Rubén Aguirre, better known as Professor Jirafales, mythical character of Latin American comedy, had a life that was as much success as pain.
The Mexican born on June 15, 1934 in Saltillo, Coahuila, started out as an agricultural engineer, but it was never his passion. “I worked on a farm where they grew cotton, but I didn’t like it very much. My thing was to act. Since I was very young, I like to play. I was a child when I went out on the streets and I imitated the street vendors who passed in front of my house,” he said in an interview.
The beginning of the acting work was somewhat peculiar, since he began working on the Televisa channel, as an executive and capturing talent for this Mexican network, this is where he would meet Roberto Gómez Bolaños, “Chespirito”, and would convince his superiors to hire the comedian
After the success of “Chespirito” with programs such as “The supergenios of the square table” and “Chespirotadas”, Aguirre asked him to return the favor, thus joining the comedian team of the programs, Gómez Bolaños accepted.
“I started on Saturday with the ‘Chespirotadas’, then they called me from the general management of Televisa and said to me: ‘Mr. Aguirre, what are you doing here? “Well, my work ends on Friday and this one is Saturday.” “No sir, one side or the other can’t do both.” ‘Ah, well, I’m going with Chespirito’”, Aguirre commented on this moment to Argentina’s Susana Giménez.
A change that his wife did not think of at the time, “the first who stopped talking to me was my wife: ‘You are crazy, with what you earn… how much do you earn with Chespirito? ‘ ‘Nothing yet, but one day…’. It was like two months without talking to me,” he said between laughs.
Later his most memorable role would come, Professor Jirafales, that character who was characterized by his hat, his cigar and his bouquet of flowers for Doña Florinda, and with his “ta, ta, ta…ta!” or the “after you”.
“Professor Jirafales is a character that I really like because he was the one who internationalized me. Thanks to Jirafales, I saw how the guys on Fifth Avenue in New York and Ushuaia asked me for autographs. It’s worth a lot for an actor to be recognized internationally, and the same thing happens in Italy, Spain, France, Morocco, North Africa, Korea,” he pointed out.
Later, he will have his own circus where he will travel around the world, a way to retrain after his time in cinema and television.
But that would all change when he and his wife Consuelo de los Reyes suffered a traffic accident in 2007. Due to the consequences, Aguirre had to live in a wheelchair and stop playing, while his partner suffered the worst: they had to amputate his leg. .
From then on, his health will collapse, over the years he will suffer from back pain, stones and will be diagnosed with diabetes, all these medical expenses leave him in ruins, being rejected from several hospitals, because he has no money to pay for their treatments.
This will gradually extinguish his life until his death in the early hours of June 17, 2016.
“He lived a long time and it was not the model, it was the mileage: he traveled a lot, he lived very intensely. He was tired, but he said goodbye surrounded by love, very calm and knowing that he was leaving a strong and united family,” said his daughter, Verónica Aguirre.
And so ended the story of one of the most beloved actors on the small screen in Latin America and around the world.
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