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  • Edición impresa de Diciembre 2, 2014

El Chapulín Colorado

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Roberto Gómez Bolaños, a Mexican comic actor, writer and director familiar around the world for his iconic characters El Chavo and El Chapulín Colorado, died on Friday, November 28, in Cancún, Mexico. He was 85.

Mr. Bolaños, known by his nickname Chespirito, was on Mexican television for more than 40 years, and millions of children across the Spanish-speaking world and beyond came of age watched his programs in syndication. His situation comedy “El Chavo del Ocho” (“The Boy from No. 8”).

Roberto Gómez Bolaños was born on Feb. 21, 1929, in Mexico City. His father, Francisco Gómez Linares, was a noted painter and illustrator.

Mr. Bolaños, an engineer by training, started writing at an advertising agency when he was 22. Soon he would try his hand at radio, television and movie scripts. Success followed and by the late 1950s he had begun contributing to the highest-rated television shows in Mexico. It was during that time that he earned his nickname “Chespirito,” or “Little Shakespeare,” from Agustín P. Delgado, the television and film director.

In 1966, his character El Chapulín Colorado, or the Crimson Grasshopper, was born. Mr. Bolaños played a cocky but dimwitted superhero who always caught the bad guys through sheer luck.

“El Chavo del Ocho” appeared a year later, in 1971. Mr. Bolaños played a freckled 8-year-old orphan who lives in a barrel and is constantly getting into trouble. The show had instructive and heartwarming story lines that touched on friendship, family and even class.

“El Chavo,” which ceased production in 1992, continues to average millions of daily viewers in all of the markets where it is distributed in the Americas.

To stay in touch with fans, he joined Twitter in 2011 and posted: “Hello. I’m Chespirito. I’m 82 years old and this is the first time I tweet. This is my debut.”

He ended the message with a popular refrain used by El Chapulin Colorado, “Good people, follow me!” By the time of his death, he had more than six million followers.

Mr. Bolaños is survived by his second wife, the actress Florinda Meza (who played Doña Florinda, Quico’s mother, in “El Chavo”), as well as six children from his first marriage, to Graciela Fernández, and 12 grandchildren.

 


 

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