Jose Gonzalez Gonzalez, a character actor in about 40 films and classic Western television series, and a fixture on stage at the annual Olvera Street festivities celebrating the anniversary of Los Angeles’ 1781 founding, has died. He was 78.
The entertainer died Dec. 15 at Daniel Freeman Marina Hospital of a brain hemorrhage brought on by myeloblastic anemia, a blood disease from which he had suffered for many years, said his son-in-law, Ted Herrera.
Born Dec. 7, 1922, in San Antonio, Gonzalez Gonzalez moved to Mar Vista on Los Angeles’ Westside as a child and gravitated toward Hollywood as he grew up.
Although he performed in motion pictures, including 1991’s “The Naked Gun 2 1/2: The Smell of Fear,” the actor was probably better remembered for his recurring roles in early television series, particularly Westerns. Among them were the 1950-56 “The Cisco Kid,” starring Duncan Renaldo and Leo Carrillo, “Bonanza,” “Wagon Train,” “The Big Valley” and “The Rifleman.”
He appeared in comedy television series as well, including “My Mother the Car” and “That’s My Mama.”
A comedian and singer who also played bottles and pans as if they were xylophones and drum sets, Gonzalez Gonzalez toured the country with his own stage shows, specializing in state fairs and conventions.
He was a mainstay at the Los Angeles County Fair, the Monterey Fair and the State Fair in Sacramento, as well as Los Angeles’ annual birthday extravaganzas and Cinco de Mayo celebrations in such places as Santa Ana’s Centennial Regional Park.
Throughout his acting career, Gonzalez Gonzalez was often confused--even by organizations that archive production credits--with his younger brother, actor Pedro Gonzalez Gonzalez, who first came to fame as a guest on “You Bet Your Life” sparring with Groucho Marx.
Herrera said his father-in-law most loved his live performances on behalf of charities, particularly for children being treated at Shriners’ hospitals.
The entertainer is survived by his wife of 55 years, Ventura; three daughters; seven grandchildren; and one great-grandchild.