After two years of making movies with Lvn Studios, he signed another contract with the Santiagos and became the mainstay movie player on that studio.
He then made several pictures with Premiere Production. He married Gloria Sevilla, another Premiere Production siren.
Cortez won a Filipino Academy of Movie Arts and Sciences Award for Best Supporting Actor in 1970. His last film was "Campus Scandal" (1998).
In 1998, Philippine President Joseph Estrada, a former actor and colleague of Cortez, named Cortez as General Consul of the Philippines in San Francisco. Ailing from tuberculosis, he was replaced as consul in 2001 and died in 2003. Cortez was awarded a posthumous lifetime achievement award in 2003 by the Filipino Academy of Movie Arts and Sciences.