Antonio Aguilar, 88, actor/singer

Mariachi singer sold over 25 million records

Mexican mariachi singer and actor Antonio Aguilar, who recorded more than 150 albums and began his acting career during Mexico’s “Golden Era” of cinema died of pneumonia June 19 in Mexico City. He was 88.

Born in the northern state of Zacatecas, Aguilar recorded with his traditional mariachi group for 50 years and sold more than 25 million records. His hit songs include “Triste Recuerdo,” “Albur de Amor,” “Gabino Barrera” and “Puño de Tierra.”

He appeared in 167 films, including “The Undefeated” starring John Wayne.

In 2000, he got a star in the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

Aguilar’s son, singer Pepe Aguilar, is also one of Mexico’s best-known performers and has been nominated for a Latin Grammy six times.

The elder Aguilar was the first Mexican artist to mix concerts with rodeos in shows that featured his actress-singer wife, Flor Silvestre, his two children and dancing horses. In the 1970s, he took his show to major cities in the United States and Latin America.

“Antonio was the one to open doors for us in the United States and in Latin America with his great show,” said ranchero singer Vicente Fernandez.

“I love to be in the USA,” he told hundreds of fans who gathered for the occasion. “This is one of the most important episodes of my life. I never expected this.”

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