Carlos Rivas

Carlos Rivas

BEVERLY HILLS, CALIF.--Character actor Carlos Rivas, who had a long movie and TV career playing characters of different ethnicities, died here June 16 of complications from prostate cancer, which he had been battling for several years. He was 78. MSTies will recall him as Mexican geologist Arturo Ramos in episode 113- THE BLACK SCORPION.

Born in El Paso, Texas, Rivas began his career in Mexican films, appearing in more than two dozen and co-starring with Dolores Del Rio and Maria Felix, among others. But his first role in American films was not as a Latino, but as an Asian. He co-starred as Lun Tha, the lover of Tuptim (Rita Moreno), in 1956's "The King and I."

He appeared in more 40 films in the next four decades, including 1960's "The Unforgiven" and 1969's "Topaz" and "True Grit." Not all his films were classics, however. MSTies might have seen him in turkeys like 1969's "They Saved Hitler's Brain" and the 1975 laugher "Doc Savage: Man of Bronze."

On TV he had guest-starring roles on "Bonanza," "The Virginian," "Barnaby Jones", "Mission: Impossible" and many others.

Rivas also appeared in stage productions in the Los Angeles area, including roles in "Remote Asylum" at the Ahmanson and in "Ceremony for an Assassinated Black Man" at the Nosotros Theater.

Rivas was a founding member of Nosotros, the Los Angeles-based organization that works to improve the image and employment of Latinos in the entertainment industry. The organization honored him recently with its Golden Eagle award for lifetime achievement.

He is survived by his wife Sylvia, a daughter and a granddaughter.