There’s our man, Thomas Gomez, as he appeared in the 1947 crime drama Ride The Pink Horse, an unjustly overlooked film noir boasting an interesting star-director turn by Robert Montgomery.
It’s about a returning World War II GI’s investigation in a small New Mexican town of his friend’s murder. Gomez turns up as sort of a local “half breed” carousel operator named Pancho. He gets to say a lot of good lines (the script is was by Ben Hecht and Charles Lederer, based on a Dorothy Hughes novel).
It was Gomez performance in this picture that won him a best supporting actor Oscar nomination. The record book says it was the first Academy Award nomination secured by a Spanish American. For our record, the winner in Gomez’ category that year was Edmund Gwenn for Miracle on 34th Street.
Which brings us to the answers to our Thomas Gomez Quiz.
1) Question: Gomez real name was Sabino Gomez, indicating that his family history was (a) Spanish; b) Puerto Rican; c) Italian; or d) Irish.
Answer: a and d). Gomez was born in 1905 in New York City. His parents had emigrated to the U.S. from Spain. His maternal grandparents came from Alsace in France and from Ireland.
2) Question: Gomez was the first of his ethnic group to be nominated for an Academy Award. For which picture? a) Key Largo; b) The Conqueror; c) Ride the Pink Horse; or d) Phantom Lady.
2) Answer: As indicated above, (c).
3) Question: Gomez remained obese for much of his screen career because he was addicted to binging on junk food. a) True; or b) False.
Answer: b) Definitely false. Gomez enjoyed his victuals, quality stuff. He specialized in gourmet dining, and was a regular for years at the best restaurants in Hollywood and New York. It all showed in the size of his wasteline. Gomez’ weight neighbored 300 pounds for years, although he dropped much ot it — for medical reasons — toward the end of his life.
4) Question: Before he landed in Hollywood, Gomez cut his teeth on stagework under the supervision of two of America’s most famous theater luminaries. Who were they?
Answer: Alfred Lunt and Lynn Fontanne.
5) Question: Gomez appeared repeatedly on tv in which of the following series: a) The Twilight Zone; b) Route 66; c) Mr. Ed; or d) Gunsmoke.
Answer: Oops, another of our trick questions. Gomez appear in all four of these programs.