Don Francisco (television host)

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Don Francisco
Don Francisco(2).jpg
Born Mario Luis Kreutzberger Blumenfeld
(1940-12-28) December 28, 1940 (age 74)
Talca, Chile
Residence Miami, Florida
Nationality Chilean and American
Other names Don Francisco
Citizenship Chile
Occupation Television host
Years active 1962–present
Home town Santiago, Chile
Television Sábado Gigante,
Don Francisco Presenta
Religion Jewish
Spouse(s) Teresa "Temmy" Muchnik Rosenblum (1963-present; 3 children)

Mario Luis Kreutzberger Blumenfeld (born December 28, 1940), better known by his stage name, Don Francisco, is a Chilean television host, and a popular personality on the Univision network reaching Spanish-speaking viewers in the United States. He is best known for hosting the former variety shows Sábado Gigante and Don Francisco Presenta.


Don Francisco was born in Talca, Chile, to Erick Kreutzberger and Anna Blumenfeld Neufeld, German Jewish immigrants who fled to Chile to escape Nazi persecution.[1][2]


Francisco started a TV show in 1962, and he named it Sábado Gigante on Canal 13. In it, he adapted many of the formulas he had seen in American television to the Chilean public. The show became an instant hit that had lasted over 53 years. In 1986, the show began to be produced by Univision in Miami, Florida, with the same formula used in Chile, with the slightly different name of Sábado Gigante. In the following six years Kreutzberger developed a three-hour-long variety show, including contests, comedy, interviews and a traveling camera section. The traveling camera, or Cámara Viajera (originally La Película Extranjera, The Foreign Movie), has taken "Don Francisco" to over 185 countries worldwide, many of them more than once.[citation needed] Kreutzberger in his show has interviewed many celebrities, including Roberto Durán, Cristina Saralegui, Sussan Taunton, Charytín, Bill Clinton, George W. Bush, Barack Obama, Bill Gates and many others. In addition, his show has launched the careers of famous entertainers, such as Lili Estefan, Sissi Fleitas, and numerous more. Kreutzberger appeared as himself in the movie The 33, about the 2010 Copiapó mining accident.

Television career[edit]

Kreutzberger has also hosted Chilean versions of ¿Quién merece ser millonario? (which is based on the original British format of the international Who Wants to Be a Millionaire? franchise), Deal or No Deal, and Atrapa los Millones (which is based on the American format of the international Money Drop franchise). He hosted the first three seasons of Atrapa los Millones before retiring from the program in 2014; Diana Bolocco became the show's new host for the program's fourth season in 2015.

He voiced Governor Bernardo de Galvez in a 2003 episode, "The Great Galvez", of a PBS Kids show Liberty's Kids.

In 2012, Sabado Gigante celebrated 50 years on air.

On April 18, 2015, Don Francisco announced his show would come to an end in September after 53 years on air; Sábado Gigante aired its final episode called "Hasta Siempre" on September 19, 2015.

Personal Life[edit]

Kreutzberger promotes and hosts the Teletón, a TV charity show for disabled Chilean children; there have been 22 telethons over 30 years. He is also the Hispanic spokesperson for the US Muscular Dystrophy Association, in which he also appears in a pre-recorded piece on its annual telethon, to appeal to Hispanics to donate.

Kreutzberger was also the first host of the Teletón USA telethon, which was introduced in December 2012 on the Univision network; the event and charity is based on the popular Teleton(Chile) the Chilean Teleton.


His show was in world's longest running TV variety show, according to Guinness World Records.[3]

Kreutzberger has received numerous awards and a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame (on 7018 Hollywood Blvd.).[4]

On March 1, 2012, Kreutzberger was inducted into the Television Academy Hall of Fame.[5]

On September 8, 2015, the city of New York named a street in the Washington Heights district in honor of Kreutzberger, named "Don Francisco Boulevard".[6]

Celebrity advertising[edit]

Don Francisco has been in commercials for La Curaçao Department Stores. He was even present for the opening of La Curaçao's South Gate, California and Arizona locations.

He also appears in TV spots for the Mexican telecom company Claro.

In 2010, the U.S. Social Security Administration enlisted Don Francisco to appear in a series of public service announcements to reach out to American Hispanics about the benefits of Social Security.[7]


In 1992, Kreutzberger was sued by one of his models for sexual harassment, but the suit was settled out of court.[1]

See also[edit]


External links[edit]