Artie Ortego

Artie Ortego (February 9, 1890 July 24, 1960) was an American actor. He appeared in more than 245 films between 1912 and 1955. Ortego portrayed cowboys, henchmen and American Indians in a large number of westerns and performed horse riding stunts. He was also a stunt double for Ramón Novarro in The Barbarian (1933), which is set in Cairo and also stars Myrna Loy.

Artie Ortego
Artie Ortego
Arthur A. Ortega

(1890-02-09)February 9, 1890
DiedJuly 24, 1960(1960-07-24) (aged 70)
Years active1912-1959


He was born in San Jose, California, the son of Benjamin Ortega (1854-?) and Rosa Gardnos (1867-?). His siblings were Mary Ortega (1888-?) and Ben Ortega (1891-?). In 1900, the family lived at 753 Orchard Street in San Jose. His father was a butcher.[1]

His debut was in the role as Moon Face in Bison Motion Pictures' silent western short The Tattoo (1912) opposite Mona Darkfeather and William Bertram. Ortego starred in 41 movies with Darkfeather, 33 of which are known to be directed by her husband, Frank Montgomery. The last of their joint ventures was The Gambler's Reformation (1914), in which Ortego played an Indian named Brown Bear.

Ortego played the role as Delgado in the adventure comedy/drama American Aristocracy (1916) starring Douglas Fairbanks and Jewel Carmen. When he registered for the draft of World War I, on June 5, 1917, Ortego gave his home address as 771 Orchard Street, San Jose.[2] He appeared in two movies that year, as The Rat in The Great Secret starring Francis X. Bushman and Beverly Bayne and as Taggart's Indian in The Avenging Trail starring Harold Lockwood and Sally Crute.

In 1920, Ortego was living in a hotel at 920 West Third Street, Los Angeles.[3] He appeared in one movie that year, as Little Wolf in Skyfire starring and directed by Neal Hart. That was followed by two shorts starring Hoot Gibson, The Driftin' Kid with Gertrude Olmstead, who later credited Ortego with teaching her to perform a flying mount, and The Man Who Woke Up (both 1921).

Ortego appeared in his first talkie as a vaquero in Beyond the Rio Grande (1930) starring Jack Perrin.[4] In 1931, he played the stage driver in Galloping Thru starring Tom Tyler and Betty Mack. He appeared in 14 movies starring John Wayne, including Randy Rides Alone (1934), The Desert Trail (1935), director John Ford's Stagecoach (1939) with Claire Trevor, and A Lady Takes a Chance (1943) with Jean Arthur. His final movie appearance was in director Allan Dwan's jungle adventure Escape to Burma (1955) starring Barbara Stanwyck and Robert Ryan for RKO Pictures.

He also made a number of guest appearances on television programs, including roles on The Cisco Kid (1950, 1951 and |1952), The Range Rider (1951), Cowboy G-Men (1953), Hopalong Cassidy (1953) and Maverick (1959).

Artie Ortego died at age 70 of a stroke in St. Joseph's Hospital, Burbank, California.[5][6] He is interred in San Fernando Mission Cemetery, Mission Hills.

Selected filmography


  1. 1900 Santa Clara Co., CA, U.S. Federal Census, San Jose Township, San Jose Ward 4, 753 Orchard St., June 7, Enumeration Dist. 74, Sheet 11 B, Page 201 B, Line 75, Benjamin Ortega, Line 76, Rosa Ortega, Line 78, Arthur Ortega, Son, White, Male, Jan. 1890, 10, Single, CA, CA, CA, At School, 8 mons., Y, Y, Y.
  2. World War I Draft Registration Card, Name: Artie Ortego, Age: 29, Home Address: 771 Orchard St. Jan Jose, Calif., Birth Date February 9, 1888 [sic], Citizenship: Natural Born, Birth Place: San Jose, Calif., Present Occu.: Horse (second word indecipherable), Where Emp.: Los Angeles, Calif., Married, Race: Spanish - White, Signed: Artie Ortego. Registrar's Report, Height: Short, Weight: Medium, Eye Color: Brown, Hair Color: Black, Bald: No. Precinct 12, San Jose, Calif. June 5, 1917.
  3. 1920 Los Angeles Co., CA, U.S. Federal Census, Los Angeles Township, Los Angeles City, Precinct 310, 920 W. Third St., January 13, Enumeration Dist. 213, Sheet 13 B, Page 170 B, Line 71, Arthur Ortego, Lodger, Male, White, 29, Single, Y, Y, Y, CA, CA, CA, Y, Cowboy, Motion Picture Co., Wages.
  4. "Beyond the Rio Grande (1930) - Overview -". Turner Classic Movies. Retrieved September 19, 2018.
  5. California Death Index, Name: Arthur A. Ortego, Birth Date: September 2, 1890, Mother's Maiden: Gardnos [sic], Sex: Male, Birth Place: California, Death Place: Los Angeles (70), Residence: Glendale, Death Date: July 24, 1960, SSN: 564-16-5419, Age: 70 yrs.
  6. Los Angeles County, California, Death Records, Cert. No. 13314, Arthur A. Ortego, Free Lance Actor.
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