23 Facts About Cantinflas


Mario Fortino Alfonso Moreno Reyes, known by the stage name Cantinflas, was a Mexican comedian, actor, and filmmaker.

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Cantinflas is considered to have been the most widely-accomplished Mexican comedian and is celebrated throughout Latin America and in Spain as a popular icon.

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Cantinflas's humor, loaded with Mexican linguistic features of intonation, vocabulary, and syntax, is beloved in all the Spanish-speaking countries of Latin America and in Spain and has given rise to a range of expressions including cantinflear, cantinflada, cantinflesco, and cantinflero.

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Cantinflas often portrayed impoverished farmers or a peasant of pelado origin.

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The character allowed Cantinflas to establish a long, successful film career that included a foray into Hollywood.

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Cantinflas was one of eight children born to Pedro Moreno Esquivel, an impoverished mail carrier, and Maria de la Soledad Reyes Guizar .

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Cantinflas made it through difficult situations with the quick wit and street smarts that he would later apply in his films.

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Cantinflas married Valentina Ivanova Zubareff, of Russian ethnicity, on 27 October 1936 and remained with her until her death in January 1966.

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In 1961, Cantinflas appeared with Vice President Lyndon B Johnson at shopping centers and supermarkets in San Antonio, Texas, to support the successful Democratic nominee to the United States House of Representatives for Texas's 20th congressional district, Henry B Gonzalez, who defeated his Republican challenger, John W Goode.

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Cantinflas confirmed as much in 1992, in his last television interview.

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Cantinflas made his film debut in 1936 with No te enganes corazon before meeting Reachi, but the film received little attention.

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On 30 August 1953, Cantinflas began performing his theatrical work Yo Colon in the Teatro de los Insurgentes, the same theatre that had earlier been embroiled in a controversy over a Diego Rivera mural incorporating Cantinflas and the Virgin of Guadalupe.

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Cantinflas's humor, deeply rooted in the Spanish language, did not translate well for the American audience and the movie was a notorious box office disappointment.

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Cantinflas still earned a Golden Globe nomination for his part.

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Cantinflas played el pelado, an impoverished Everyman, with hopes to succeed.

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Life long smoker, Cantinflas died of lung cancer on 20 April 1993 in Mexico City.

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Cantinflas was honored by many heads of state and the United States Senate, which held a moment of silence for him.

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Cantinflas's ashes lay at the crypt of the Moreno Reyes family, in the Panteon Espanol in Mexico City.

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The Cantinflas character was particularly adept at obfuscating the conversation when he owed somebody money, was courting an attractive young woman, or was trying to talk his way out of trouble with authorities, whom he managed to humiliate without their even being able to tell.

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Cantinflas earned two Golden Globe nominations for best actor and the Mexican Academy of Film Lifetime Achievement Award.

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Cantinflas's handprints have been imbedded onto the Paseo de las Luminarias for his work in motion pictures.

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Cantinflas is sometimes seen as a Mexican Groucho Marx character, one who uses his skill with words to puncture the pretensions of the wealthy and powerful, the police and the government, with the difference that he strongly supported democracy.

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Gregorio Luke, executive director of the Museum of Latin American Art said, "To understand Cantinflas is to understand what happened in Mexico during the last century".

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