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The Legacy of Latin and Hispanic Artists in American Film

Published on Sep 25, 2022

Author Luis I. Reyes, a scholar and lecturer who specializes in the history of Latinos in the Hollywood film industry, will be discussing his book, “Viva Hollywood: The Legacy of Latin and Hispanic Artists in American Film,” at Vroman’s Bookstore in Pasadena on Tuesday, Sept. 27, starting at 7 p.m.

In the book, Reyes uses authoritative narrative and lavish photography to tell an in-depth history of the stars, films, achievements, and influence of the Hispanic and Latino community in Hollywood history, from the silent era to the present day. Overcoming obstacles of prejudice, ignorance, and stereotyping, this group has given the world some of its most beloved stars and told some of its most indelible stories.

“Viva Hollywood” examines the stars in front of the screen as well as the people behind-the-scenes who have created a rich legacy across more than 100 years. The role of Latin women on screen is explored through the professional lives of Dolores Del Rio, Rita Hayworth, Raquel Welch, Salma Hayek, Penélope Cruz, and many more. The book also covers the films and careers of actors ranging from silent screen idol Antonio Moreno, to international Oscar-winning star Anthony Quinn, to Andy Garcia and Antonio Banderas.

A spotlight is also given to craftspeople who elevated the medium with their artistry – visionaries like cinematographer John Alonzo, “Citizen Kane” scenic artist Mario Larrinaga, and Oscar-winning makeup artist Beatrice de Alba.

The stories of these and many others begins through a lens of stereotyped on-screen personas of Latin Lovers, sexy spitfires, banditos, and gangsters. World War II saw an embrace of Latin culture as the “Good Neighbor Policy” made it both fashionable and patriotic to feature stories set south of the border. Social problem films of the 1950s and ’60s brought fresh looks at the community, with performances like Katy Jurado in “High Noon,” the cast of “West Side Story,” and racial inequality depicted in George Stevens’s “Giant.”

Civil Rights, the Chicano Movement, and the work of activist actors such as Ricardo Montalban and Edward James Olmos influenced further change in Hollywood in subsequent decades and paved the way for modern times and stars the likes of Jennifer Lopez and Lin-Manuel Miranda.

The event is free to attend.

For more information, call (626) 449-5320 or visit

Vroman’s Bookstore is at 695 E. Colorado Blvd.

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