Henry Darrow

Lightning in the Bottle

Non-Fiction - Biography
392 Pages
Reviewed on 03/05/2014
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Author Biography

JAN PIPPINS is a born tourist who has walked along the Bosporus and ridden horseback through the Peruvian desert. Writing Henry Darrow’s biography transported her through the fascinating landscape of a performer’s life. “It was like a wonderful trip across time with somebody else’s ticket and baggage,” she says.
Dedicated to presenting Darrow’s life story accurately, she told film critic/author Leslie Halpern, “While writing the book, I was acutely aware that I had a significant responsibility. This kind and charming man, his wonderful wife, friends and family entrusted me with their stories. I owed my best work to everyone involved, including eventual readers."
She lives in Louisiana with her husband, Mike.

    Book Review

Reviewed by Lit Amri for Readers' Favorite

Enrique Tomás Delgado, better known as Henry Darrow, is a Puerto Rican-American actor best remembered for his role as Manolito Montoya in the 1960s television series The High Chaparral. He also played Don Alejandro de la Vega in the popular 1990s television series Zorro, the first Latino to portray the iconic role. He is the first Latino to win a Daytime Emmy for Best Supporting Actor in the TV soap opera Santa Barbara in 1990. In 2012, he received the prestigious ALMA award for Lifetime Achievement from the National Council of La Raza (NCLR). Co-authored by Jan Pippins and with an introduction by Luis I. Reyes, Henry Darrow: Lightning in the Bottle is a fascinating biography of this talented actor who was greatly instrumental in helping Latino actors land non-stereotyped parts.

First of all, I am absolutely delighted to find a biography of the famous “Manolito Montoya.” Henry Darrow may not be familiar to some of today’s generation, but to those who have known him since High Chaparral (1967 to 1971), an American Western-themed television series which also starred Leif Erickson and Cameron Mitchell, he was and still is a prolific Puerto Rican-American actor. Henry Darrow: Lightning in the Bottle is a nostalgic and gripping look at Hollywood in the '60s. Darrow is a perfect subject as someone who presents Latino actors as forces to be reckoned with. The writing of this biography leans more towards a journalistic style which resonates with honesty, wittiness, and even Darrow’s struggles in the entertainment industry. Inspiring and an absolute joy to read, I highly recommend this to all my fellow readers.

Michelle Randall

Henry Darrow was originally born as Enrique Tomas Delgado in New York City. His parents were Puerto Rican immigrants that settled in New York. This biography tells the story of Henry's life, his name change, and his passion for acting. He studied acting in school, even getting a scholarship to earn his college degree in acting. He worked numerous jobs, only to be told he was too ethnic for one part and not ethnic enough for the next. Jan Pippins pulls no punches in the telling of Henry's story, and the double standards and stereotypes that he had to deal with as a Puerto Rican. The overriding factor in his success was that he was a brilliant actor. He became an icon for many minority groups and was a trailblazer.

Henry Darrow: Lighting In A Bottle takes you into the life of Henry, his upbringing and schooling, his career and marriage, his acting successes and failures. It is well written and gives a true to life view of how things were in the era when Henry made his mark on the world. He could be called the acting world's Jackie Robinson. His biggest break came when he was cast to play in a TV series called The High Chaparral. This show followed on the success of Bonanza, but in a different way. There is one whole section of the book that is dedicated to the time he was shooting this show. Not only giving insight into him, but others of the time as well, Jan Pippins does a remarkable job of bringing to life the story of a man who blazed a new trail for minority actors, and became a legend in the doing. This is a great read for anyone who needs encouragement to do something they don't think they can do.

Mamta Madhavan

Henry Darrow: Lightning in the Bottle by Jan Pippins and Henry Darrow Delgado is a biographical novel that gives an insight into the life of a talented actor. Henry Darrow (born Enrique Tomás Delgado) was the first Puerto Rican to star in a television series in America, opening the doors to other Latino actors. His portrayal of Zorro was remarkable and he was the first Latino to win a Daytime Emmy for Best Supporting Actor. He was also awarded the prestigious ALMA award from the National Council of La Raza in 2012. This book is dedicated to all his fans who supported him throughout his career.

Apart from speaking about the actor's life, the book also shares some details about the television industry and the current Latino actors in Hollywood. The book speaks about the charisma and personality of the actor and it includes a lot of interesting stories about him. The author speaks about his life, mistakes, and struggles with honesty and without being biased. The author does not hesitate to share those moments, too, which might make him less popular with readers. Fans of Henry Darrow can see themselves living through his moments in life while reading the book.

It is not only an insightful book but also a courageous one. The topic of ethnic identity is also discussed. The book has captured the personality of the actor very well and his immense stage presence and vitality shines through the writing. The honesty in the details make it an appealing story.