Trini Lopez was as a multi-talented musician who also found success when he entered acting, with a starring role as one of the Dirty Dozen.
The Mexican-American singer, who had a hit in 1963 with his version of If I Had A Hammer, has died at 83.
Lopez, an accomplished guitarist, was mentored by Buddy Holly and Frank Sinatra and designed two instruments for the Gibson Guitar Corporation.
The veteran entertainer died in Palm Springs, California, of complications from coronavirus.
Dave Grohl of Foo Fighters was among those paying tribute, saying he had left “a beautiful music legacy”.
Born in Dallas to Mexican parents in 1937, Lopez formed his first band at the age of 15.
Lopez got a regular gig playing at PJ’s nightclub in west Hollywood. There, he caught the eye of Sinatra – who signed him to his record label and encouraged him to act.
His debut live album, Trini Lopez at PJ’s, was released in 1963 and featured his version of Pete Seeger’s If I Had A Hammer. The song made it to number three in the US and number four in the UK, and sold more than a million copies.
In 1966, Lopez was cast in The Dirty Dozen, a film about rogue soldiers being sent on a suicide mission during World War Two.
He acted alongside Lee Marvin and Charles Bronson in the classic.
But he clashed with director Robert Aldrich and was written out of the film. His character, Pedro Jiminez, dies off-screen after a parachute jump.
He also starred in a self-titled TV variety show in 1969.
Lopez recorded more than 60 albums and was a popular headliner in Las Vegas.
His further US successes included Kansas City and Lemon Tree, while I’m Comin’ Home Cindy was a minor UK hit in 1966.
He was inducted into the International Latin Music Hall of Fame in 2003 and was honoured on the Las Vegas Walk of Stars in 2008.
Singer Pat Boone remembered Lopez as “a great guy and wonderful friend”.
He wrote on Facebook: “We both knew we were blessed to make a good living doing what we loved – making others happy.”
He was unmarried and had no children.