The singer, guitarist and actor passed away in Palm Springs, California on Tuesday. He was 83 years old. He was most known for his role of Pedro Jiminez in the 1967 classic war film The Dirty Dozen. An accomplished guitarist and musician, Lopez also sang a popular cover version of the American standard If I Had A Hammer on his 1963 debut album. Throughout his decades-long musical career, Trini released dozens of albums including live and greatest hits collections. He was a well known performer both in Palm Springs as well as in Las Vegas.
The news was first shared via Palm Springs Life Magazine, since Lopez was a longtime resident of the Southern California desert enclave and died there. Lopez, whose parents were both from Mexico, was born in Dallas, Texas in 1937.
He started playing guitar in bands at the age of 15. At 19, his band the Big Beats signed with Columbia Records after recording with Buddy Holly producer Norman Petty.
Shortly thereafter, Trini went solo, first unsuccessfully with King Records in 1962. But a year later, he landed a residency at nightclub PJ’s in Los Angeles, California.
It was there that Frank Sinatra saw Lopez and went on to sign him to his Reprise Records.
Throughout his decades-long musical career, the prolific Trini released dozens of albums including live and greatest
It was on Reprise that Trini released his smash debut album Trini Lopez at PJ’s, which included a hit cover of If I Had a Hammer, originally written by Pete Seeger and Lee Hays in 1949.
Throughout his decades-long musical career, the prolific Trini released dozens of albums including live and greatest hits collections, featuring hits such as Lemon Tree, Sally Was a Good Old Girl, Gonna Get Along Without Ya’ Now and The Bramble Bush. He was a well known performer both in Palm Springs as well as in Las Vegas.
As an actor, Lopez starred in the 1967 was film The Dirty Dozen directed by Robert Aldrich, opposite stars including Charles Bronson, Ernest Borgnine, Lee Marvin, Donald Sutherland, Telly Savalas and John Cassavetes in an Oscar-nominated role. He also appeared in the early 1970s television show Adam-12, as well as The Hardy Boys/Nancy Drew Mysteries.
His music has been featured in everything from TV’s Ray Donovan to films such as I’m Not There, Apollo 13 and Born on the Fourth of July. According to Palm Springs Life Magazine, Trini’s death comes just after a documentary on his life had wrapped shooting and editing.