Cortez, c. 1935
Jacob Kranze or
September 19, 1900
|Died||April 28, 1977 (aged 76)|
New York City, New York, U.S.
|Resting place||Woodlawn Cemetery, |
Bronx, New York City
|Other names||Jack Crane|
(m. 1926; died 1931)
Christine Coniff Lee
(m. 1934; div. 1940)
(m. 19??; his death 1977)
The son of Morris and Sarah Lefkovitz Krantz, Cortez was born to a Jewish family in New York City (Vienna has been incorrectly cited as his birthplace).[note 1] He attended DeWitt Clinton High School in New York City.
Hollywood executives changed his name from Krantz to Cortez to capitalize on the popularity of the era's "Latin lovers" (namely Rudolph Valentino, Ramon Novarro and Antonio Moreno). When rumor began to circulate that Cortez was not actually Latin, the studios attempted to pass him off as French before finally "admitting" to his supposedly Viennese origin. Cortez appeared in over 100 films. He began his career playing romantic leads, and when sound cinema arrived, his strong delivery and New York accent made him an ideal heavy. Occasionally portrayed leading men, Cortez's main focus became character acting. He played opposite Joan Crawford in Montana Moon (1930), played Sam Spade in the original, pre-code version of The Maltese Falcon (1931), co-starred with Charles Farrell and Bette Davis in The Big Shakedown (1934), and with Al Jolson and Dolores del Río in Wonder Bar (1934). In 1936, Cortez replaced Warren William as Perry Mason in The Case of the Black Cat.
Cortez directed seven films for 20th Century Fox from 1938 through 1940, all of them "program pictures made on a shoestring for the express purpose of filling the bottom half of the mandatory double bill ..." His first film as director was Inside Story, which was assigned to Cortez in the spring of 1938 but was not released until 1939. He also directed Chasing Danger, The Escape (1939), Heaven with a Barbed Wire Fence (1939), City of Chance (1940), Free, Blonde and 21 (1940), and Girl in 313 (1940).
Cortez was married to silent film actress Alma Rubens until her death from pneumonia in 1931. They were married January 31, 1926 in Riverside, California. He married Christine Conniff Lee on January 8, 1934.
- The Fringe of Society (1917) (scenes deleted) (film debut)
- The Imp (1919) as Minor Role (uncredited)
- The Gentleman from America (1923) as Minor Role (uncredited)
- Sixty Cents an Hour (1923) as William Davis
- Children of Jazz (1923) as Ted Carter
- Hollywood (1923) as Himself
- The Call of the Canyon (1923) as Larry Morrison
- The Next Corner (1924) as Don Arturo
- A Society Scandal (1924) as Harrison Peters
- The Bedroom Window (1924) as Robert Delano
- The City That Never Sleeps (1924) as Mark Roth
- Feet of Clay (1924) as Tony Channing
- This Woman (1924) as Whitney Duane
- Argentine Love (1924) as Juan Martin
- The Spaniard (1925) as Don Pedro de Barrego
- The Swan (1925) as Dr. Walter, the Tutor
- Not So Long Ago (1925) as Billy Ballard
- In the Name of Love (1925) as Raoul Melnotte
- The Pony Express (1925) as Jack Weston
- Torrent (1926) as Don Rafael Brull
- Volcano! (1926) as Stéphane Séquineau
- The Cat's Pajamas (1926) as Don Cesare Gracco
- The Sorrows of Satan (1926) as Geoffrey Tempest
- The Eagle of the Sea (1926) as Capt. Sazarac
- New York (1927) as Michael Angelo Cassidy
- Mockery (1927) as Captain Dimitri
- By Whose Hand? (1927) as Agent X-9
- The Private Life of Helen of Troy (1927) as Paris
- The Orchid Dancer (1928) as Yoanes Etchegarry dit Jean Barliave
- Ladies of the Night Club (1928) as George Merrill
- Prowlers of the Sea (1928) as Carlos De Neve
- The Grain of Dust (1928) as Fred Norman
- Excess Baggage (1928) as Val D'Errico
- The Gun Runner (1928) as Julio
- The Younger Generation (1929) as Morris Goldfish
- New Orleans (1929) as Jim Morley
- Midstream (1929) as James Stanwood
- The Phantom in the House (1929) as Paul Wallis
- The Lost Zeppelin (1929) as Tom Armstrong
- Montana Moon (1930) as Jeff
- Her Man (1930) as Johnnie
- Illicit (1931) as Price Baines
- Ten Cents a Dance (1931) as Bradley Carlton
- Behind Office Doors (1931) as Ronnie Wales
- White Shoulders (1931) as Lawrence Marchmont
- The Maltese Falcon (1931) as Sam Spade
- Big Business Girl (1931) as Robert J. Clayton
- Transgression (1931) as Don Arturo de Borgus
- Reckless Living (1931) as Curly
- Bad Company (1931) as Goldie Gorio
- Men of Chance (1931) as Johnny Silk
- No One Man (1932) as Bill Hanaway
- Symphony of Six Million (1932) as Dr. Felix 'Felixel' Klauber
- Is My Face Red? (1932) as William Poster
- Thirteen Women (1932) as Police Sergeant Barry Clive
- The Phantom of Crestwood (1932) as Gary Curtis
- Flesh (1932) as Nicky Grant
- Broadway Bad (1933) as Craig Cutting
- Midnight Mary (1933) as Leo Darcy
- Torch Singer (1933) as Tony Cummings
- Big Executive (1933) as Victor Conway
- The House on 56th Street (1933) as Bill Blaine
- The Big Shakedown (1934) as Dutch Barnes
- Mandalay (1934) as Tony Evans
- Wonder Bar (1934) as Harry
- Hat, Coat and Glove (1934) as Robert Mitchell
- The Man with Two Faces (1934) as Ben Weston
- A Lost Lady (1934) as Ellinger
- The Firebird (1934) as Herman Brandt
- I Am a Thief (1934) as Pierre
- The White Cockatoo (1935) as Jim Sundean
- Shadow of Doubt (1935) as Sim Sturdevant
- Manhattan Moon (1935) as Dan Moore
- Special Agent (1935) as Alexander Carston
- Frisco Kid (1935) as Paul Morra
- The Murder of Dr. Harrigan (1936) as George Lambert
- Man Hunt (1936) as Frank Kingman
- The Walking Dead (1936) as Nolan
- Postal Inspector (1936) as Inspector Bill Davis
- The Case of the Black Cat (1936) as Perry Mason
- Talk of the Devil (1936) as Ray Allen
- Her Husband Lies (1937) as J. Ward Thomas
- The Californian (1937) as Ramon Escobar
- West of Shanghai (1937) as Gordon Creed
- City Girl (1938) as Charles Blake
- Mr. Moto's Last Warning (1939) as Fabian
- Charlie Chan in Reno (1939) as Dr. Ainsley
- Murder Over New York (1940) as George Kirby
- Romance of the Rio Grande (1940) as Ricardo de Vega
- A Shot in the Dark (1941) as Philip Richards
- World Premiere (1941) as Mark Saunders
- I Killed That Man (1941) as Roger Phillips
- Who Is Hope Schuyler? (1942) as Anthony Pearce
- Rubber Racketeers (1942) as Gilin
- Tomorrow We Live (1942) as The Ghost, Alexander Caesar Martin
- Make Your Own Bed (1944) as Fritz Alden
- The Inner Circle (1946) as Duke York
- The Locket (1946) as Mr. Bonner
- Blackmail (1947) as Ziggy Cranston
- Mystery in Mexico (1948) as John Norcross
- Bunco Squad (1950) as Tony Weldon - aka Anthony Wells
- The Last Hurrah (1958) as Sam Weinberg (final film)
- Cortez' obituary in The New York Times cites Vienna as his birthplace, and the book A Life of Barbara Stanwyck: Steel-True 1907-1940 describes him as "Jacob Kranze, Viennese émigré".
- "Did Sigrid Gurie Hoax Sam Goldwyn?". The Des Moines Register. Iowa, Des Moines. May 8, 1938. p. 49. Retrieved August 18, 2018 – via Newspapers.com.
- Grandon, Robert (July 25, 1932). "Jacob Kranze Gives Clark Gable a Run". The Ogden Standard-Examiner. Utah, Ogden. Publishers Syndicate. p. 4. Retrieved August 18, 2018 – via Newspapers.com.
- Skolsky, Sidney (June 21, 1934). "Tintypes". Daily News. New York, New York City. News Syndicate Co., Inc. p. 50. Retrieved August 18, 2018 – via Newspapers.com.
- Room, Adrian (2012). Dictionary of Pseudonyms: 13,000 Assumed Names and Their Origins, 5th ed. McFarland. p. 118. ISBN 9780786457632. Retrieved 3 October 2017.
- "Ricardo Cortez:The 'Latin' from Manhattan". Films of the Golden Age (88): 50–51. Spring 2017.
- "Cortez biography".
- Letter of the Department of Health, City of New York, 8 October 2000. mentioned in: Rudolf Ulrich (Hrsg.): Österreicher in Hollywood. Neuauflage, Verlag Filmarchiv Austria, Wien 2004, ISBN 3-901932-29-1, p. 597
- "Ricardo Cortez, Actor in Movies, 77". The New York Times. New York, New York City. United Press International. April 29, 1977. Archived from the original on 3 October 2017. Retrieved 3 October 2017.
- Wilson, Victoria (2015). A Life of Barbara Stanwyck: Steel-True 1907-1940. Simon and Schuster. p. 197. ISBN 9781439194065. Retrieved 18 August 2018.
- Van Neste, Dan (August 2017). "'Von Stroheim of the B's'". Classic Images (506): 39–44, 56.
- "Ricardo Cortez". Hollywood Walk of Fame. Archived from the original on 3 October 2017. Retrieved 3 October 2017.