• Morgan Fagg

Zorro, The Man Behind the Mask

Updated: Oct 11, 2019

Who was the real masked Mexican man?

Picture Zorro in your head and you might immediately imagine Antonio Banderas wearing a mask and picture an Irish man in a black mask and you might imagine someone wearing a balaclava but according to the Irish Times and researchers in Mexico and Ireland, Zorro was actually from Wexford.


Zorro means fox in Spanish but the incredible Mr Fox doesn't sound as exciting as the swashbuckling adventurer we expect when we imagine Antonio Banderas in a mask but reading about the life and times of Guillén Lombardo in the Irish Times we can glimpse behind the mask and see the man who inspired the fictional foxy adventurer, Zorro.

People are always surprised to think that the actor who played Íñigo Montoya in the fairytale adventure The Princess Bride was actually an American Jew rather than the Spaniard he played, likewise, people find it hard not to imagine Spanish actor Antonio Banderas as the Mexican hero Zorro even though we are now discovering that the legend is based on an Irishman who keeps getting into trouble in both Mexico and Spain.


Mandy Patinkin's line, "Hello my name is Iñigo Montoya, you killed my father. Prepare to die" is instantly recognisable to any fan of the film but sadly Guillén Lombardo whose real name was William Lambard has not been recognised or remembered until very recently.


Lambard Who?

I'm imagining a blonder man in a mask than the man from Malaga, Antonio Banderas and I can't help but think of Wesley from the Rob Reiner classic Princess Bride.


Just like actor Cary Elwes' character, William Lambard left England and ran away with pirates where he met some actual Spaniards in Northern Spain.


I'm sure some of them were left handed swordsmen and that Lombardo must have come close to death on numerous occasions as he travelled with pirates around Spain but let's skip to the end where the gifted linguist arrives as Zorro in Mexico instead and quickly move past his adventures in England and España.



Just like actor Cary Elwes, Mexicans will always see Zorro as a Robin Hood character.


Romanticed for stealing from the rich and gaving to the poor and helping the Indians but there was no happy ending for the revolutionary William Lambard as he was burnt at the stake as part of the Spanish Inquisition.


Sent by Spain to Mexico he later became an enemy of Spain and payed for it with his life.

DEATH FIRST: His life in Mexico and Spain apparantly came to an end when he hanged himself with a rope used to tie him to the stake, before burning to death.


He died a horrible death and the fictional Iñigo Montoyo and the very real Andre the Giant were not there to rescue Lambard and he was almost forgotten until a retired Mexican general created a character called Guillén Lombardo in the style of Alexandro Duma's The Three Musketeers.


Before you can say, "Inconceivable" I hope I have forever changed the look of the man behind the mask.

If you want to remember the life and Times of the Irish legend Guillén Lombardo then please say out loud while holding a sword in either your left or right hand:


Hello, My name is William Lambard, I died in Mexico but I was from Wexford.

Hello, My name is William Lambard, I died in Mexico but I was from Wexford.

Hello, My name is William Lambard, I died in Mexico but I was from Wexford.


There is a shortage of perfect fairytales, it would be a shame to forget this one.

Source: https://www.irishtimes.com/life-and-style/abroad/the-mark-of-lamport-the-real-zorro-was-from-wexford-1.3059440


Images taken from the 1987 film, The Princess Bride which was based on the book written by William Golding and directed by Rob Reiner.


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© 2018 by Morgan Fagg.