YAQUI ACTOR ABEL FERNANDEZ DIED—STARRED IN THE UNTOUCHABLES
Born July 14, 1930, in Los Angeles, Abel’s mother was Yaqui; father was of Mexican Indian descent. At age 16, he joined the Army’s 11th Airborne Division & was middleweight champion of Asiatic Forces. Turning pro as a heavyweight in 1950, he quit the ring in 1953 after he sent 3 foes to the hospital & “spent most of my time visiting them.” Fernández débuted in the 1953 gangster drama Second Chance. In 1956, in The Harder They Fall, he played a boxer reluctant to throw a fight. After bit parts as a Native American warrior in several TV Westerns, he was cast in a 1959 pilot, The Scarface Mob, that turned into the TV series The Untouchables (1960-63). Abel and star Robert Stack were the only actors to reprise their roles–a rare case of Native Americans being cast outside Westerns on TV. His character was based on Untouchable William Jennings Gardner, of Chippewa ancestry. Aside from small parts thereafter, he produced theatrical shows for disadvantaged children. Fernandez died in Whittier, California.
Sources: “Obituary: Abel Fernandez, TV and film actor,” The Scotsman, 5/12/2014. Retrieved, 10/11/2021, Obituary: Abel FernÃ¡ndez, TV and film actor | The Scotsman Photo: ABC Television, 9/22/1960 (cropped). Public Domain.