Page 3 Profile: Roberto Gomez Bolanos, comedian

 

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The Independent Online

Who’s this Lycra-clad man and why the antennae?

A beloved Mexican comedian who passed away last week has been given a remarkable send-off in his home country, with an estimated 40,000 fans turning out to pay tribute to him. Roberto Gomez Bolanos, who died of heart failure last week, aged 85, entertained generations of Latin American children.

I can’t say I’m familiar with any of his material…

Known as Chespirito (‘Little Shakespeare’), Bolanos served as the real-life inspiration for a character in the Simpsons. The programme’s creator Matt Groening has previously said the Spanish-speaking Bumblebee Man was based on Gomez Bolanos’ naïve Red Grasshopper character in El Chapulin Colorado.

What were the highlights of his comedic career?

Born in Mexico City in 1929, Bolanos’ career spanned from the 1950s to the present day. In addition to penning hundreds of television episodes, he wrote 20 films and theatre productions. The comedian’s shows were watched by millions and have been exported to more than 25 countries, including Thailand and Russia. His TV show Chespirito, which he said was inspired by Laurel and Hardy, ran for 25 years. In a 2005 interview with the Mexican newspaper La Jornada, the father-of-six and grandfather-of-12 said he always wrote with working class people in mind. I always tried to … reach everyone, but especially the simple people, those who needed to be reached more than anyone else.”

Now Mexico is mourning his loss?

He touched the nation but his funeral was an uplifting occasion by all accounts. A coffin bearing the entertainer’s remains was carried into Mexico City’s Azteca Stadiumas the crowds chanted his name and his widow Florinda Meza, who featured in his TV shows, waved to fans, many of whom has dressed up for the occasion, sporting the costumes of some of his most popular comic characters. Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto said: “Mexico has lost an icon whose work has transcended generations and borders.”

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