American actor (1907-1994). The grandson of Jose Martí, the liberator of Cuba, he was born in New York City, the son of immigrants from Cuba and Spain, and he grew up in Bradley Beach, New Jersey. He started his career in show business as a dancer and eventually moved up to acting.
During World War II, Romero enlisted in the Coast Guard in 1942 and served in the Pacific. He was stationed on the USS Cavalier and saw action during the invasions of Tinian and Saipan. He eventually rose to the rank of chief boatswain's mate.
He often played Latin lovers, Italian gangsters, and even Indian princes from the 1930s to the '50s. Romero was successful enough that when the Great Depression caused his parents to lose their sugar-import business, he was able to support his entire family.
Romero always felt that his career was limited because he was typecast as a Latin lover, but he appeared in a variety of different movies -- he was in "The Devil Is a Woman" with Marlene Dietrich and "The Thin Man"; he played an Afghan leader opposite Shirley Temple in "Wee Willie Winkie"; he played Duke Santos opposite the Rat Pack in "Ocean's 11" in 1960; he was an ambitious French bureaucrat in the John Ford comedy "Donovan's Reef"; he played Cortés in "Captain From Castile"; and he was the Cisco Kid in a string of B movies from 1940-41.
He also started to branch out into television roles. And that led to him getting the role as the Joker in the 1966-68 "Batman" series. Romero didn't want to shave his mustache -- honestly, who can blame him? That 'stache was magnificent! So the Joker makeup was just applied over his mustache. Looked a little weird, but again -- would you tell Cesar Romero to shave his mustache? No, no no.
Romero died on January 1, 1994 from complications of a blood clot while being treated for bronchitis and pneumonia.