Xavier Cugat and Charo

How’s this for a couple: Francesc d’Asis Xavier Cugat Mingall de Bru i Deulofeu (1 January 1900 – 27 October 1990) and Maria Rosario Pilar Martinez Molina Baeza (born January 15, 1945)?

Honestly, you can’t make this stuff up.  As you might surmise, there is a story as to how they became a couple and how they came to be featured on this blog.

Let’s start with the latter (and shorter) story first.  In perusing the NFL draft’s funniest names, I noticed that not only were there two guys named Cornelius up for grabs, there were also two named Xavier.  As Xavier seemed to be nearly as good a candidate for funny names fodder as Cornelius, the search was on for a funny-named Xavier in other walks of life.    Seek and ye shall find.  Buried deep in the archives of my decaying neurons was a blurry vision from an Ed Sullivan Show from long ago.  (OK, “Ed Sullivan Show from long ago” is redundant, but you get the picture.)  I got it, and the chase was on.

Xavier Cugat. "Look ma, one had."

Xavier Cugat. “Look ma, one hand.”

Francese d’ Asis….whatever….was a band leader and cartoonist.  He was professionally known by only two of his names,  Xavier Cugat.  He also had as many wives (5) as he did middle names (not counting the “de” and the “i”).   Born in Spain, Cugat moved with his family at an early age to Cuba and then as a teenager to New York City.  He was classically trained as a violinist and played in recitals with renowned tenor Enrico Caruso.   His career as a bandleader started as a member of a Tango group called The Gigolos***.  He later created his own Tango group and eventually landed as leader of the resident orchestra at the Waldorf Astoria.   He was one of the early popular performers of Latin music in the U.S and, while all of this was going on,  also managed to pen a cartoon for The Los Angeles Times as well as nationally syndicated caricatures.   Among his other claims to fame were the discoveries of Dinah Shore, who made her first recordings with Cugat’s band, and one Maria Rosario Pilar Martinez Molina Baeza a classical guitarist and comic actress, better known to this day as the “cutchi cutchi” girl, Charo.

Maria Rosario Pilar Martinez Molina Baeza, A.K.A. Charo,  was born in Spain, in 1931, or 1941, or 1951, or-er-maybe the 1945 date her Wikipedia biography states.  That’s another story altogether, but let’s assume that it was some time in the 1940’s.  If she was born in 1931, that was some incredible CGI in the GEICO commercial she was recently in (see below).  If she was born in 1951, then she would have been 15 years old when she became Cugat’s fifth and final wife in 1966.  In the 1970’s she was one of the top headliners in Las Vegas and also made frequent appearances on Hollywood squares as well as TV talk and variety shows of the day.   In 1978 she divorced Cugat, ending the reign of one of the greatest funny-named couples of all time.

***Aside to Dave:  I’m sorry to make more work for you, buddy, but this post cries out for an article on funny-named bands, not to mention two new additions to Funny Names Theory.   I suggest  The Charo Corollary (the longer a performer’s real name, the shorter the stage name) and The Xavier Cugat Assumption (Xavier is almost as awesome a name as Cornelius).

😀 Mark  (More of my silliness can be found at www.millenniumconjectures.com and @MarkSackler)



For Amb, Courtesy of Dave

For Amb, Courtesy of Dave


About Mark Sackler

"The best way to predict the future is to invent it."-Alan Kay; Let's invent a better future, together.
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26 Responses to Xavier Cugat and Charo

  1. marksackler says:

    Reblogged this on The Millennium Conjectures(tm) and commented:

    As a fitting follow up to the Funnies Names in the NFL, here is my latest guest post on The Blog of Funny Names.

  2. amb says:

    I love it! The Charo Corollary applies to Desi Arnaz too: http://wp.me/p21IMO-Fc (Clearly, I’m not sorry for making more work for Dave at all. 🙂 )

  3. Mark–love the idea of the new corollary and assumption. Great post as usual!

  4. marksackler says:

    Thanks. There also might be another theory lurking in there, regarding funny named couples. But I’m staying away from that fearing Dave might make me write it. 😉

    • amb says:

      LOL! No worries Mark – considering how much I’ve been talking about him lately, I’m pretty sure I have some payback coming my way, too. I suspect I’ll be “volun-told” for an assignment before you will!

  5. Liz says:

    love it, Mark. Great stories. Two-for-the-price of one. Dave should be paying you for this stuff! 😉 Charo brings back great memories of childhood TV watching–funny that no one really knows how old she is. Definitely aging well.

    • Dave says:

      Liz, this is my least favorite idea of yours ever! Where do you think the money would come from? Our funny-named coffers? 🙂

      • Liz says:

        Glad you like the idea, Dave 😉 Don’t know where you’ll find the $$ (check the coffers–money could be in there, yes), but if someone gives you two funny names in one post, he (or she) deserve recognition and reward. Just sayin’. Maybe you could name of of those theories after him?

        And because you are the web-builder here, I want to make sure you’re aware that Fannie Cranium’s chocolate cookies appeared on foodforfun. Maybe you saw already, but need to be sure you have full knowledge of the results of your introductions 😉 Yeehaw.

  6. marksackler says:

    Yes, he should pay me. I’m not holding my breath or quitting my day job, though. 😉
    As for Charo’s true birth year, she is the living embodiment of the old adage, “never ask a woman her age.”

    • Dave says:

      Haha, once I start getting paid, I promise I won’t forget you and all the other little people 😉

  7. Dave says:

    I’ll think about the Xavier Cugat assumption. I think this is our third post featuring a Xavier (the Draft one and the one covering a guy named Xzavie), so it may need a little bit more supporting evidence. We shall see!

  8. I’ve gotta say, I was skeptical at first when I read what your blog was about… However, I just spent about half an hour reading through your posts and seeing all these incredibly strange names. You’ve definitely won me over!


  9. jenyjenny says:

    Your post left me craving Cugat! Sad to think of his life as the sum of a few facts about his name and a stating of his birth, death, achievements, marriages…I went to iTunes and played some of his hot, hot, hot music. My favorite: Cuban Mambo, ole ole!

  10. Charo was awesome. Is awesome? And Desi- Ever see the early Babaloo video? Outrageous. Tremendous energy from them both. Of course baseball players have the best names. Maybe you could research that.

    • marksackler says:

      We have done loads of baseball players (Including Urban Shocker by Rob today). I personally have profiled Clyde Klutz and Bruno Betzel. I am sure there will be more to come.

  11. The FACT that “you can’t make this stuff up” provided endless fuel for your blog. I’ll bet there are parents out there RIGHT NOW thinking, “What outlandish name can we give our child so that he/she ends up being featured on TBOFN.”

  12. kerbey says:

    I have a great aunt named Charo, but her real name is Rosario, and that is part of this Charo’s name, so now I am wondering if that is just coincidence? Coochie coochie and Love Boat and Yorkshire Terrier hair and tight dresses…I wonder if part of the Charo Corollary also mandates that you cannot ever change your hairstyle.

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