Mexican comedian Roberto Gomez Bolanos, better known as Chespirito, who became a television staple in countless Latin American homes as “El Chavo del Ocho,” has died in his Cancun home, according to Televisa. He was 85.
A cause of death has not yet been announced.
Bolanos was best known for writing and playing the boy character on “El Chavo del Ocho,” as well as his naive superhero “El Chapulin Colorado,” or “The Crimson Grasshopper.” His clean, family-friendly comedy made him a sensation among children and their parents.
Bolanos was trained as an engineer but gravitated toward writing. In 1970 he earned a spotlight by creating television show “Chespirito.” The show contained segments of “The Crimson Grasshopper,” about a superhero in red whose powers included shrinking down to the size of a small coin.
“El Chavo del Ocho,” which came in 1971, brough Bolanos national popularity. It’s still shown on Latin American and Spanish-language television stations.
Bolanos is credited with blazing a trail in Latin American comedy, relying on family-friendly humor when other comedians went raunchier routes. In a career that began in the 1950s, he wrote hundreds of television episodes as well as 20 film and theater projects.
Mexican president Enrique Pena Nieto tweeted about the news on Friday.
México ha perdido a un ícono, cuyo trabajo ha trascendido generaciones y fronteras.
— Enrique Peña Nieto (@EPN) November 28, 2014
(English: “Mexico has lost an icon whose work has transcended generations and borders.”)
Bolanos is survived by wife Florinda Meza, six children and 12 grandchildren.