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Mario Moreno Reyes, better known as Cantinflas, was a Mexican actor, circus performer and comedian. Charlie Chaplin once called Cantinflas the 'funniest man in the world'.

Cantinflas did not start his professional life as an entertainer. It is a little known fact that Cantinflas was in the military and later, also a professional boxer before he joined to the entertainment world as a dancer. Cantinflas started out performing at a circus in the 1930s. In 1935, he joined the Follies Bergere theater, becoming a popular figure on Mexico's theater scene. He also appeared in a few movies during that time, but it was in 1940, that Cantinflas finally became a movie star, after shooting Ahí está el detalle. The phrase that gave that movie its name became a Cantinflas catch phrase for the rest of his career. From there on, Cantinflas went on to make more than 50 feature films, becoming a widely known entertainer and legendary comic all over Latin America and in Spain.

Cantinflas went to Hollywood in the 1950s, making two popular movies in English, Around the World in Eighty Days and Pepe.

Later, Cantinflas became President of the Mexican actors' union as well as Secretary of their filmworkers' union. He invested his earnings in real estate and in the sport of bullfighting. Cantinflas was so fond of bullfighting that he played his torero scenes himself .

Cantinflas has a star in the Hollywood Walk of Fame and when he died in 1993, the US Senate held a minute of silence to honor his memory.

Among the things that endeared him to his public was his comic use of language in his films: his characters, like El Barrendero, loved to strike up a normal conversation with anyone in the movie, and then complicate the conversation to the point where no one understood what they were talking about. This manner of talking became known as Cantinfleada, and it became common parlance for Spanish speakers to say ¡estas cantinfleando! (loosely translated as you're pulling a 'Cantinflas'!) whenever someone became hard to understand in conversation. The Real Academia Española has included the verb cantinflear in its dictionary .

On October 16, 2003, a controversy surfaced over alleged abusive behaviour by Cantinflas's son towards Cantinflas.

Note: This profile was written in or before 2004.

Cantinflas Facts

Birth NameMario Moreno Reyes
BirthdayAugust 12, 1911
Date of deathApril 20, 1993 (age 81)
Awards1957 Golden Globe Awards: Best Actor in a Motion Picture - Comedy or Musical (for Around the World in 80 Days)

Selected Filmography

Not available.