Actor and singer guitarist Trini Lopez, who was known for his hits “If I Had a Hammer” and and “Lemon Tree” is dead at 83 from coronavirus complications. He also co-starred The Dirty Dozen. Lopez had been “in and out” of the hospital for about two months and was working on a local 30-minute television special to raise funds for food banks. Lopez also appeared in the Frank Sinatra-Dean Martin romp Marriage on the Rocks (1965), The Poppy Is Also a Flower (1966), The Phynx (1970) and played the lead in Antonio (1973). He also guested on such series as Adam-12 and The Hardy Boys/Nancy Drew Mysteries; guest-hosted Hullabaloo a few times; appeared on several game and talk shows and variety specials. Born Trinidad Lopez to Mexican immigrant parents on May 15, 1937, in Dallas, he was given his big break by Sinatra, who signed the young singer to a long-term deal on his Reprise Records. “If I Had a Hammer” spent three weeks at No. 3 on the Billboard 100 in summer 1963. It was a radio favorite for many years.
Lopez formed his first band in Wichita Falls, Texas, at the age of 15. They worked at The Vegas Club. His debut live album, Trini Lopez at PJ’s was released in 1963. During the 1960s and 1970s, Lopez moved into acting, though his film career was not as successful as his music. In 1993, a Golden Palm Star on the Palm Springs, California Walk of Stars was dedicated to him.