There are plenty of personalities all over the world who left a massive footprint while they were alive across different aspects of human life. Some made their mark either in technology, politics, science or art. In the latter, there isn’t a shortage of men and women who are celebrated for their contribution to the world of art, one of them being Mario Moreno Cantinflas.
He was an actor, a comedian, and producer whose works are continued to be celebrated across Latin America and Spain. Mario Moreno Cantinflas spent a total of 81 years on earth, out of which he spent forty-five years working between 1936 and 1981.
In this article, we explore the life of Mario Moreno Cantinflas, his background, career and everything else you need to know about him.
Mario Moreno Cantinflas was born as Mario Fortino Alfonso Moreno Reyes on the 12th of August, 1911 in Santa Maria la Redonda in Mexico. He adopted Cantinflas as his professional name.
The actor, who was born to Pedro Moreno Esquivel and Maria de la Soledad Reyes Guizar, was one of eight children. Mario was raised in Tepito alongside his siblings. Mario Moreno Cantinflas grew up in an impoverished family that resulted in a difficult background which caused him to use his wit to survive, sparking a lifelong career in the entertainment industry.
He began his career in entertainment as part of a travelling circus, applying his singing and dancing skills. Before fully committing to a career in entertainment, Mario Moreno Cantinflas explored careers in medicine and professional boxing.
After a couple of years in the circus, he met Santiago Reachi, a publicist and a producer whom he partnered with to create his own film production company. It was quite the undertaking for a man that had only ever been in a couple of films before then, including Don’t Fool Yourself Dear, The Sign of Death and Aguila o sol. The production company, Posa Films was established in 1939, which helped transform him into a movie star.
Over the course of his career, Mario Moreno Cantinflas starred in a total of 53 movies and TV shows, including movies like Around the World in 80 Days which earned him a Golden Globe Award. He was also nominated for awards for works like Pepe and El analfabeto.
Just as he made his name in front of the camera, Mario Moreno Cantinflas also starred on stage in the Theatre for plays like I, Columbus. His career was not only a financial success that lifted him out of the poverty that defined his childhood life but he also left a cultural impact through his character – Cantinflas, which became an icon in Latin America and Spain. The character’s significance transverse generations and has inspired other works of art such as paintings by Mexican artists, Rufino Tamayo, and Diego Rivera. In further celebration of his impact, he has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in Los Angeles.
Unfortunately, as a result of a life of consistent smoking, he died of lung cancer on the 20th of April 1993 in Mexico City at the age of 81.
Over the course of his career, which lasted 45 years, Mario Moreno Cantinflas was a beacon of talent in the entertainment industry, appearing in 53 movies and TV shows, along with other appearances in theatre and beyond, which were mostly lucrative endeavours for the actor, resulting in an accumulated net worth of $25 million over the course of his career.
Wife and Family
For entertainers, it is almost a rite of passage to be married to multiple women over the course of their lifetimes but Mario Moreno Cantinflas did not follow in the well-trodden path.
Throughout his lifetime, Mario Moreno was only ever married to one woman, Valentina Ivanova Zubareff, a Russian woman. An unusual union at the time, the couple got married on the 27th of October, 1936 and they were married for a total of thirty years.
Although he never married another woman, Mario Moreno Cantinflas fathered a child, Mario Arturo Moreno Ivanova by another woman and the child was adopted by Moreno and Ivanova. He remained married to his wife until her death in January 1966, and he never remarried until his own death, 27 years after.
Long after Mario Moreno Cantinflas died, his son, Moreno Ivanova passed away on the 15th of May, 2017.
• His funeral lasted three days and was a national event that saw people troop out under the rain in celebration of his life and mourning of his death.
• His professional name, Cantinflas, has no meaning and was simply chosen to keep his parents from discovering his presence in the entertainment industry.
• Mario Moreno Cantinflas had a height of 5 feet 8 inches.
• He attended Chapingo Autonomous University and Instituto Politecnico Nacional. He attended medical school at Escuela Nacional de Medicina y Homeopatia.