Rico Alaniz (Zorilla “Rico” Alaniz) (October 25, 1919 – March 9, 2015) was a Mexican-born American actor in film and television best known for his role of the peaceful Cheyenne informer “Mr. Cousin” in sixteen episodes from 1955 to 1959 of the ABC/Desilu western television series, The Life and Legend of Wyatt Earp, with Hugh O’Brian in the title role as deputy Marshal Wyatt Earp.
In eight episodes of The Life and Legend of Wyatt Earp, Alaniz appeared with Rodd Redwing in the part of “Mr. Brother”, who is killed in the 1958 episode “One” by the Dry Gulch Gang. Several episodes of the series are spent as Marshal Earp hunts down the gang and makes sure that all four members are tried, and as it resulted, hanged. Alaniz was also cast in two other episodes of the series, as Esteban Morango in “The Schoolteacher” (1958) and as Joe Riva in “Death for a Stolen Horse” (1959).
Rico Alaniz Career
Among his early television roles were four episodes of the syndicated western series, The Adventures of Kit Carson, starring Bill Williams. In the premiere episode on August 11, 1951 entitled “California Outlaws”, Alaniz was cast as Joaquin Murrieta.
His roles, mostly of an Indian or ethnic part, ranged from Small Cloud in the 1958 episode “Deadlock” of the ABC/Warner Brothers western series, Sugarfoot with Will Hutchins, to Crooked Hand in the 1969 episode “The Allies” of NBC’s Daniel Boone, with Fess Parker in the title role.
Alaniz was cast five times on The High Chaparral, four times on Bonanza, three times on Gunsmoke, and twice each on 26 Men, Border Patrol, The Adventures of Rin Tin Tin, Tales of Wells Fargo, Rawhide, The Wild Wild West, The Fugitive, and The Loretta Young Show.
In the episode “The Perfect Circle” (1959) of the CBS crime drama Tightrope, starring Mike Connors, Alaniz was cast as a detective. In 1972, in one of Alaniz’s last television roles, he played a doctor in the episode “Broker Mirror” of the CBS series Mannix, also starring Mike Connors. Alaniz played Manuel Ortega, who ambushes a stagecoach carrying a man accused of murdering Ortega’s sister, in the 1960 episode, “Day of Vengeance” of the NBC western series, Laramie, starring John Smith and Robert Fuller.
In 1962, he was cast in two crime drama television series, as Colonel Luna in the episode “Flight from Escondido” of the ABC/WB detective series, 77 Sunset Strip, starring Efrem Zimbalist Jr., and as Rafael Bencosme in “Ramon” on NBC’s 87th Precinct.
He is also remembered for the part of Felipe in the 1953 film Conquest of Cochise, with John Hodiak as the Apache chief Cochise, and as Sotero in The Magnificent Seven (1960).
Alaniz died at his home in California on March 9, 2015 at the age of 95.
Rico Alaniz Movies
The Capture (1950) – Policeman (uncredited)
A Lady Without Passport (1950) – Young Cuban Man (uncredited)
Mister 880 (1950) – Carlos – Spanish Interpreter (uncredited)
Smuggler’s Island (1951) – Young Portuguese (uncredited)
Hollywood Story (1951) – Spanish Actor (uncredited)
Golden Girl (1951) – Bandit (uncredited)
The Fighter (1952) – Carlos
Viva Zapata! (1952) – Guard (uncredited)
Macao (1952) – Bus Driver (uncredited)
California Conquest (1952) – Pedro
Tropic Zone (1953) – Capt. Basilio (uncredited)
Jeopardy (1953) – Officer at 1st Roadblock (uncredited)
Column South (1953) – Trooper Chavez
The Desert Song (1953) – Legionnaire (uncredited)
Wings of the Hawk (1953) – Capt. Gomez
Conquest of Cochise (1953) – Felipe
Appointment in Honduras (1953) – Bermudez
Jubilee Trail (1954) – Spaniard (uncredited)
Phantom of the Rue Morgue (1954) – Gendarme (uncredited)
Siege at Red River (1954) – Chief Yellow Hawk
Drum Beat (1954) – Medicine Man (uncredited)
Green Fire (1954) – Antonio
The Last Command (1955) – Tomas (uncredited)
Santiago (1956) – Dominguez (uncredited)
Back from Eternity (1956) – Latin Official (uncredited)
The Cruel Tower (1956) – Frenchy (uncredited)
The Women of Pitcairn Island (1956) – The Spanisher
Stagecoach to Fury (1956) – Miguel Torres
The Toughest Gun in Tombstone (1958) – Fernandez (uncredited)
War of the Colossal Beast (1958) – Sgt. Luis Murillo
Hong Kong Confidential (1958) – Fernando
Wolf Larsen (1958) – Louis
Sea Hunt (1960, Season 3, Episode 13) – Carlos Prado
The Magnificent Seven (1960) – Sotero
Summer and Smoke (1961) – Knife Thrower (uncredited)
The Virginian (1963 episode “The Mountain of the Sun” – Bandido Leader
Hotel (1967) – Chairman (uncredited)
Final Analysis (1992) – Old Spanish Man (final film role)