Argentine comic actor Mario Sanchez died Nov. 7 in Villa Carlos Paz, Cordoba of complications related to a long battle with diabetes. He was 71.
A native of San Rafael, Mendoza, he made his start as a singer and guitarist in his father’s bandoneon band, which was popular in the 1940s and 50s.
After a short career as a soccer player, in 1960 he went to Buenos Aires and landed his first part, in the legit comedy “La revista dislocada” (The Dislocated Magazine), playing alongside Beto Cabrera.
The pair went on to form “Duo de dos” (Duo of Two), a comedy team that gained huge success in radio, television and theater with acts on TV programs like “Sabados circularles” (Circular Saturdays).
In 1982, he launched his own TV program “Viva la risa” (Live the Laugh) on pubcaster Canal 7, popularizing one of his most remembered characters, Barralde the lonely gaucho. For this character, he faced huge criticism from the 1976-83 military dictatorship, which claimed the gaucho and his longing to hug people encouraged homosexuality.
Sanchez performed in hit film and legit comedies under Alberto Olmedo and Jorge Porcel, Argentina’s most popular comedians of the 1960s to 80s, including “Rambtio and Rambon: primara mision” (Little Rambo and Big Rambo: First Mission), “El profesor punk” (The Punk Professor) and “Los Extraterrestres” (The Extraterrestrials).
He is survived by his wife, two children and four grandchildren.