Rafael Campos

Rafael Campos (13 May 1936 - 9 July 1985) was an actor from the Dominican Republic whose credits include Blackboard Jungle (1955), Dino (1957), The Light in the Forest (1958), Slumber Party '57 (1976), The Astro-Zombies (1968), Centennial (1978) and V (1983). He was also, for a brief period of time, married to the blues singer and pianist, Dinah Washington.

Rafael Campos
Born(1936-05-13)May 13, 1936
DiedJuly 9, 1985(1985-07-09) (aged 49)
Years active1955 - 1985


Originally from the Dominican Republic, he moved to the United States in 1949.[1] From 1961 to 1962, he was married to Dinah Washington, who was twelve years his senior.[2] In 1961, Jet magazine published a photo with Washington embracing both Campos, reportedly her seventh husband, and her ex-husband Eddie Chamblee, reportedly her fifth husband.[3] He then married the model Sally Boyd, with whom he had two daughters.[4]

He was diagnosed with stomach cancer and entered hospital in December 1984. He died on 10 July 1985, aged 49. He was survived by his two daughters, five brothers and three sisters.[1]

One of Campos's brothers is the cryptographer, artist, and poet Luis Campos; another brother, Fernando Campos, is the president of New York's Latin ACE awards.[5]


Campos had a career that lasted 30 years.[6] He was spotted by the director Richard Brooks during a theater production of Heavenly Express. Thanks to Brooks,[6] he had a starring role alongside Vic Morrow, Margaret Hayes and Sidney Poitier in the 1955 film Blackboard Jungle.[7] In the 1955 film Trial, he played the part of a Chicano teenager wrongfully accused of murdering a white girl from a rich family at a beach party. He is being defended by a college law instructor, played by Glenn Ford.[8] Other appearances include an episode of Have Gun – Will Travel, playing a teenager who stole a statue of St. Francis of Assisi. During the 1960s, he was in the Ted V. Mikels-directed film, The Astro-Zombies, which starred John Carradine, Wendell Corey and Tura Satana. He played the part of Juan.[9]

Among his TV credits is a 1962 appearance on Alfred Hitchcock Presents, titled “The Big Score.” He played the lead as a teen gang member who kills and robs a man who turns out to be a mob boss. Rafael had a memorable role in an episode of All In the Family where Archie is told to lay off part of his crew at work and from 1977 to 1978, the actor had a recurring role as Ramon Diaz Jr. in the series Rhoda.[10][6] He appeared in ten episodes of the show.[11]

Possibly his last credited film role was in 1986, in The Return of Josey Wales, in which he played Chato.[12]


Rafael Campos, 49, died of stomach cancer Tuesday, July 9, 1985, at the Motion Picture and Television Hospital in Woodland Hills, and was buried at Pierce Brothers Valley Oaks Memorial Park, Westlake Village, California.


Year Title Role Notes
1955Blackboard JunglePete V. Morales
1955TrialAngel Chavez
1956The SharkfightersCarlos
1957This Could Be the NightHussein Mohammed
1957DinoBoy #2
1958The Light in the ForestHalf Arrow
1958TonkaStrong Bear
1963Savage SamYoung Warrior
1964Lady in a CageEssie
1966Agent for H.A.R.M.Luis
1966Mister BuddwingDice Player #7
1966The AppaloosaPaco
1968Girl in Gold BootsUncredited
1968The Astro-ZombiesJuan
1971Outlaw RidersPedro
1973Oklahoma CrudeJimmy
1973The Doll SquadRafael
1976Slumber Party '57Dope Fiend
1980Where the Buffalo RoamRojas
1985Fever PitchRafael
1986The Return of Josey WalesChato(final film role)


  1. "Cancer Claims Character Actor Rafael Campos", Los Angeles Times, 11 July 1985
  2. Interracial Marriage & Family - Dinah Washington and Rafael Campos – One of the Queen’s Men
  3. "We Three", Jet, February 9, 1961, page 31
  4. "Actor Rafael Campos dies of cancer", The Pantagraph, July 12, 1985, page 18
  5. "Downtown Randall Brown: Luís Campos: Celebrity of ciphers - Randall Brown", Knoxville News Sentinel, 3 May 2016
  6. "RAFAEL CAMPOS", New York Times, 12 July 1985
  7. Alt Film Guide: Anne Francis Movie Schedule: FUNNY GIRL, IMPASSE, BLACKBOARD JUNGLE
  8. Jesús Salvador Treviño, "Chicano Cinema", The New Scholar, Volume 8 (1982), pages 169-170
  9. Christopher Wayne Curry, 5. Astro Zombies Credits in Film Alchemy: The Independent Cinema of Ted V. Mikels
  10. "Rafael Campos, 49, character actor who launched his career...", Orlando Sentinel, 12 July 1985
  11. Rafael Campos (I) (1936–1985), Rhoda (TV Series), IMDb
  12. The Motion Picture Guide 1988 Annual: The Films of 1987, Cinebooks, 1 April 1997, page 246
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