Richard Martin

Active - 1942 - 2008  |   Born - Dec 12, 1917   |   Died - Sep 4, 1994   |   Genres - Western, Action

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Though he rose to movie fame as Chito Jose Gonzalez Bustamente Rafferty, the heavily accented Irish-Mexican saddle-pal of RKO western star Tim Holt, actor Richard Martin was neither Irish nor Mexican. Born in Washington State, Martin grew up in a predominantly Mexican neighborhood in West Hollywood where he became adept at imitating the Latino speech patterns of his playmates. Signed to an RKO contract in 1943, he created the Chito Rafferty character in the big-budget war picture Bombardier. He went on to comical-sidekick assignments opposite such cowboy heroes as James Warren and Robert Mitchum, then was dropped by RKO in 1945 when the studio temporarily disbanded its "B"-western unit. Martin briefly ran a Hollywood restaurant before returning to films as the all-American leading man of the Universal serial The Mysterious Mr. M (1946). He came back to RKO in 1947, reviving Chito Rafferty in the studio's Tim Holt western series, which lasted until 1952. Typecast in Hispanic roles, Richard Martin had trouble finding work after the cessation of the Holt series, so he bade adios to Hollywood and became a successful insurance salesman.

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