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Joaquin Martinez (November 5, 1930 – January 3, 2012) was a Mexican-born American film, theatre and television actor. Often appearing in Westerns, Martinez was perhaps best known for starring roles in the 1972 film, Jeremiah Johnson, in which he played a Crow chief, Paints His Shirt Red, and the 1972 film, Ulzana's Raid, which was directed by Robert Aldrich and starred Burt Lancaster.[1][2] Martinez was often typecast in roles that stereotyped Latinos, Native Americans, and Mexicans, but he frequently changed and reworked his characters through his acting, sometimes causing tensions with a production's director.[1][2]

Joaquín Martínez
Joaquín Martínez in Joe Kidd.gif
Joaquín Martínez in the film Joe Kidd, 1972
Born(1930-11-05)November 5, 1930
DiedJanuary 3, 2012(2012-01-03) (aged 81)
Years active1962-2005


Early lifeEdit

Martinez was born on November 5, 1930,[2] in Cozumel, Mexico.[2] His interest in acting led him to study method acting under Seki Sano.[1]


His professional breakthrough came in the 1967 Mexican dramatic film, Pedro Páramo, which was directed by Carlos Velo and premiered at the Cannes Film Festival that same year.[1] He moved to Los Angeles, California, shortly after making Pedro Páramo, where he worked as a professional film, television and stage actor for more than thirty years.[1]

In Jeremiah Johnson, which was set in the American West shortly after the Mexican American War, Martinez's and Robert Redford's characters come into conflict, but come to an understanding and peace in the film's silent, unspoken finale.[2] In addition to Jeremiah Johnson and Ulzana's Raid, both released in 1972, Martinez was cast opposite Anthony Quinn and Kevin Costner in the 1990 movie, Revenge, as well as the 1993 film, The House of the Spirits.[1] Martinez's appearance in Revenge reportedly fulfilled a longtime dream to work with Anthony Quinn, who was also originally from Mexico.[2]

Film director Lee Tamahori specifically cast Martinez in the James Bond film, Die Another Day, due to his performance in the 1972 movie, Ulzana's Raid.[1] Martinez was cast by Tamahori in 2001 and Die Another Day was released in 2002.[1]

Martinez often appeared in western films, television, and miniseries, such as Stones for Ibarra, Centennial, How the West Was Won, and Ishi: The Last of His Tribe in 1978.[1] He guest starred in Death Valley Days, Gunsmoke, Bonanza, and The High Chaparral.[1] Martinez's guest roles in non-western series included Quincy, M.E., Northern Exposure, L.A. Law, Marcus Welby, M.D., Dynasty, Ironside, and opposite Bill Cosby in The Bill Cosby Show.[1][2]

On stage, Martinez was an original cast member for Zoot Suit, which broke sales records for live theater when it opened in Los Angeles in July 1978.[1][2] In 1988, he co-starred in Summer and Smoke with Christine Lahti and Christopher Reeve at the Ahmanson Theatre in Los Angeles.[1][2]

Martinez's last film was Castingx, a 2005 Dutch movie directed by Ad Bol.[2]

Personal lifeEdit

He lived in semi-retirement in the Netherlands since approximately 2002 or 2003.[2]


Joaquin Martinez died from pancreatic cancer at his home in Everdingen, the Netherlands, on January 3, 2012, at the age of 81.[2] He was survived by his wife, Marja Valkestijn; daughter, Jennifer; son, Christopher; stepson, Sjoerd; and his former wife, Mary Preston.[1]



  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n "Joaquin Martinez dies at 81, Actor appeared in film and TV Westerns". Variety. 2012-01-26. Retrieved 2011-01-28.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l Barnes, Mike. "Joaquin Martinez, a Warrior in Film and TV Westerns, Dies at 81". The Hollywood Reporter. 2012-01-26. Retrieved 2011-01-28.

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