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OAS bids farewell to Cantinflas.

MARIO MORENO "Cantinflas", beloved Mexican actor and comic, died on April 20 in Mexico City. At the various acts of homage, mourners recalled the actor's essential character, that of a little man facing the perils of a big city with boundless wit and good humor.

With pants hanging off his hips, on the verge of falling down, and talking incessantly without saying anything, Cantinflas brilliantly interpreted the spectrum of humanity: drunk, lawyer, fireman, hairdresser, thief, politician, photographer and mailman. Although he is recognized by North American audiences almost entirely for his role in the 1956 film "Around the World in 80 Days", Mexicans remember him for films like "Cantinflas the Boxer," "Neither Blood Nor Sand," and "Patrol Car 777." In the 49 films he made between the 1930s and 1960s, Cantinflas captured the bewilderment of a country that was moving from the farms to the cities, thus making him one of the best social chroniclers of his times.

Born in 1911 in Mexico City, Mario Moreno was the sixth of thirteen brothers and sisters. The family was poor and the young Moreno helped out by working as a shoe-shiner, apprentice bull-fighter, taxi driver and boxer. At eighteen he was employed as a stage hand in a popular circus/theater. The late actor once explained how his career was launched. "One night the performer who announced the acts got sick. I was asked to fill in. But I didn't remember what I was supposed to say, so I just started talking nonsense. The audience began to laugh, so I continued, and invited them all to the show the next day. When the official announcer appeared, the public booed."

In a letter to Mexican President Carlos Salinas de Gortari, the Secretary General of the Organization of American States, Ambassador Joao C. Baena Soares, stated that Mario Moreno was "not only a great comic, but a great interpreter of the hopes and misadventures of Latin America." Ambassador Baena Soares went on to say that the actor was "indissolubly linked to the desires of the people of this Hemisphere for a better future." On May 4, 1983, at a gala event at the Hall of the Americas Cantinflas was awarded a Diploma of Honor by the OAS for his contributions to the world of arts. Remembered not only for his extraordinary performances on screen, but also for his personal generosity, Cantinflas will be sorely missed. "Mexicans feel like he was their reflection," said Ramiro Jimenez, an actor who worked with the comic. "There isn't anyone like that now."
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Title Annotation:Mario Moreno "Cantinflas"
Publication:Americas (English Edition)
Article Type:Biography
Date:May 1, 1993
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