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Salt of the Earth: 1954

In 1951, women in New Mexico took over a labor strike demanding equal treatment for Hispanic workers both in pay and living conditions. Salt of the Earth is based on their struggle and is one of the first films to explore equal rights for women.

What other movies were released in 1954

Other Hispanic Actors of the 1950's

Salt of the Earth was an unusual movie in that the majority of the actors were not professional performers, but also in the number of Hispanic/Chicano actors. Who were the other Hispanic actors in Hollywood in the 1950’s?

Desi Arnaz (1917-1986) Arnaz was a Cuban-born musician, actor and producer. He and his wife Lucille Ball were investigated by the FBI and called before the Committee on Un-American Activates. I Love Lucy premiered in 1951.

Míriam Colón (1936-2017) Colón was primarily a television actress who appeared in shows like Danger (1955), Star Tonight (1955) but was also in the movie Crowded Paradise (1956). She had a long carrier with her last appearance in Better Call Saul in 2015.  

José Ferrer (1912-1992) Ferrer was a Puerto Rican- born actor, and in 1950 he became the first Hispanic actor to win an Academy Award for his performance as Cyrano de Bergerac. Other awards include a Tony award, Distinguished Dramatic Actor Award and the Outstanding Director Award. His first movie was Joan of Arc (1948) and he was in two movies in 1954 (The Caine Mutiny and Deep in My Heart). He continued to act in films till 1992.

Thomas Gomez (1905-1971) Gomez was the first Hispanic actor nominated for an Academy Award for his role in  the 1947 film: Ride the Pink Horse. He was in over 60 films including two in 1954: The Gambler from Natchez and The Adventures of Hajji Baba.


Tito Guízar (1908-1999) Guízar was a Mexican Actor and singer. His film career started in the 1930’s but he was in American films into the late 1940’s. He continued to act in Mexican films and television till his death in 1999.


Susan Kohner (1936-) Kohner was nominated for an Academy Award for her role as Sarah Jane in Imitation of Life (1959). She did not win an Oscar for the role but did win a Golden Globe for her portrayal of a mixed-race women. She retired from acting in 1964.

Carnen Miranda () Miranda was the first Latina to have a star on the Walk of Fame, and the highest paid actress in Hollywood in 1945. Her last film was in 1953’s Scared Stiff with Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis. She died of a heart attack at the age of 46 in 1955.

Ricardo Montalbán (1920-2009) Montalbán was born in Mexico City and moved, first to Los Angeles, and then New York when still a teenager. He was a theatrical actor in New York before returning to Mexico where he acted in many films. His first leading role in an American film was in the 1949 Border Incident.

Rita Moreno (1931-) Moreno won an Academy Award in 1961 for her portrayal of Anita in Westside Story. After winning an Oscer she hoped for less stereotypical roles “Ha, ha. I showed them. I didn't make another movie for seven years after winning the Oscar.... Before West Side Story, I was always offered the stereotypical Latina roles. The Conchitas and Lolitas in westerns. I was always barefoot. It was humiliating, embarrassing stuff. But I did it because there was nothing else. After West Side Story, it was pretty much the same thing. A lot of gang stories.” Rita Moreno overcame Hispanic stereotypes to achieve stardom"The Miami Herald. September 14, 2008

Dolores del Rio (1904-1983) del Rio’s career started in the 1920’s. In America she was a well-known actress, in Mexico she was known as one of the most important actresses in the Golden Age of Mexican Cinema.  

“In 1954, del Río was slated to appear as the wife of Spencer Tracy's character in the 20th Century Fox film Broken Lance. The U.S. government denied her permission to work in the United States, accusing her of being sympathetic to international Communism. The document signed by her cheering for world peace, as well as her links with figures openly communist (as Diego Rivera and Frida Kahlo) and her past relationship with Orson Welles, had been interpreted in the United States as sympathy for the communism.” -Wikipedia