Mario Moreno, born as Mario Fortino Alfonso Moreno Reyes and professionally known by the nickname of Cantinflas, was an important actor, producer and scriptwriter of many films belonging to the Mexican comedy genre. He was born in an early twentieth century Mexico City and began his career as an actor in a circus tent. One night, he presented a routine combining parodies, bad pronunciation, wild exaggeration and mimicry. Realizing his potential, he clung to it and became very popular. He later gained popularity with his famous character Cantinflas, an impoverished farmer who wears his pants tied with a rope, a coat and an old hat. He managed to turn his character into an iconic figure not only in Mexico, but also in other parts of Latin America and the world. He later became world-famous for his performance of the role of Passepartout in the epic Hollywood film, "Around the World in 80 Days”. He was often referred to as the "Charlie Chaplin of Mexico," but Chaplin himself once referred to him as the best comedian of the time.
Actor, writer, producer and scriptwriter of Mexican origin who became famous through the interpretation of the character known as Cantinflas, and whom he represented in most of the films produced and filmed by him.
Mario Fortino Alfonso Moreno Reyes was born on August 12, 1911, in a simple neighborhood of Santa María la Ribera in Mexico City. His father, Pedro Moreno Esquivel, was a postal carrier and his mother’s name was María de la Soledad Reyes Guízar. Despite the lack of resources, Mario’s parents enrolled him in a good school to study. However, he was more interested in seeing street plays, and when he grew up, he tried to imitate the actors.
At the age of fifteen, his parents sent him to a government agricultural school; but he escaped to Jalapa, where he joined a circus tent where he began his career as an actor. However, he knew that his parents would never approve of him and so he began to look for a name for which Cantinflas became his stage name.
In 1934 he met the Russian-born actress Valentina Ivanova Subarev, with whom he married on October 27 of the same year and adopted his only son, Mario Arturo Moreno Ivanova. Some comments emerged from this situation, as many said that the child had been the product of an extra marital relationship with the artist Marion Roberts.
Mario Moreno died of lung cancer on April 20, 1993 in Mexico City. His funeral was declared a great national event, which lasted three days. Despite heavy rains and bad weather, thousands of people attended the ceremony and the funeral honors of the great Mexican artist, even the U.S. Senate kept a moment of silence for him.
His only son was Mario Moreno Ivanova, who got married twice. The first time, he had two children and in his second marriage he had three, who were Cantinflas’ grandchildren. Cantinflas also had a nephew, Eduardo Moreno Laparade, who fought for the rights of several films.
In 1939, Post Films began producing a number of short series of Cantinflas as the main character. Played by Moreno, whose stage name was also Cantinflas, the character became almost iconic. Some of his main films are:
Some famous phrases of Cantinflas were:
In 1957, Mario received the Golden Globe Award for Best Actor Performance in a Comedy or Musical Film for his role as Passepartout in “Around the World in 80 Days“. He earned a Star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame on February 8, 1960. He was also awarded the Ariel Special Prize in 1952 and the Golden Ariel Prize in 1987 by the Mexican Film Academy. This award is considered the most prestigious in the Mexican film industry.