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The persistent COVID-19 pandemic has claimed a number of notable individuals in the entertainment industry over the last five months, and sadly news has now broken that yet another wonderful performer has died after contracting the virus. Trinidad "Trini" López III – who was best known as a singer, but also played the notable role of Pedro Jimenez in Robert Aldrich's The Dirty Dozen – has passed away at the age of 83.
Lopez was a resident of Palm Springs, California since the 1960s, and his passing was first reported earlier today by Palm Springs Life magazine. He was born in Texas as the son of Mexican immigrants, and began to play as part of a band when he was 15, both as a singer and a guitarist. In the late 1950s his group The Big Beats signed with Columbia Records, but he soon left to pursue a solo career.
After a few years of mediocre success, Trini Lopez was discovered by Frank Sinatra, and Ol' Blue Eyes signed Lopez to a contract at his own label, Reprise Records. His first number one hit, cover of "If I Had a Hammer," when Gold off of his debut live album, and in the decade that followed he recorded a number of hits including "Lemon Tree," "I'm Comin' Home, Cindy," and "Sally Was a Good Old Girl."
Frank Sinatra was also a significant figure when it came to Trini Lopez getting into the acting game as well, as he made his big screen debut with a cameo in the Sinatra-led 1965 comedy Marriage on the Rocks (the song Lopez recorded for the soundtrack, "Sinner Man," also became a hit single).
It was in 1967 that Trini Lopez got his biggest on-screen role in the aforementioned classic war film The Dirty Dozen. The movie featured him as #10 of the 12-man titular team, the story centering on a group of Army prisoners who are enlisted to take part in a suicide mission just prior to D-Day. The feature allowed Lopez to work alongside some of the best and most popular actors working in the industry, including Charles Bronson, Jim Brown, Robert Ryan, George Kennedy, Telly Savalas, John Cassavetes, Robert Webber and Donald Sutherland.
In memory of the incredibly talented man, we recommend taking a moment today to just sit and meditate while listening to Trini Lopez's music, as it would qualify as a soul-healing moment. If we can make a recommendation, "Lemon Tree" is most certainly a song that is guaranteed to put a smile on your face, and we've included an embed for your convenience below:
We here at CinemaBlend send our greatest condolences to Trini Lopez's friends, family, and loved ones in their time of grief.