Cantinflas Cantinflas
Mexican film actor
Cantinflas Cantinflas
Fortino Mario Alfonso Moreno Reyes, was a Mexican comic film actor, producer, and screenwriter known professionally as Cantinflas. He often portrayed impoverished campesinos or a peasant of pelado origin. The character came to be associated with the national identity of Mexico, and allowed Cantinflas to establish a long, successful film career that included a foray into Hollywood.
Biography
Cantinflas's personal information overview.
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    LATE_ADULTHOOD
  • 1993
    Age 81
    A lifelong smoker, he died of lung cancer on April 20, 1993 in Mexico City.
    More Details Hide Details Thousands appeared on a rainy day for his funeral. The ceremony was a national event, lasting three days. His body lay in state in the Rotonda de Las Personas Ilustres (The Rotunda of Illustrious Persons, formerly known as Rotunda of Illustrious men) and he was honored by many heads of state and the United States Senate, which held a moment of silence for him.
  • 1992
    Age 80
    Later in a 1992 American interview, Moreno cited the language barrier as the biggest impediment to his making it big in the United States.
    More Details Hide Details After returning to Mexico, Cantinflas starred in the comic drama El bolero de Raquel (1957), the first Cantinflas film to be distributed to the United States by Columbia Pictures. The film was followed by more Cantinflas-Reachi-Columbia productions: El analfabeto (1961), El padrecito (1963), and Su excelencia (1967). After Su excelencia, Cantinflas began to appear in a series of low-budget comedies (also directed by Miguel M. Delgado), which were produced by his own company "Cantinflas Films". These films lasted until El Barrendero, in 1982. Like Charlie Chaplin, Cantinflas was a social satirist. He played el pelado, an impoverished Everyman, with hopes to succeed. With mutual admiration, Cantinflas was influenced by Chaplin's earlier films and ideology. El Circo (the circus) was a "shadow" of Chaplin's silent film, The Circus and Si yo fuera diputado ("If I Were a Congressman") had many similarities with the 1940 film, The Great Dictator. Cantinflas' films, to this day, still generate revenue for Columbia Pictures. In 2000, Columbia reported in an estimated US$4 million in foreign distribution from the films.
    Cantinflas confirmed this version in 1992, in his last television interview.
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  • 1972
    Age 60
    A cartoon series, the Cantinflas Show, was made in 1972 starring an animated Cantinflas.
    More Details Hide Details The show was targeted for children and was intended to be educational. The second animated series animated in 1979 and dubbed in English in 1982 was a joint venture between Televisa and Hanna-Barbera and Mario Morenos voiced "Little Amigo"/Cantinflas in the Spanish version and Don Messick voiced "Little Amigo" and John Stephenson as the narrator in the English version. Both The Cantinflas Show and Amigos and Friends aired in the mid 1990s on Univision and Televisa re aired The Cantinflas Show in the mid 1990s. Although Cantinflas never achieved the same success in the United States as in Mexico, he was honored with a star in the Hollywood Walk of Fame. He earned two Golden Globe nominations (winning one) for best actor and the Mexican Academy of Film Lifetime Achievement Award. His handprints have been imbedded onto the Paseo de las Luminarias for his work in motion pictures.
  • FORTIES
  • 1956
    Age 44
    Variety magazine said in 1956 that his Chaplinesque quality made a big contribution to the success of the film.
    More Details Hide Details The film ultimately made an unadjusted $42 million at the box office (over $355 million in 2013 dollars). While David Niven was billed as the lead in English-speaking nations, Cantinflas was billed as the lead elsewhere. As a result of the film, Cantinflas became the world's best paid actor. Moreno's second Hollywood feature, Pepe, attempted to replicate the success of his first. The film had cameo appearances by Frank Sinatra, Judy Garland and other stars. His humor, deeply rooted in the Spanish language, did not translate well for the American audience and the movie was a notorious box office disappointment. He still earned a Golden Globe nomination for his part.
    In 1956, Around the World in 80 Days, Cantinflas' American debut, earned him a Golden Globe for Best Actor in a musical or comedy.
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  • 1953
    Age 41
    On August 30, 1953, Cantinflas began performing his theatrical work Yo Colón ("I, Columbus") 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.
    More Details Hide Details Critics, including the PAN and archbishop Luis María Martínez, called the mural blasphemous, and it was eventually painted without the image of the Virgin. Yo Colón placed Cantinflas in the character of Christopher Columbus, who, while continually "discovering America", made comedic historical and contemporary observations from fresh perspectives. For the first few months, he persuaded the King and Queen of Spain to fund his voyage so that he could let his wife `drive' so she could make a wrong turn and discover Mexico instead, allowing him to also discover Jorge Negrete so that the Queen - an ardent fan - could meet him. When Negrete died just before Christmas of 1953, he changed it first to Pedro Infante until his death four years later, and then finally to Javier Solis until his death in 1966.
  • TWENTIES
  • 1941
    Age 29
    Ni sangre, ni arena ("Neither Blood, nor Sand" a play on words on the bullfighter/gladiator phrase Blood and Sand), the 1941 bullfighting film, broke box-office records for Mexican-made films throughout Spanish-speaking countries.
    More Details Hide Details In 1942, Moreno teamed up with Reachi, Miguel M. Delgado, and Jaime Salvador to produce a series of low-quality parodies, including an interpretation of Chaplin's The Circus. The 1940s and 1950s were Cantinflas' heyday. In 1941, Reachi, the Producer rejected Mexican Studios companies and instead paid Columbia Pictures to produce the films in its Studios in Hollywood. By this time,Cantinflas' popularity was such that he was able to lend his prestige to the cause of Mexican labor, representing the National Association of Actors in talks with President Manuel Ávila Camacho. The talks did not go well, however, and, in the resulting scandal, Moreno took his act back to the theatre.
    In 1941, Moreno first played the role of a police officer on film in El gendarme desconocido ("The Unknown Police Officer" a play on words on "The Unknown Soldier).
    More Details Hide Details By this time, he had sufficiently distinguished the peladito character from the 1920s-era pelado, and his character flowed comfortably from the disenfranchised, marginalized, underclassman to the empowered public servant. The rhetoric of cantinflismo facilitated this fluidity. He would reprise the role of Agent 777 and be honored by police forces throughout Latin America for his positive portrayal of law enforcement.
  • 1940
    Age 28
    Before this, Reachi produced short films that allowed him to develop the Cantinflas character, but it was in 1940 that he finally became a movie star, after shooting Ahí está el detalle ("There's the rub", literally "There lies the detail"), with Sofía Álvarez, Joaquín Pardavé, Sara García, and Dolores Camarillo.
    More Details Hide Details The phrase that gave that movie its name became a "Cantinflas" (or catchphrase) for the remainder of his career. The film was a breakthrough in Latin America and was later recognized by Somos magazine as the 10th greatest film produced largely in Mexico.
  • 1939
    Age 27
    Reachi established Posa Films in 1939 with two partners: Cantinflas and Fernandez.
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  • 1936
    Age 24
    Cantinflas made his film debut in 1936 with No te engañes corazón (Don't Fool Yourself Dear) before meeting Reachi, but the film received little attention.
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    He married Valentina Ivanova Zubareff, of Russian ethnicity, on October 27, 1936, and remained with her until her death in January 1966.
    More Details Hide Details A son was born to Moreno in 1961 by another woman; the child was adopted by Valentina Ivanova and was named Mario Arturo Moreno Ivanova, causing some references to erroneously refer to him as "Cantinflas' adopted son". He served as president of one of the Mexican actors' guild known as Asociación Nacional de Actores (ANDA, "National Association of Actors") and as first secretary general of the independent filmworkers' union Sindicato de Trabajadores de la Producción Cinematográfica (STPC). Following his retirement, Moreno devoted his life to helping others through charity and humanitarian organizations, especially those dedicated to helping children. His contributions to the Roman Catholic Church and orphanages made him a folk hero in Mexico.
  • TEENAGE
  • 1930
    Age 18
    Before starting his professional life in entertainment, he explored a number of possible careers, such as medicine and professional boxing, before joining the entertainment world as a dancer. By 1930 he was involved in Mexico City's carpa (travelling tent) circuit, performing in succession with the Ofelia, Sotelo of Azcapotzalco, and finally the Valentina carpa, where he met his future wife.
    More Details Hide Details At first he tried to imitate Al Jolson by smearing his face with black paint, but later separated himself to form his own identity as an impoverished slum dweller with baggy pants, a rope for a belt, and a distinctive mustache. In the tents, he danced, performed acrobatics, and performed roles related to several different professions. In the mid-1930s, Cantinflas met publicist and producer Santiago Reachi and subsequently partnered with him to form their own film production venture. Reachi produced, directed, and distributed, while Cantinflas acted.
  • CHILDHOOD
  • 1911
    Born
    Born on August 12, 1911.
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