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Fortino Mario Alfonso Moreno Reyes (August 12, 1911 – April 20, 1993) was a Mexican comedian and stage and film actor, known professionally as Cantinflas. He often portrayed impoverished campesinos or a peasant of pelado origin.[citation needed] The character came to be associated with the national identity of Mexico, and allowed "Cantinflas" to establish a long, successful film career that included a foray into Hollywood. Charlie Chaplin once called him "the greatest comedian in the world",[1] and Moreno has been referred to as the "Charlie Chaplin of Mexico".[2] To audiences in the United States, he is best remembered as costarring with David Niven in Around the World in 80 Days (1956).

As a pioneer of the cinema of Mexico, Moreno helped usher in its golden era. In addition to being a business leader, he also became involved in Mexico's tangled and often dangerous labor politics. Although he was himself politically conservative, his reputation as a spokesperson for the downtrodden gave his actions authenticity and became important in the early struggle against charrismo, the one-party government's practice of coopting and controlling unions.[citation needed]

Moreover, his character Cantinflas, whose identity became enmeshed with his own, was examined by media critics, philosophers, and linguists, who saw him variably as a danger to Mexican society, a bourgeois puppet, a kind philanthropist, a venture capitalist, a transgressor of gender roles, a pious Catholic, a verbal innovator, and a picaresque underdog.[citation needed]


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