MÉXICO.- Roberto Gómez Bolaños, better known by millions worldwide as "Chespirito", died yesterday at his home in Cancún, after deteriorating health and respiratory problems.
The actor, comedian and even playwright, was know throughout Mexico and Latin América as a comedic genius and was even seen as a symbol of Latin culture for decades. His comedy sketch show, "El Chavo del 8", continues to be on air to this day and has fans of all ages, with "El Universal" profiling a 7-year-old who cried at the news of Chespirito's death and made her mother take her to the star's home in Cancún yesterday, accompanied by older fans.
Born in 1929 in Mexico City, to Elsa Bolaños-Cacho and Francisco Gómez Linares, he had a career in television, radio and even movie writing in Mexico for famous comedians like "Viruta" and "Capulina." He made his acting debut in 1960 for a small role in the movie "Dos criados malcriados," but mostly continue to write and produce television programs and in 1968, "Chespirito" was born as a comedy sketch show and his official career name, which comes from the Spanish pronunciation for "Little Shakespeare", or "Shakespearito."
Characters created for "Chespirito" later were given their own shows for a while, but in 1980 all were brought back under one roof, which continued as "Chespirito" for 15 years. He retired in 1995 because of changes made by Televisa, as well as a desire to spend more time in theater and writing books, which he did until recent years as his health deteriorated.
Gómez Bolaños also made a movie in 1978, "El Chanfle" which broke records in its time at the Mexican box office, and also gave him enough fame and money to continue Chespirito for years.
His fame in Latin América and among Hispanics in the U.S. was widely represented in media and official condolences from political leaders, sports teams, newspapers and the general public. "Chapulín Colorad" (Red Grasshopper) was one of his most famous characters, a somewhat clumsy but always good hearted superhero that in recent years has resurged as an unofficial mascot of the Mexican National Soccer team and symbol of Mexican popular cultura as a whole, with fans and players both using his image as a way to support both the country and the character.
Do you have a favorite Chespirito memory?