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'Zorro' Actor Britt Lomond 1925-2006


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'Zorro' Actor Britt Lomond 1925-2006

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Britt Lomond as Capitan Monastario

HUNTINGTON BEACH, California - Britt Lomond, who was best known for his role as the villainous Capitan Monastario in the 1950s TV series "Zorro," died on Wednesday, March 22. He was 80. Lomond died from kidney failure at a Huntington Beach nursing facility, according to Tyler St. Mark, his former publicist.

During his career as an actor, Lomond's talent garnered him roles in feature films and television as well as stage productions. With a Masters in Fine Arts, Lomond started as an illustrator for The Ruth, Ross and Ryan Advertising Agency in New York. He had done illustrations for Blue Book, Collier's Magazine and many other magazines of the era.

But during a summer break from his advertising assignments, he took a job designing sets for a local Long Island stock company. One week, an actor got sick and the only one who could fit into the period costume was Britt. After a quick study, he took over the role and then appeared in every production the company performed for the rest of the summer. An actor was born.

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Britt Lomond as General Custer in 'Tonka'

Lomond appeared on dozens of television shows in the 1950s and '60s, mostly Westerns, including "Death Valley Days," "Rawhide," "Colt .45," "The Life and Legend of Wyatt Earp" and "Zane Grey Theater." Among the non-Western TV shows he appeared in are "Highway Patrol," "Perry Mason," "I Spy" and "Sea Hunt."

He also appeared in Disney television specials and films, including "The Sign of Zorro" and "Tonka," in which he played General George Armstrong Custer. However, none of those roles brought him the same level of global fame as his stint on the Walt Disney series, "Zorro," which starred Guy Williams in the title role.

In 2004, a postage stamp depicting him as the Capitan was issued by the Netherlands. That same year, Lomond's memoir, "Chasing After Zorro," was published. "He has a huge following in Europe," his widow, Diane Lomond, said. "It's amazing how something like that can live on."

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'Zorro' starred Guy Williams in the title role and Britt

Lomond as Capitan Monastario

Lomond was born Glase Britt Lohman in Chicago on April 12, 1925, although he grew up in New York City. He served as a paratrooper in the Pacific during World War II and was awarded three Purple Hearts and both the Silver and Bronze Stars. He also served for over 18 months in the Korean Conflict. After the war, Lomond went to New York University, where he received a master of fine arts degree and took up fencing.

Not only an accomplished actor, Lomond was also an exceptional fencer. He was ranked 26th in the United States among amateur fencers and qualified to tryout for the 1952 Olympics in Helsinki. But when he began fencing in motion pictures, Lomond's amateur status changed to professional and was considered ineligible for Olympic competition.

Although Lomond came to Southern California to work as an illustrator, it was his fencing skills that soon led to a new career in the movies. He found regular work performing the swordfighting scenes in numerous films, including doubling for Mel Ferrer in the swordfighting scenes in 1952's "Scaramouche."

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Britt Lomond as Capitan Monastario

The sabre that Lomond used in all of his swashbuckling movies, and which was subsequently used as Monastario's own for all thirteen episodes of "Zorro," originally belonged to the original swashbuckler, actor Douglas Fairbanks Sr. Lomond was put under contract by Disney, which led to his part in "Zorro."

Lomond then began a second career behind the camera as a director and production manager. His TV credits included presidential debates, Bing Crosby specials, "The Waltons," "Battlestar Gallactica" and "Falcon Crest." He served as production manager on films such as "Purple Rain," "Midnight Run" and "Somewhere in Time."

"He was really even more highly respected as a production manager than as an actor," St. Mark said. "A lot of people didn't even know he was the Capitan . . . He was admired for his ability to bring a film in under budget and on time." Lomond went into semi-retirement in the late 1990s but continued to consult on films and prepare shooting budgets, St. Mark said.

Lomond is survived by his wife of 48 years, former casting agent, Diane Lomond, and two children, his son, Glase Lomond, a screenwriter and his daughter, Evan Lomond, an events producer.

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