Leo Carrillo, born August 6, 1880 in Los Angeles, California - died September 10, 1961 in Santa Monica, California, was an actor and conservationist.
Although he played stereotypical Latinos, Leo Carrillo was part of an old and respected Los Angeles family who could trace his roots back to the conquistadores. His great-grandfather was the first provisional governor of California, and his grandfather Pedro Carrillo had been sent east to be educated in Boston. The family moved from San Diego to Los Angeles then to Santa Monica, where Leo Carrillo's father served as the city's first mayor. Proud of his heritage, he wrote a book titled The California I Love that was published just before his death in 1961.
A college graduate, Leo Carrillo worked as a newspaper cartoonist before turning to acting on Broadway. In Hollywood, he appeared in more than 90 films in which he played supporting or character roles. However, he is best remembered from the television show, the "Cisco Kid", on which he played Pancho, a role he had previously carried out in several films. A preservationist and conservationist, Carrillo served on the California Beach and Parks commission for eighteen years, and played a key role in the state's acquisition of Hearst Castle at San Simeon, the Los Angeles Arboretum, and the Anza-Borrego Desert State Park. He was eventually made a goodwill ambassador by the State Governor.
As a result of his service to the State, the Leo Carrillo State Park, north of Santa Monica on the Pacific Coast Highway, was named in his honor. As well, there is the Leo Carrillo State Beach in Malibu, and the city of Westminster, California named an elementary school for him. The Leo Carrillo Ranch Historic Park in Carlsbad, California is a registered California Historical Site.
Leo Carrillo died of cancer in 1961 and was interred in the Woodlawn Memorial Cemetery in Santa Monica.