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Celebrating life of Xavier Lopez Chabelo: A Mexican cultural Icon

Last Updated on September 11, 2023 by SPN Editor

Xavier Lopez Rodriguez, popularly known as Lopez Chabelo, a highly adored and cherished thespian and emcee of Mexican descent, has recently departed from our world at the ripe age of 88.

He will always be remembered for his iconic portrayal of “Chabelo,” a high-pitched voiced boy in shorts, who captured the hearts of the Mexican people when he first played the role in the 1950s.

“Today is a very sad morning, Xavier Lopez Chabelo, father, brother, and husband, has suddenly left us, due to abdominal complications,” said the actor’s family.

The Lopez Miranda family also asked Mexicans and fans of the iconic character Chabelo to pray for his rest and allow them to mourn his departure in peace.

“With a torn soul and knowing that many people have loved him for many years and will feel his departure, we ask you to pray for his rest and give us the opportunity to pass our family grief in peace,” they stated.

Lopez Chabelo.
Xavier Lopez Chabelo (File photo).

Despite spending most of his life in Mexico and becoming a beloved cultural icon as Chabelo, Xavier Lopez Rodriguez was actually born on February 17, 1935, in Chicago, United States. His parents met and lived there before moving to Mexico.

However, despite his American roots, Lopez Chabelo became an integral part of Mexican culture, bringing joy and entertainment to generations of Mexican people.

He served for a few months at a military base in San Diego, although he never saw combat action because the conflict ended in those days.

After returning to Mexico from his conscription, he entered university to study medicine but, by chance and necessity, began working as a general assistant in the burgeoning Mexican television.

On one occasion, the announcer and presenter Ramiro Gamboa, “Tio Gamboin,” knowing his ability to impersonate voices, asked him to read a joke from a book.

It was about a father and a son named Chabelo, and when he read it, he made the voice of a child that would accompany him thereafter, despite his imposing 1.92 meters tall.

Gamboa invited him to tell jokes alongside him on the air, and that’s how Chabelo was born during the broadcast of the musical carousel children’s program.

With the character, Lopez’s career in show business also began, which led him to leave his medical studies.

For several years, Gamboa and Lopez formed a duo in which the former played the father of the latter in television and film productions.

After residing for a time in New York, where he worked in theater and film, he returned to Mexico and worked as a writer for the program “La media hora de Chabelo,” which lasted more than seven years and gave rise to other comedy programs.

He worked in numerous film productions alongside renowned directors such as Ismael Rodríguez and Arturo Ripstein, as well as comedians of the stature of German Valdes “Tin Tan,” Manuel “Loco” Valdes, Gaspar Henaine “Capulina,” and Mario Moreno “Cantinflas.”

In November 1967, his Sunday game show “En familia con Chabelo,” a family-friendly show, in which he worked as a writer, producer, and host, premiered.

In 2012, he was awarded two Guinness World Records certificates for his 44 years as host of “En familia con Chabelo” and for his 57 years as an actor playing the character of “Chabelo, the friend of all children.”

However, on November 27, 2015, he announced the end of “En Familia,” after 48 years of continuous broadcasting on the Televisa network.

“Everything in life has a cycle, a beginning, and an end,” said Chabelo in a video posted on social media after weeks of rumors about the fate of his program.

Lopez Chabelo was a philanthropist at heart, dedicating his time and resources to various charitable causes, including supporting children’s hospitals and organizations that helped disadvantaged youth.