Don Alvarado was born on November 4, 1904 in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Since childhood, Alvarado lived on his father’s ranch and studied agriculture, raising sheep and cattle. But such a life was not to his liking, and in 1922 he ran away from home and went to Los Angeles.
In 1924, Don Alvarado married an American, Ann Boyar, daughter of Russian Jews who had moved to the United States. In the same year, they had a daughter, who was named Joy Page, and who subsequently became a theatre and film actress.
In 1932, Ann got a lover — film mogul Jack L. Warner. Jack quickly persuaded Ann to file for divorce from Alvarado in August 1932. From then on, she was free from the bonds of marriage and had already in September 1933 moved in with Warner. In 1936, they married.
Don Alvarado himself briefly grieved over the loss of his wife and in 1932 had an affair with musical comedy star ballerina Marilyn Miller. It came down to the engagement, but the marriage never took place.
Once in Los Angeles, the 18-year-old began looking for acting work in the then-fledgling industry silent movies. Before he found such a job, he had to make a living for a time as a worker in a confectionery factory.
Alvarado made his film screen debut in the silent film “Mademoiselle Midnight” in an episodic role. Around the same time in Los Angeles, Alvarado met the same as him aspiring Mexican actor Luis Antonio Damazo de Alonso, who would later be known as Gilbert Roland.
Young fighting for their place in the sun, the actors lived in the same apartment for a while, but Alvarado soon met his love. She was the 16-year-old Ann Boyar (1908-1990), daughter of Russian Jewish emigrants. Alvarado and Roland separated, but they did not stop friends.
Alvarado’s debut on the silent film screen came in 1924 and almost immediately his career went uphill. The studio picked him up a profitable acting amplua of heroes-lovers and Latin macho characters and soon Alvarado began to star regularly first in minor and then in the lead roles.
But the advent of sound cinema almost put a cross on Alvarado’s starring roles. But still he managed to play minor Spanish characters regularly. A typical role of Alvarado in cinema was that of the Spaniard Manuel in “The Bridge of San Luis Rey”, based on an adapted 1929 play by Thornton Wilder.
Alvarado began to appear on the theater stage. So in 1933 he played a role in a production of “Dinner at Eight” at the Belasco Theatre in Los Angeles.
In 1939, he assumed the pseudonym “Don Page”, under which he began working in the field of film production. He first took a job as assistant director and director at Warner Brothers, and a few years later a job as production manager at that film company. So he became part of a team that for years made commercially successful films. Among them were “Treasures of the Sierra Madre” (1948), “East of Paradise” and “Rebel Without a Cause” (both 1955).
In 1958, he performed his last work on the film “The Old Man and the Sea”.
Don Alvarado died of cancer in 1967 at the age of 62. It happened in Hollywood, Los Angeles, CA. The actor was buried at Forest Lawn Memorial ark in the Hollywood Hills.
For his contribution to the film production industry, Don Alvarado received a Motion Picture Star on the Walk of Fame in Hollywood. It is located at 6504 Hollywood Boulevard.
During his short but fruitful career, Don Alvarado managed to star in dozens of films:
- “Wife that was not wanted” (1925) — the role of Theo;
- “Satan in Sable” (1925) — the role of a student;
- “Purchasers of Pleasure” (1925) — the role of Tommy Wiswell;
- “His Jazz Bride” (1926);
- “ Night Scream” (1926) was the role of Pedro;
- “Hero of the Big Snows” (1926) was the role of Edd Nolan;
- “Conversations of the Monkey” (1927) was the role of Sam Wick;
- “Love Carmen” (1927) was the role of José;
- “Breakfast at Dawn” (1927) was the role of Lussan;
- “Drums of Love” (1928) was the role of Count Leonardo de Alvia;
- “No Other Woman” (1928) was the role of Maurice;
- “Scarlet Lady” (1928) was the role of Prince Nicholas;
- “The Battle of the Sexes” (1928) — the role of Winsor’s babe;
- “The Snags” (1928) — the role of Jim Curtis;
- “Apache” (1928) — the role of Pierre Dumont;
- “Rio Rita” (1929) — the role of Roberto Fergusson;
- “ Bad” (1930) was the role of a Spaniard;
- “Estrellados” (1930) was the role of Lari Mitell;
- “Captain Thunder” (1930) was the role of Juan;
- “Free and Easy” (1930);
- “Bo Ideal” (1931) was the role of Juan Ramón González;
- “Reputation” (1931);
- “The Lady with the Past” (1932) was the role of Carlos Santiagos;
- “Murder of the King” (1932) was the role of José Moreno;
- “Black Beauty” (1933) was the role of Renaldo;
- “Morning Glory” (1933) was the role of Pepi Velez;
- “Under Secret Orders” (1933) was the role of Don Frederico;
- “Red Wagon” (1933) was the role of Davey Heron;
- “On the Secret Service” (1933) was the role of Conte Valenti;
- “The Devil is the Woman” (1935) was the role of Rico Cesaro;
- “I Live for Love” (1935) was the role of Morenito;
- “Rose of the Ranch” (1936) was the role of Don Luis Espinos;
- ” Federal Agent” (1936) was the role of Armand Recard;
- “Romance of the Rio Grande” (1936) was the role of Jack Carter;
- “No One Is an Infant” (1937) was the role of Tony Cortez; “The Escape of the
- Lady” (1937) was the role of Jack Carter Antonio;
- “Rosa Rio Grande” (1938) was the role of Don José del Torre;
- “One Night in the Tropics” (1940) was the role of Rudolfo;
- “The Big Theft” (1949) was the role of Lieutenant Ruiz.
following films were the most significant in Don Alvarado’s career:
“The Bridge of San Luis Rey” (1929) — a partially silent, partially sound film produced by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer. Directed by Charles Brabin. Starring Don Alvarado (played by Manuel) and Lily Damit based on Thornton Wilder’s 1927 novel of the same name. The picture won the Academy Award for Best Director.
Treasures of the Sierra Madre (1948) is a feature film by American director John Huston. Starring Water Houston (the director’s father) and Humphrey Bogart. The film adaptation of B. Travena. Walter Huston was awarded the Academy Award for Best First Actor and John Huston was awarded the Academy Award for Best Film. In 1990, the film was listed on the National Register of the Most Significant Films in U.S. History.
East of Paradise (1955) is an American film drama directed by Elia Casan. A free-style film adaptation of the second half of John Steinbeck’s novel of the same name. Starring: James Dean, Julia Harris and Raymond Massey. The picture won an Academy Award for her debut acting role as Joe Van Fleet (playing the mother of the Trask brothers), and was also nominated in three more categories. In addition, the film won the Cannes Film Festival prize as the best drama film of the competition program.
Rebel Without a Cause (1955) is an American feature film by Nicholas Ray in the youth drama genre. Starring James Dean, the idol of 1950s American youth in pop music. The picture was nominated for an Academy Award in three categories. In 1990, the film was listed on the U.S. National Film Registry as having cultural, historical, and aesthetic significance.
“ The Old Man and the Sea” (1958) was the last work in film for Don Alvarado. In the painting, he plays the role of a waiter. The film is based on the novel of the same name by Ernest Hemingway (1952), written in the Bahamas and became the last work of fiction by an American writer published during his lifetime. The story tells the story of an old Santiago man, a Cuban fisherman, about his struggle on the high seas with a giant marlin, which then became the biggest prey of his life.