Born in Churubusco, a suburb of Mexico City, and raised in Texas, he studied at California Polytechnic State University where he graduated with an engineering degree. He began his acting career at the stage in Mexico City, entering films there in 1935. During the next years he made 42 Spanish-language films, among them "Maria Candelaria" (1943) and "La Perla" (1947), becoming one of Mexico`s top film stars. His first American film was "The Fugitive" for RKO in 1947. Since then he costarred in more than 80 films in Hollywood, England, France, Germany and Italy. Credits include "Fort Apache" (1948), "Three Godfathers", "We Were Strangers" (1949), "El Bruto" (1952), "The Littlest Outlaw" (1955), "The Conqueror" (1956), "La Cucaracha" (1958) and "The Wonderful Country" (1959). When Armendariz was taken ill while filming the second James Bond film "From Russia With Love" his scenes were rushed through so he could return to L.A. for treatment and he entered UCLA Medical Center. Learning he had terminal cancer he killed himself there with a gunshot.