Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Actor Don Diamond Passes On

Character actor Don Diamond, who was a regular on both Zorro and F Troop among many other roles, passed on 4 June 1921 at the age of 90. The cause was heart failure.

Don Diamond was born 4 June 1921 in New York City. He studied drama at the University of Michigan. Following his graduation in 1942 he enlisted and served stateside in the United States Army Air Corps. He began working in radio dramas while waiting to be inducted into the military. He made his film début in the movie Borderline (1950) , but it would be television on which Mr. Diamond would spend much of his career.

Indeed, his television début would come in 1951 in the regular role of El Toro, Kit's sidekick, on The Adventures of Kit Carson. The Adventures of Kit Carson would run until 1955. Later in the decade Don Diamond would play Corporal Reyes on the TV series Zorro. He also guest starred on the shows Frontier, The Adventures of Jim Bowie, Adventures of Superman, Lassie, Trackdown,Circus Boys, Peter Gunn, The Life and Legend of  Wyatt Earp, and The Untouchables. He appeared in the movies Omar Khayam (1957), Raiders of Old California (1957), The Old Man and the Sea (1958), and The Story of Ruth (1960).

In the Sixties Don Diamond was a regular on F Troop as Crazy Cat, second in command to Chief Wild Eagle of the Hekawis. He also appeared on the shows Route 66, The Jack Benny Programme, Burke's Law, My Favourite Martian, Rawhide, The Dick Van Dyke Show, The Wild Wild West, Run For Your Life, The Big Valley, Get Smart, and The Immortal.  He appeared in the films Irma la Douce (1963), Fun in Acapulco (1963), The Carpetbaggers (1964), and How Sweet It Is (1968).

From the late Sixties into the Seventies Don Diamond provided the voice of Toro in "The Tijuana Toads" series of theatrical cartoons from Depatie-Freleng. In the Seventies
hHe guest starred on such shows as Mission: Impossible, Columbo, The Odd Couple, Emergency, The Rockford Files, and Lou Grant. He appeared in the films Mrs. Polifax-Spy (1971), Breezy (1973), The Toolbox Murders (1978), and Herbie Goes Bananas (1980). In the Eighties Mr. Diamond provided the voice of Sgt. Gonzalez on the animated series The Adventures of Zorro. He guest starred on the shows Dynasty, Dallas, MacGyverL. A. Law, and Newhart.

Don Diamond's prolific career as an actor was due to his mastery of accents and dialects. While many of his portrayals today would be considered racist (he played in both everything from Native Americans to Mexicans), there can be no denying that he had a gift for shaping his voice to anything he wanted it to be. Mr. Diamond also had a gift for comic timing. He was a very good comic actor, which also made him very much in demand in television shows in the Fifties and Sixties. While the average person probably does not recognise Mr. Diamond's name, there is little doubt that they would probably recognise his face and voice.

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