Thursday, January 15, 2004
The 15th of January is a momentous date in history. From Martin Luther King Jr to Pete Waterman, some of the greatest figures of the 20th Century were born on this very day. However, we'll go out on a limb and suggest that perhaps the 20th century would not have been so colorful had it not been for the birth of one Maria Rosario Pilar Martinez Molina Baeza. Of course, a name like that is just plain silly, so the world would come to know this little Latin firecracker simply as Charo!
Perhaps most famous for saying "cuchi, cuchi" while shaking her sequined hips, Charo shot to fame in the seventies and early Eighties as American television's greatest "special guest star" and all-round entertainer. Her greatest moment was the reoccurring role of April Lopez for eight seasons of The Love Boat where, despite playing a fictional character, she dressed in her trademark sequins and shouted "cuchi, cuchi" every possible moment. Of course, there is much more to the magic that is Charo.
A regular on game show The Hollywood Squares from 1972 until this day, she is also seen annually on Jerry Lewis' muscular dystrophy telathons. Always trying to break Latin stereotypes, Charo starred in the film The Concorde, Airport '79 playing a character called Margarita. And in 1996, Charo saw a chance to revive herself with an instructional dance video titled Blame it On the Macarena.
She had a wonderful music career as well. Besides recording albums with The SalSoul Orchestra (spawning the hit 1978 single "Dance A Little Bit Closer/Cuchi-Cuchi"), she has done several traditional spanish recordings and in 1981 knocked out the jaw dropping disco effort Bailando con Charo. Bailando con Charo features not only the rather dubiously titled single 'La Mojada/Wet Back', but a cover of Stephen Gatley's 'Chiquitita'!
These days, Charo spends her time in Las Vegas casinos entertaining the masses with glitzy shows (such as the recent 'Men, the Show') and still regularly appears on television playing "herself". She's not adverse to stretching her talents though. In 1994, she voiced the role of Mrs. Toad in Thumbelina.
Happy Birthday Charo! Perhaps no one person on the planet has brought culture lower.
» Appreciation by our mate marknyc