Latin America

The tragedy and squabbling left behind by Mexico’s biggest comedian

The former wife of ‘Chespirito’ is immersed in a battle for the TV star’s fortune

Florinda Meza and Roberto Gómez Bolaños during one of their skits in the 1990s.
Florinda Meza and Roberto Gómez Bolaños during one of their skits in the 1990s.

The legacy of one of Latin America’s most popular television comedians, Roberto Gómez Bolaños – better known by his stage name Chespirito – has always been tainted by controversy. But since his death on November 28, 2014 at the age of 85, the bitter fights between fellow cast members on his television shows – including recent statements made by his widow and co-star, Florinda Meza – have kept his name fresh in the minds of his fans.

Gómez wrote the scripts and starred in the leading roles in memorable Mexican comedy shows such as Chespirito, El Chavo del Ocho (The kid from the eighth house) and El Chapulín Colorado (The red grasshopper), in which he played a bumbling superhero.

Over the past 10 years, the broadcast rights to all of Chespirito’s shows have raked in $1.7 billion

All his series were seen regularly across Latin America and Spain – as well as on Spanish-language TV stations in the United States – from the late 1960s up to the 1990s. Reruns of the programs are still broadcast in many countries.

While Gómez’s six children from his first marriage have kept a low profile since their father’s death, Florinda Meza, who also appeared on Chespirito’s shows, has been giving a string of interviews with different Latin American publications to speak about her life with the comedian.

“I am learning to live life differently,” she said recently on a Mexican interview program. “I am surviving.” 

Meza revealed that Gómez suffered from Parkinson’s disease toward the end of his life, which “quickly” made him weak.

More information

She also spoke about her affairs with other cast members, including Carlos Villagrán, who played Kiko on El Chavo del Ocho, and the show’s first producer, Enrique Segoviano. When she started her relationship with Gómez, Meza said she knew that he was already married and had six kids.

“I began the relationship with many difficulties – it was risky with a wife and six children. I never asked him to divorce his wife. It wasn’t easy watching him suffer because of his children.”

According to some reports, Meza and Gómez’s six children are quietly battling for the comedian’s fortune but the dispute hasn’t yet got out of hand.

Over the past 10 years, the broadcast rights to all his series have raked in $1.7 billion. The broadcast rights to just one episode of El Chavo del Ocho, his most popular show, cost $1.5 million.

Gómez’s only son, Roberto Gómez Fernández, had ruled out any legal action and claims he wants to maintain a good relationship with his father’s widow.

“We try to keep all the memories alive with the same love and affection he generated, and that helps a lot,” he said in an interview back in May. His five sisters have not spoken publicly about the battle for their father’s money.

For her part, Meza is continuing on her media tour as a grieving widow.

To my Rober: this is your “beautiful” today I read the poem you wrote me for after your departure. You see? Not even death can seperate us.

Via her Twitter account, she has made it very clear how empty her life is without Chespirito.

“#ImissChespirito because he was good, because he was wise, because he was calm, and didn’t believe in offending people.”

In another message she posted: “Friends, hate grows, I know, but always remember what my Robert use to say. ‘Vengeance is never good because it kills the soul and poisons you’.”

English version by Martin Delfín.

At EL PAÍS, dozens of journalists are working to bring you the most rigorous information and meet their public service mission. If you want to support our journalism and enjoy unlimited access, you can do so here for €1 for the first month and €10 from the following month, and you can cancel at any time.

Subscribe