Legendary Mexican Actress Evita Muñoz 'Chachita' Dies

Evita Muñoz 'Chachita' and Pedro Infante in Nosotros los pobres (1948)

Evita Muñoz 'Chachita' and Pedro Infante in Nosotros los pobres (1948)

Evita Muñoz (née Eva María de J. Muñoz Ruíz)  better known by her artistic nickname 'Chachita' died today at the age of 79 in Mexico City. She was born in Orizaba, Veracruz in 1936, and she had a successful and fruitful acting career particularly during Mexico's so-called golden age, which she later alternated with television.

'Chachita''s acting career got an early start at age four. She debuted with a minor role in the 1941 film El secreto del sacerdote / The Priest's Secret by Joselito Rodríguez, followed by the popular movie ¡Ay Jalisco, no te rajes! that same year and also directed by Rodríguez, in which she got her nickname, short for "muchachita."

It was however her performance in Ismael Rodríguez melodramatic trilogy Nosotros los pobres (We the Poor, 1947), Ustedes los ricos (You, the Rich, 1948),  and Pepe el Toro (Pepe the Bull, 1953), that made her a national popular icon. Possibly Mexico's most popular movie of all time, in Nosotros los pobres, 'Chachita' stars as the child of a poor carpenter (played by mega star Pedro Infante) who would stoically endure tragedy after tragedy. 

Fueled by her popularity in movies, she also developed a successful radio career participating in numerous shows and sketches. Reportedly she also toured in USO shows during the Korean War for the U.S. Hispanic troops, impersonating Marilyn Monroe.

With the decline of Mexican cinema in the late 1950s, she become a pioneer of Mexican television acting in numerous soap operas and comedy shows. Nevertheless, she continued acting in movies—mostly comedies—through the sixties, seventies, and eighties, alternating with Mexican superstar comedians Mario Moreno 'Cantinflas' in El barrendero (The Street Sweeper, Miguel M. Delgado, 1982), and María Elena Velasco 'La India María' in El que no corre vuela (Gilberto Martínez Solares, 1982).

Also during the eighties, she played the role of the witch Hermelinda Linda, based on a popular comic strip in a couple of crowd-pleasing films. More recently she had voiced a couple of animated characters including 'Dr. Lucille Krunklehorn' in the Latin American version of Disney's Meet the Robinsons (2007). In total, 'Chachita' worked in over 50 feature films.

Watch a clip from Nosotros los pobres:

Watch a clip from Ustedes los ricos: