Though August 12 might just seem like an ordinary Friday to you, in Mexico it’s practically turned into a national holiday. As the official 100th birthday of movie icon Cantinflas, it’s stirred up celebrations from government officials, local street vendors, and beyond!
And don’t think that Cantinflas’ presence was just felt in Latin America. Across Europe news outlets are publishing stories on the legendary comedian, even dubbing him Mexico’s “Groucho Marx.” Speaking with Euro News,Cantinflas’ nephew, Eduardo Moreno Reyes, described his uncle’s long-lasting appeal.
“[Cantinflas’ style] is an example of innocent comedy winning through in the long run,” he explained. “A lot of comedians today swear a lot, but that wasn’t his style. His legacy is clean, positive, family entertainment and I think it stays in the memory and will endure for many years to come.”
Hollywood is also paying tribute to the legendary star (who was born Mario Moreno). In downtown L.A., Cantinflas’ classic 1943 film Circus will be screening at the historic Million Dollar Theater. Following the movie, fans will be treated to an all-new documentary called Cantinflas In Los Angeles, which focuses on his impact in America. Friends and acquaintances will also be on hand to share stories and answer questions.
Even though Cantinflas passed away nearly 20 years ago, his impact lives on. In Mexico City, a massive outdoor gallery of his photographs and paintings are gracing the heavily trafficked streets. His star on Hollywood’s Walk of Fame is also getting the royal 100th birthday treatment, with flowers, cards, and constant photo opps.
Cantinflas is still a movie star of the people. His characters always reflected the downtrodden, which is something the actor prided himself on. Despite being able to mingle with royals, Cantinflas never lost his down-to-earth spirit.
His son, Mario Moreno Ivanova, made a point to reflect on a humorous meeting with Spain’s King Juan Carlos.
“It is a great pleasure to meet Cantinflas in person, because I had only seen him in the movies,” Juan Carlos said.
“Jeez, it’s even a greater pleasure for me to meet a king in person, because I’d only ever seen them in a deck of cards,” he responded.
Happy birthday, Cantinflas!
By Michael Lopez