CANTINFLAS Biography - Other artists & entretainers


Biography » other artists entretainers » cantinflas


Name: Mario Moreno Reyes                                                             
Born August 12, 1911 Mexico City, Mexico                                             
Died April 20, 1993 Mexico City, Mexico                                               
Fortino Mario Alfonso Moreno Reyes (August 12, 1911 – April 20, 1993) was a         
comedian of the Mexican theatre and film industry. He earned wide popularity         
with his interpretation of the character Cantinflas, an impoverished campesino       
slumdweller that originated in the pelado. The character came to be associated       
with the national identity of Mexico, and allowed Moreno to establish a long,         
successful film career that included a foray into Hollywood. Charlie Chaplin         
once called him "the greatest comedian in the world", and Moreno is often             
referred to as the "Charlie Chaplin of Mexico".                                       
While some of his films were dubbed into English for American audiences, and his     
work found some favor among the people of France, the wordplay of his Spanish-language
humor did not translate particularly well into other languages. However, he was       
wildly successful in Spanish-speaking Latin America, where he still has many         
devoted fans.                                                                         
As a pioneer of the cinema of Mexico, Moreno helped usher in its golden era. His     
success, as part of Mexico's cinematic blossoming, helped establish Mexico as         
the entertainment capital of Latin America. In addition to being a business           
leader, he also became involved in Mexico's tangled and often dangerous labor         
politics. Although he was himself politically conservative, his reputation as a       
spokesperson for the downtrodden gave his actions authenticity and became             
important in the early struggle against charrismo, the one-party government's         
practice of coopting and controlling unions.                                         
Moreover, his character Cantinflas, whose identity became enmeshed with his own,     
was examined by media critics, philosophers, anthropologists, and linguists, who     
saw him variably as a danger to Mexican society, a bourgeois puppet, a kind           
philanthropist, a venture capitalist, a transgressor of gender roles, a pious         
Catholic, a verbal innovator, and a picaresque underdog.                             
In effect, Moreno was all of these. His character Cantinflas, in attempting to       
encompass the identity of an entire nation, developed the contradictions and         
complexities inherent in any attempt to epitomize a country as complex and           
contradictory as Mexico.