latino actor Henry Darrow passed away last week Sunday at his home in North Carolina at the age of 87, his ex-publicists confirmed - the causes have not been disclosed.

Born Enrique Tomás Delgado Jiménez, the actor has bequeathed to the world more than a hundred characters and projects, but has always been best known for the iconic character of El Zorro, which he played in different series since 1981 (The New Adventures of Zorro, Zorro And Son). But even more so with his other mythical character, Manolo Montoya, in the 1970's television landmark The High Chaparral, which depicted the Arizona life of the Cannons and the Montoyas.

Henry also appeared in other series set in the Wild West, such as Bonanza or Gunsmoke; in popular series such as General Hospital or Hawaii Five-O, and even among distant galaxies when he joined the Star Trek family in several episodes.

A pioneer

After the warm farewells to Darrow, Puerto Rico's fetish and the first Latino heartthrob of the small screen, there remains an important professional lesson from an industry revolutionary.

Enrique Tomás Delgado Jr. was born in 1933 in New York City, but later his parents decided to return to the island.

In 1954 Delgado/Darrow returned to Pasadena, California, on a scholarship to study political science. It was there that an acting career blossomed that took him through several series before arriving at The High Chaparral, in which he participated from 1967 to 1971. In fact, he was one of the first Latinos to play a Latino role, something that was still unusual at the time.

Not only did his role impress viewers, but also critics who were enraptured by Manolito Montoya - the actor confessed that the character came from the inspiration of having previously played Shakespearean roles in Romeo and Juliet or Othello.

Before that time, he also played the role of the villain in one of Ed Wood's films Revenge of the Virgins (1959).

Recognition came in 1990 in the form of an Emmy Award for his role in the NBC soap opera Santa Barbara, where he also played a Latino, always giving a great personality and avoiding stereotypes.

It is worth noting that he dedicated part of his success to founding the Screen Actors Guild Ethnic Minority Committee with Carmen Zapata and Ricardo Montalbán. And likewise Nosotros, another organization focused on helping Latino actors play non-stereotypical roles.

Her work as an activist and fighting stereotypes is also part of the rich testimony she bequeaths to Hispanics in Hollywood, as well as the strength to transform and redefine careers and roles to make them as immortal as the small screen will allow.

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