Cantinflas

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Mario Fortino Alfonso Moreno Reyes, known casually as Mario Moreno and known professionally as Cantinflas (12 August 1911 – 20 April 1993), was a Mexican comic film actor, producer and screenwriter and an iconic figure in Mexico and Latin America. He often portrayed impoverished farmers or a peasant of pelado origin. The character allowed Cantinflas to establish a long, successful film career that included a foray into Hollywood. Charlie Chaplin once commented that he was the best comedian alive, and Moreno has been referred to as the “Charlie Chaplin of Mexico”. To audiences in the United States, he is best remembered as co-starring with David Niven in the Academy Award winner for Best Picture film Around the World in 80 Days, for which Moreno won a Golden Globe Award for Best Actor – Motion Picture Musical or Comedy.

As a pioneer of the cinema of Mexico, Moreno helped usher in its golden era. In addition to being a business leader, he also became involved in Mexico’s tangled and often dangerous labor politics. 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 co-opting and controlling unions.

Moreover, his character Cantinflas, whose identity became enmeshed with his own, was examined by media critics, philosophers, and linguists, who saw him variously as a danger to Mexican society, a bourgeois puppet, a kind philanthropist, a pious Catholic, a verbal innovator, and a picaresque underdog.

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