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The 'brains' and 'action' heavies who had meaty roles and lots of dialog ... and the players who were fathers, ranch owners, lawman, mayors, judges, lawyers, storekeepers, newspaper editors, wardens, etc.

(Courtesy of Bruce Hickey)

George J. Lewis in ZORRO'S BLACK WHIP (Republic, 1944).

(From Old Corral collection)

George J. Lewis as "Don Alejandro de la Vega", the father of the masked hero in the 1950s ZORRO TV show.

(Courtesy of Minard Coons)

Above - a smiling George J. Lewis at a 1970s film convention.
George Joseph Lewis

1903 - 1995

George J. Lewis is a very familiar face to fans of the western and serial. Born in Mexico on December 10, 1903, his silent and sound screen credits number in the hundreds, and his Hollywood film work began in the 1920s and continued through the early 1960s.

He starred in the "Collegians" series of shorts for Universal in the mid to late 1920s.

In sound films, he often portrayed villains. He did play the occasional hero in serials including THE WOLF DOG (Mascot, 1933) and ZORRO'S BLACK WHIP (Republic, 1944). And he shows up in A grade films and even does comedy - one of my favorites is George's portrayal of the drunken "Chief Iron Shirt" in John Wayne's THE COMANCHEROS (20th Century Fox, 1961).

Les Adams has Lewis identified in about 200+ sound era films, of which 82 are westerns and 25 are serials. Lewis worked in about 35 films at Republic Pictures from 1936 - 1951, and roughly half of those are serials. As with many of the B western actors, Lewis also did some shorts including the Three Stooges. And in the mid 1930s, he did a few New York stage plays.

He's a busy TV actor in the 1950s and 1960s in ANNIE OAKLEY, RIN-TIN-TIN, WILD BILL HICKOK, SGT PRESTON, WYATT EARP, GENE AUTRY, RANGE RIDER, ROY ROGERS, and many more programs. But his biggest television role was playing "Don Alejandro de la Vega", the father of ZORRO, on the Walt Disney TV show which starred Guy Williams.

Some may recall Lewis as 'Collins', the double crossing scout who leads John Reid and The Texas Rangers into an ambush in "Enter the Lone Ranger", the first episode of the Clayton Moore LONE RANGER television program.

In his later years, Lewis was a real estate developer and property investor in Rancho Santa Fe, California.

Lewis' death certificate mentions that he passed away from congestive heart failure on December 8, 1995 at his Rancho Santa Fe, San Diego County, California home. He also suffered from Parkinson's disease. He was cremated and survivors were his wife Mary Louise, daughter Maylo, and two grandchildren.

  Although some of the data is incomplete or inaccurate, the Internet Movie Database (IMDb) has information on George J. Lewis:

Death notice in the December 15, 1995 Oceanside, California North County Times for actor and real estate developer George J. Lewis. He was 91 years old and passed away at his home in Rancho Santa Fe, San Diego County, California. Survived by his wife Mary Louise, daughter Maylo, and two grandchildren.:

Find A Grave notes that George J. Lewis was cremated and cremains were given to family or friends:

Google Maps of Lewis' home at 5465 Maravillas, Rancho Santa Fe, San Diego County, California:

YouTube has several of the Collegians shorts starring George J. Lewis and Dorothy Gulliver:

Daniel Neyer's "The Files of Jerry Blake" serial website has a webpage on George J. Lewis in serials:

The New York Public Library has a 1920s photo of a very young George J. Lewis:

The Internet Broadway database has Lewis in four New York plays during 1927 - 1938:

In the late 1920s, Universal had Dorothy Gulliver and George J. Lewis (billed as George Lewis) starring in the "Collegians" shorts. About four dozen of those were released in 1926 - 1929.

Above are Dorothy Gilliver and George Lewis in an ad for COLLEGE LOVE (Universal, 1929), the first all-talking "Collegians". From a 1929 Universal Weekly (available at the Internet Archive). COLLEGE LOVE was available in both silent and talking versions.

(Courtesy of Les Adams)

Above are the quartet of no-goodniks from the Allan Lane serial DAREDEVILS OF THE WEST (Republic, 1943). From left to right are William Haade, Robert Frazer, Ted Adams and George J. Lewis. Frazer was the brains heavy and Adams played his crooked attorney. Haade and Lewis reported to them.

(From Old Corral collection)

Above from L-to-R: Helen Deverell looks on as George J. Lewis has the drop on Three Mesquiteers hero Tom Tyler in a lobby card from THE BLOCKED TRAIL (Republic, 1943).

(From Old Corral collection)

L-to-R are Smiley Burnette, Bud Geary, star Bob Livingston, George J. Lewis, and Leander de Cordova in a lobby card from THE LARAMIE TRAIL (Republic, 1944).

(From Old Corral collection)

Above are George J. Lewis and heroine Linda Stirling in the ZORRO'S BLACK WHIP (Republic, 1944) cliffhanger.

(Courtesy of Boyd Magers)

Above is the Chapter 1 title lobby card for the 13 episode ADVENTURES OF FRANK AND JESSE JAMES (Republic, 1948). "Frank James" was portrayed by a moustached Steve Darrell (in buckskins) and Clayton Moore (upper right) was "Jesse James". Shown bottom left is George J. Lewis and heroine Noel Neill is pictured bottom right.

(From Old Corral collection)

L-to-R are Clayton Moore, George J. Lewis, and Pamela Blake in GHOST OF ZORRO (Republic, 1949). In this serial, it was Moore, Lewis and Blake vs. no-goods Roy Barcroft and Gene Roth.

(From Old Corral collection)

Above - Russell Hayden (on the left) and James Ellison (on the right) have the drop on everyone in the saloon in this lobby card from HOSTILE COUNTRY (Lippert, 1950). One-time hero Tom Tyler is seated at the table, next to the napping George J. Lewis.

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