​Chespirito Dies: Mexican Comedian Dies At 85

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November 30, 2021

Chespirito dies at 85 - Mexican actor and comedian Roberto Gomez Bolanos passed away at his home in Cancun, Mexico at 85.

Chespirito had lived in the coastal city, in the state of Quintana Roo, while battling health issues in recent years, according to the Examiner. The cause of his death was not immediately announced. On social media in May, Chespirito spoke about his physical status. He said that although his condition was fragile, he was “tranquil” and “happy” with his family.

In 2009, Bolanos’ health deteriorated after he underwent surgery and developed respiratory problems. It was then that he moved to Cancun, so that he would not have to use the oxygen tank he needed in Mexico City.

Bolanos was renowned for his signature character on the long-running TV series “El Chavo del Ocho” (“The Boy From Number Eight”) in which he played a youngster living in a neighborhood of the Mexican capital. The first episode of the series, which brought the actor international recognition, aired in June 1971. “The story of Chespirito is the story of Mexican television,” a CNN Mexico reporter said.

While Chespirito dies, Bolanos’ other well-known roles included El Chapulín Colorado (“The Red Grasshopper”), El Chanfle and Chompiras. After the comedian’s death was announced Friday, fans took to social media in droves to express their sadness. Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto also released a statement on Twitter.

“I profoundly lament the death of Sir Roberto Gomez Bolanos, ‘Chespirito.’ My condolences to his family … Mexico has lost an icon whose work transcended generations and borders.”

Another admirer tweeted that Chespirito “was our Robin Williams” and a “national folk hero” in his native country. “My parents, I, and now my daughter grew watching his show,” Marco Mendoza said, according to the New York Times.

Before becoming an actor, Bolanos was an amateur boxer. He studied engineering at the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM). He wrote a number of plays, and contributed dialogue for scripts of films and television shows in Mexico, as well as some character acting work before he became famous. His stage name, “Chespirito,” was given to him by a producer during Gomez Bolanos’ first years as a writer, and was concocted from the diminutive form of the Spanish pronunciation of the name of William Shakespeare or Shakespearito, meaning “Little Shakespeare”.

Chespirito was discovered as an actor while he was waiting in line to apply for a job as a writer, and soon he began writing and starring in his children’s comedy shows. Chespirito’s first show was Los Supergenios de la Mesa Cuadrada, a sketch comedy show that premiered in 1968; the show also starred Ramon Valdes, Maria Antonieta de las Nieves and Ruben Aguirre. Los Supergenios was later renamed Chespirito y la Mesa Cuadrada, and later Chespirito; characters like El Chavo, El Chapulin and Dr. Chapatin were introduced in this show (1972, 1970, and 1968 respectively).

His best known roles were in the shows El Chavo and El Chapulín Colorado. Both series premiered in 1973, and were based on sketches of the same name from Los Supergenios. The shows were produced by Mexican TV network Televisa, and aired in 124 countries. Other shows produced by and starring Chespirito were the short-lived La Chicharra from 1979, and a second version of Chespirito from 1980–1995.

In El Chavo, Chespirito played an 8-year-old boy who often took refuge inside a wooden rain barrel in a Mexican neighborhood, and in El Chapulin Colorado he played a good-hearted superhero who gets involved in humorous situations. The Simpsons creator Matt Groening has said that he created the Bumblebee Man character after watching El Chapulin Colorado in a motel on the United States-Mexico border.

El Chavo and El Chapulín Colorado have become cultural icons all over Latin America and the United States, and have also aired in many countries worldwide.

Chespirito is also noted as a composer. He started writing music as a hobby, and most of his early musical work was related to his comedy work, particularly featured in occasional Chapulin Colorado or Chavo del Ocho special episodes. Later works include the theme songs for various Mexican movies and telenovelas, such as Alguna Vez Tendremos Alas and La Dueña. A comedy song by Chespirito, “Churi Churi Fun Flais”, was slightly referenced by Puerto Rican rap duo Calle 13 in a pairing with fellow rapper Voltio, on their song “Chulin Culin Chunfly” (which used the made-up word “Culin”, a reference to the female derriere, in substitution of the second “Churi”).

He is also the creator of the theater comedy Once y Doce (Eleven and Twelve), the most successful theater comedy in Mexican history; it is still played occasionally.

While Chespirito dies at 85, his legacy will live forever. A funeral Mass for the actor will be held Sunday morning at Aztec Stadium in Mexico City, Univision reported, notes Yahoo News. The soccer venue has a seating capacity of 104,000.

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