|Mario Mareno Reyes was the sixth son of 15 children, who became a world-wide cinema super star, was married to the same woman for 30 years. He was known as Cantinflas.|
|There are two
stories about how he chose that name. One story is that his family regarded show
business as less than respectable, and so he changed his name in order to avoid
bringing shame upon them. The other is that, at one of his first nightclub
engagements, a heckler taunted him with, "En la cantina, tu inflas!" For some reason, this taunt amused him, and he shortened
it into Cantinflas.|
Cantinflas began his career when he was 16 years old, as a song-and-dance man in "carpas," He was also a circus clown,
His early films include "No Te Enganes Corazon/Don't Deceive Yourself, My Heart" (1936) and "El Signo de la Muerte/Sign of Death" (1939), but it was "Ahi Esta el Detalle/There Is the Detail" (1940), which began his reign as the Spanish-speaking world's most popular comic.
His characters defended the weak, touched our hearts, and had a problem keeping their pants up.
Charlie Chaplin himself, upon seeing the work of his younger Mexican colleague, called him "the greatest comedian in the world."
One of Cantinflas' trademarks was his rapid talk as he outsmarted
In his honor, the Spanish Academy created a verb, cantinflear, the meaning of which is to talk rapidly, yet what you're saying doesn't make any sense.
By the mid-50s his fame from films including "Un Dia con el Diablo/A Day with the Devil" (1945) and "El Bombero Atomico/
Instead, Cantinflas returned home to Mexico, continuing his collaboration with director Miguel M. Delgado which had begun in 1942 with "El Gendarme Desconocido/The Unknown Policeman".
Cantinflas spent much of the 1980s involved in philanthropic work, especially for the benefit of children
Cantinflas, who died a multi-millionaire at the age of 83, never forgot where he came from. Much of his money was given over to charitable work.
His adopted son, Mario Arturo Moreno Ivanova, a graduate of Betty Ford Clinic, was once wed to a former Miss Guanajuato, who wrote a tell-all book about their marriage. After his father's death, Moreno Ivanova became involved in a twelve-year, multiple-party struggle over the rights to the Cantinflas films.
It is sad that the son did not share his father's sense of irony, as when he made the pithy comment:
"El mundo debería reír más. Pero después de haber comido." (The world should laugh more. But after having eaten.) -- Cantinflas