If young girls were to be ask about their idea of the man of their dreams, they would probably say he must be tall, dark and handsome—and intelligent as well. In his heyday, none would probably best fit the bill than John Gavin, a film actor and a former diplomat who is best known for his role of Sam Loomis, Janet Leigh’s lover in Alfred Hitchcock’s 1960 thriller, “Psycho.”
Born John Anthony Golenor Pablos in Los Angeles, California on April 8, 1931, John Gavin was a fifth generation “Angeleno” because his father, Herald Golenor, who later changed his surname to Gavin descended from the early landowners in California which was then a Spanish colony. John’s mother on the other hand, is a native of Mexico who descended from the powerful Pablos clan of Sonora.
Because of his heritage, It is not surprising that John Gavin is bilingual—fluent both in English and Spanish and nurtured an early interest in Latin America which enabled him to graduated with honors from Stanford University where he took up Latin American economic history. With the outbreak of the Korean Conflict, he served as an air intelligence officer with the Office of Naval Intelligence from 1952 to 1955.
After John Gavin was discharged from the Navy, Universal Studio offered him a screen test and a contract and was positioned to be the next Rock Hudson. In 1956, Gavin made his film debut in “Behind the High Wall,” and three years later he got his first major lead role in “Imitation of Life” opposite Lana Turner, which was a big hit. In 1960, he achieved film recognition in two classic movies—Alfred Hitchcock’s “Psycho” and Stanley Kubrick’s “Spartacus.”
After a year, John Gavin was appointed to the position of special adviser to the secretary general of the Organization of American States and performed as well task-group work for the U.S. Department of State and the Executive Office of the President of the United States. Leaving Hollywood for good, he pursued business interests that took him to Mexico and other South American countries. When Ronald Reagan assumed the Presidency of the United States in the 80s, he appointed Republican John Gavin as U.S. Ambassador to Mexico. He is also a member of the Congressional Policy Advisory Board as an expert on defense and foreign policy. From 1991 to 1994, he served as Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of the Century Council, a non-profit organization that endeavors to fight alcohol abuse focused on drunk driving and underage drinking problems.