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Antonio Aguilar reigned among the most popular Mexican singers and actors of his generation, recording more than 150 traditional mariachi albums and a staggering 167 feature films during the course of a career spanning more than a half century. Dubbed "El Charro de México," Aguilar invariably appeared on-stage and onscreen in the sequined garb of the rodeo rider, complete with sombrero. His popularity at home was matched by an enormous fan base of Latinos living in the U.S., and in 1997 he broke box-office records by selling out New York City's Madison Square Garden across six consecutive nights. Born Pascual Antonio Aguilar Barraza outside of Villanueva, Mexico, on May 17, 1919, he began riding horses as a toddler, with a habit of singing while in the saddle. As a teen, he entered the U.S. as an illegal immigrant, settling in Los Angeles and working as a waiter while saving money in hopes of funding acting and singing classes.
Upon returning to Mexico in 1945 Aguilar pursued a career in opera, but a friend recommended he instead try his hand at mariachi and "use that powerful voice to sing the songs of the people." By 1950 he was recording, and that same year made his film debut alongside Mexican cinema legends Pedro Infante and Marga Lopez in Un Rincón Cerca del Cielo. With 1956's Tierra de Hombres Aguilar landed his first starring role, and in the years to follow he emerged as the biggest draw in Mexican moviemaking. Inevitably cast as a two-fisted but tender-hearted cowboy balladeer, his pictures are also credited with popularizing la charreada, a style of rodeo deeply rooted in the legendary charro tradition.
When Aguilar was not filming a motion picture, he was recording a new album. Singles including "Caballo Prieto Azabache," "Gabino Barrera," and "Puno de Tierra" made him a superstar, and in time he began writing and producing screenplays constructed around his songs. Aguilar's long marriage to actress/singer Flor Silvestre further endeared him to fans, and together they co-starred in myriad films -- she also recorded more than 100 albums in her own right. Aguilar nevertheless enjoyed his greatest popularity during the 1960s, when his stage appearances came to include elements of rodeo, complete with roping, bull-riding, and clowns -- the headliner himself even embraced the chance to show off his formidable prowess on horseback. In 1969 Aguilar returned to southern California to co-star opposite John Wayne and Rock Hudson in The Undefeated, his first Hollywood production. The Civil War-era drama's final cut nevertheless left him deeply wounded with its stereotyped portrayal of Mexican culture, and he subsequently declined all offers from U.S. producers.
Aguilar returned home to star as Mexican heroes ranging from Pancho Villa to Emiliano Zapata. Although his popularity waned during the 1970s, by the mid-'80s he enjoyed a commercial resurgence, spearheading a revival in the tambora genre via the smash "Triste Recuerdo." Three years after his triumphant Madison Square Garden stint, Aguilar earned a star on Hollywood's Walk of Fame in recognition of worldwide record sales in excess of 25 million. His health declined in the decade to follow, however, and in 2006 he mounted what proved to be a farewell tour of the U.S. After battling pneumonia, he died in Mexico City on June 19, 2007.
Wikipedia:For the Portuguese rugby union player, see António Aguilar.
Antonio Aguilar Barraza (17 May 1919 – 19 June 2007) was a Mexican singer, songwriter, film actor, film producer, and screenwriter. During his career, he recorded over 150 albums, which sold 25 million copies, and participated in more than 120 films. He was given the honorific nickname "El Charro de México" (The Horseman of Mexico) because he is credited with popularizing la charrería, considered to have originated in Mexico, to international audiences. To this day he has been the only Hispanic artist to sell out the Madison Square Garden of New York City for six consecutive nights in 1997.
Aguilar was best known for singing traditional Mexican folk songs (rancheras) and ballads (corridos) as well for his roles in films concerning rural themes, such as the Mexican Revolution. He won the Latin ACE Award for Best Actor for his portrayal of Emiliano Zapata in the 1970 epic film of the same name. He also portrayed Pancho Villa twice in film. In 1997, Aguilar was awarded the Special Golden Ariel for his "invaluable contribution and spreading of Mexican cinema".
With his second wife, popular singer and actress Flor Silvestre, he had two sons, Antonio Aguilar Jr. and Pepe Aguilar, who also became singers and actors. His family is known collectively as "La Dinastía Aguilar" (The Aguilar Dynasty)."Registro Civil de Villanueva: Nacimientos, matrimonios 1913-1936". FamilySearch. Retrieved 6 December 2012. "Mariachi Icon Antonio Aguilar Dies At 88". Billboard. 20 June 2007. Retrieved 31 October 2014. "Antonio Aguilar - Actor: Movie (125 credits)". Internet Movie Database. Retrieved 31 October 2014. "Una Vida de Corrido. Antonio Aguilar". Somos (195 - special issue) (Mexico City: Editorial Televisa, published 1 May 2000). 2000. p. 104. Ankeny, Jason. "Antonio Aguilar Biography". All Music Guide. Rovi Corporation. Retrieved 2010-01-05. "Internet Movie Database - Awards for Antonio Aguilar". Retrieved 7 November 2011.
Aguilar was born José Pascual Antonio Aguilar Márquez Barraza in Villanueva, Zacatecas, the son of Jesús Aguilar Aguilar and Ángela Márquez Barraza Valle, both of Villanueva. His parents had six other children: José Roque, Salvador (deceased), Guadalupe (deceased), Luis Tomás (deceased), Mariano (deceased) and Josefina. He spent his early childhood in La Casa Grande de Tayahua, an hacienda first built in 1596 in the town of Tayahua, about 35 km from Villanueva. Aguilar's ancestors acquired this property in the early 19th century.Cite error: The named reference birth was invoked but never defined (see the help page). "Angela Barraza De Aguilar, "United States Border Crossings from Mexico to United States, 1903-1957"". FamilySearch.
Aguilar began his recording career in 1950, eventually making over 150 albums and selling more than 25 million records. He was known for his corridos with some of his best known songs, including "Gabino Barrera", "Caballo prieto azabache", "Albur de amor", and "Un puño de tierra". He was the first Mexican performer to mix rodeos and concerts while touring his show in Latin America and the United States. He has been compared to American actors like Roy Rogers, Gene Autry, and Ronald Reagan.
He began his acting career in 1952 during the Golden Age of Mexican cinema. In the 1950s, Aguilar was cast in a series of films centered on rural hero "Mauricio Rosales" in El rayo justiciero (1955), La barranca de muerte (1955), La sierra del terror (1956), La huella del chacal (1956), La pantera negra (1957), La guarida del buitre (1958), and Los muertos no hablan (1958). A total of seven low-budget ranchera films produced by Rosas Films S.A. Aguilar gained cinematic notice when cast in Ismael Rodríguez's Tierra de hombres in 1956. Other collaborations with Rodríguez include La Cucaracha (1959) and Ánimas Trujano (1962), where he received starring roles. Amongst his best ranchera films are Yo... el aventurero (1959), Caballo prieto azabache (1968) El ojo de vidrio (1969), and Valente Quintero (1973). Aguilar appeared in American western films like 1969's The Undefeated starring John Wayne. He also made a memorable starring role alongside his wife Flor Silvestre in Triste recuerdo (1991).
Aguilar was also largely responsible for the renewed popularity of the tambora music in the mid-1980s, when he single-handedly resuscitated the genre with the hit "Triste recuerdo".Cite error: The named reference Mariachi_Icon_Antonio_Aguilar_Dies_At_88 was invoked but never defined (see the help page). AP via The Guardian, "Mexican Mariachi Singer Dies at 89" 19 June 2007
Aguilar was married to singer and actress Flor Silvestre (the stage name of Guillermina Jiménez Chabolla), and one of their children, José "Pepe" Aguilar, is among Mexico's most popular modern singers. In addition to Pepe Aguilar, he had another child with Flor Silvestre who is the eldest, Antonio Aguilar, Jr. Aguilar's grandchildren include Emiliano, Aneliz, Leonardo, and Ángela are Pepe Aguilar's children. María José and Flor Susana are Antonio Aguilar Jr's. children.
On 18 June 2007, doctors announced that Aguilar was no longer responding to treatment and was expected to pass away before the end of the night. On 19 June 2007, the doctor spoke out to the media that Aguilar was still alive, and his body was responding to the medication but was still in critical condition. While there, the family received visits from many famous people including Vicente Fernández.
Aguilar died on 19 June 2007 at 11:45 p.m. from pneumonia. His coffin was carried through the streets of Zacatecas, the state capital, and was honored at a memorial service attended by hundreds at a church there.
His body was then taken to the hamlet of Tayahua, about 100 kilometers (62 mi) to the south, where residents waited in the streets to bid Aguilar a final farewell before he was buried at his family's "El Soyate" ranch nearby, the government news agency Notimex reported.
Obituaries appeared in many newspapers, including Los Angeles Times (US), New York Times (US), Washington Post (US), The Guardian (UK) and The Independent (UK). News of Antonio’s death were reported in newspapers of many Spanish-speaking countries, including Guatemala (El Periodico), Honduras (La Tribuna), El Salvador (El Diario de Hoy), Nicaragua (El Nuevo Diario), Costa Rica (Diario Extra), Venezuela (Correo del Caroní), Peru (Crónica Viva), Colombia (El Tiempo), Ecuador (El Diario) and Chile (El Mercurio).
Awards and honors
In 2000, for his contributions to the recording industry, Aguilar was honored with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame at 7056 Hollywood Boulevard. He was similarly honored with his handprints and star on the Paseo de las Luminarias in Mexico City for his work in movies and in the recording industry."Hollywood Walk of Fame database". HWOF.com.