I'm sure that many American Television viewers would not know the name Roberto Gómez Bolaños or his his pseudonym Chespirito.
He was a Mexican screenwriter, actor, comedian, film director, television director, playwright, songwriter, and author. He is widely regarded as one of the most important Spanish-language comedians of the 20th century. He was internationally known for writing, directing, and starring in the Chespirito (1968), El Chavo del Ocho (1971), and El Chapulín Colorado (1972) television series. The characters of El Chavo is one of the most iconic in the history of Latin America's television, and the shows still tuned in more than 111 million viewers worldwide each day decades later.
That means that any American who has ever channel surfed at one time has seen Chespirito's work. In fact The Simpsons creator Matt Groening has declared that he created the Bumblebee Man character after watching El Chapulín Colorado (A Mexican Comedia Super Hero parody) in a motel on the United States–Mexico border.
|Matt Groening has declared that he created the Bumblebee Man character after watching El Chapulín Colorado (A Mexican Comedia Super Hero parody) in a motel on the United States–Mexico border.|
Roberto Gómez Bolaños was born in Mexico City. His father, Francisco Gómez Linares (c. 1892 – 7 September 1935), was a painter and cartoonist from the city of Guanajuato, Guanajuato, who died of stroke at the age of 42 or 43. His mother, Elsa Bolaños Cacho Aguilar (4 April 1902 – 22 December 1968), was a bilingual secretary (fluent in both Spanish and English) from the city of Oaxaca, Oaxaca, the youngest child of Ramón Bolaños Cacho, a military doctor, and his Zacatecas-born wife, María Aguilar. Mexican PresidentGustavo Díaz Ordaz Bolaños was his first cousin once removed.
Before becoming an actor, Gómez 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 Gómez Bolaños' 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 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 Ramón Valdés, María Antonieta de las Nieves and Rubén Aguirre. Los Supergenios was later renamed Chespirito y la Mesa Cuadrada and later Chespirito; characters like El Chavo, El Chapulín and Dr. Chapatín 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 Chapulín Colorado (English: The Red Grasshopper) where he played a good-hearted superhero who gets involved in humorous situations.
El Chavo and El Chapulín Colorado have turned into cultural icons all over Latin America and the United States and have also aired in more than one-hundred countries. He also starred in Mexican movies such as El Chanfle and El Chanfle 2.
Chespirito is also noted as a musical 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 Chapulín 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.