|Birth name||Roberto Gómez Bolaños|
21 February 1929 |
Mexico City, Mexico
|Medium||Television, film, music, theatre, comic books|
|Genres||Physical comedy, sitcom, satire|
|Subject(s)||Children, language, superheroes, social issues|
|Spouse||Florinda Meza (m. 2004)|
|Notable works and roles||Chespirito
El Chapulín Colorado
El Chavo del Ocho
Roberto Gómez Bolaños (born 21 February 1929), more commonly known by his pseudonym Chespirito, is a Mexican screenwriter, actor, comedian, film director, television director, playwright, songwriter, and author. He is internationally known for writing, directing, and starring in the Chespirito, El Chapulín Colorado, and El Chavo del Ocho television series.
Life and work
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 President Gustavo 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 (Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México). 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 Shakespierito, meaning "Little Shakespeare" or "Little Shakespeare Boy".
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 he played a good-hearted superhero who gets involved in humorous situations. The Simpsons creator Matt Groening has declared that he created the Bumblebee Man character after watching El Chapulín Colorado in a motel on the United States–Mexico border.
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.
- Los Supergenios de la Mesa Cuadrada (1968–1973), renamed Chespirito y la Mesa Cuadrada in 1970, and simply Chespirito in 1971.
- El Ciudadano Gómez (1968–1969; 1973; 1994–1995), a parody of the Citizen Kane.
- Dr. Chapatín (1968–1979; 1980–1995), one of the presenters of Los Supergenios, also starred in sketches in the show, also appeared in the El Chapulín Colorado half-hour show of 1973-1979. He represents an old doctor that constantly has fights and confusions due to his old age and hitting the people with a paper bag whose contains were never revealed on-sketch. In an interview, Chespirito revealed that Dr. Chapatín carried in his bag all the bad feelings of the people, that is why it hurts a lot. Dr. Chapatín's character did a small cameo in the movie El Chanfle 2.
- Chespirito (character) (1968–1975; 1980-1986; 1991-1992; 1994-1995), occasionally starred sketches of the Los Supergenios as a "character".
- El Chapulín Colorado (1970-1973; 1973-1979; 1980-1993), second most successful character of Bolaños; become a weekly half-hour show in 1973. An ingenous but brave superhero that always tries to help the people in problems.
- Los Chifladitos (1970-1972; 1980-1995), starred alongside Rubén Aguirre, one of the main sketches of the Los Supergenios until Aguirre left the show. Chespirito did Chaparron Bonaparte and Aguirre, Lucas Tañeda, as a pair of demented characters that ran in several confusions by the use of puns and the unexpected convulsions of Chaparron called "Chiripiorcas".
- Los Caquitos (1970–1975; 1980–1995) became the third most successful creation of Bolaños, sketches were created until 1975. Originally the pair was Chespirito as Chómpiras and Ramón Valdés as Peterete. In the sketches of the 80s Chespirito show, Edgar Vivar took the place of Valdés, playing a new character named El Botija, while Florinda Meza get a new character for the sketches: La Chimoltrufia, Botija's wife. It became Chespirito main act in the last years of his program due to being too old to perform his other characters.
- Los Chiripiojos (1972), little is known about this character since all its sketches are lost.
- El Chavo del Ocho (1972-1973; 1973-1980; 1980-1992), created as immediate successor of Los Chifladitos; become a weekly half-hour show in 1973. Is about a poor kid that lives in a small neighborhood with other families that shares comic situations. It's Chespirito's most successful character.
- La Chicharra (1979-1982), half-hour show that substituted El Chapulín Colorado in 1979. He tried to create something new with a reporter in a newspaper that happens to take the wrong news in the wrong place. The show's lead character, Vicente Chambon, originally appeared as part of Chespirito in its early days.
- Don Calavera (1994–1995), the last character created by Chespirito, appears only in the 1980–1995 version of the Chespirito show.
- Música de viento (1988)
- El Charrito (1984)
- Don ratón y don ratero (1983)
- El Chanfle 2 (1982)
- El Chanfle (1979)
- El amor de María Isabel (1971)
- El cuerpazo del delito (1970)
- La princesita y vagabunda (1969)
- La hermana Trinquete (1969)
- Operación carambola (1968)
- Las tres magníficas (1968)
- El zángano (1967)
- Dos criados malcriados (1960)
- Dos locos en escena (1960)
- ¡Que vivan los muertos! (1998)
- Once y Doce (1994)
- Charrito (1984)
- El Chanfle II (1982)
- El Chanfle (1979)
- ¡Ahí madre! (1970)
- Fray Dólar (1970)
- La princesa hippie (1969)
- Operación carambola (1968)
- El camino de los espantos (1967)
- Un novio para dos hermanas (1966)
- Los reyes del volante (1965)
- Los astronautas (1964)
- Los invisibles (1963)
- ¡En peligro de muerte! (1962)
- Pegando con tubo (1961)
- Limosneros con garrote (1961)
- Dos tontos y un loco (1961)
- Los desenfrenados (1960)
- El dolor de pagar la renta (1960)
- Los tigres del desierto (1960)
- Dos criados malcriados (1960)
- Vagabundo y millonario (1959)
- Angelitos del trapecio (1959)
- Los legionarios (1958)
On November 19, 2004, after 27 years together, he married actress and longtime companion Florinda Meza, who starred as Doña Florinda in El Chavo. After show production was stopped for El Chavo and El Chapulín, both toured Mexico and the rest of Latin America and the United States with different plays, sometimes playing the characters that made them famous.
Chespirito and Edgar Vivar once received an award from a Laurel and Hardy fan club for performing the funniest impersonation of Laurel and Hardy in Latin America. This impersonation was made during an episode of El Chapulín Colorado.
During the 2000 and the 2006 Presidential electoral campaigns in Mexico he openly supported the PAN (Partido Acción Nacional, National Action Party) in a TV commercial urging people to vote for this party just like him.
In 2006, he started a campaign against the legalization of abortion in Mexico City. He also wrote the books El Diario de El Chavo del Ocho ("Diary From the Kid from Number 8"), ...Y También Poemas ("...And Poems Too") and Sin Querer Queriendo: Memorias ("Accidentally on Purpose: Memoirs").
In 2008, he went to Peru to present himself as Chespirito in the auditorium of the Colegio San Agustín of Lima.
In 2012, Chespirito was honored by his friends and former cast members, putting an end to many rumors that the comedian was dying. Even so, former colleagues such as Edgar Vivar expressed their concern publicly for Chespirito's poor health.
Two themes from Jean-Jacques Perrey, "The Elephant Never Forgets" and "Baroque Hoedown" were used as the main themes for El Chavo del Ocho and El Chapulin Colorado. A 2009 lawsuit by the composers against him and Mexican multimedia conglomerate Televisa was settled in 2010, as a compensation for the network's non-payment of the use of these melodies.
- Gómez Bolaños, Roberto (2007). Sin querer queriendo. Penguin Random House Grupo Editorial México. ISBN 9786071110565.
- Chespirito at the Internet Movie Database
- Official website
- Chespirito's Official Twitter account
- Episodes guide, videos, collectibles, etc