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Chespirito, 85; iconic Mexican comedian

Comedian Roberto Gomez Bolanos, known as Chespirito, posed as his famous character El Chapulin Colorado.Telavisa

MEXICO CITY — Roberto Gomez Bolanos, the iconic Mexican comedian who wrote and played the boy television character El Chavo del Ocho, who defined a generation for millions of Latin American children, died Friday. He was 85.

Known as Chespirito, he changed comedy in Latin America, taking his inspiration from Laurel and Hardy as well as Mexico’s other transcendent comedian who made it to Hollywood, Cantinflas. The cause of death was not announced.

His two most famous characters were El Chavo del Ocho, who lived in the homes of Latin America and beyond with his barrel, freckles, striped shirt, and frayed cap, and the naive superhero El Chapulin Colorado, or The Crimson Grasshopper. His morning show was a staple for preschoolers.

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His prolific output earned him the nickname Chespirito, a Spanish pronunciation of Shakespeare joined with ‘‘ito,’’ because of his short stature.

He achieved smashing success in 1970 with the creation of ‘‘Chespirito,’’ a TV show that included segments about ‘‘The Crimson Grasshopper.’’

The goofy superhero’s antennae helped him detect danger miles away. His superpowers included shrinking to the size of a pill and dodging enemies, constantly repeated his signature phrases, ‘‘You didn’t count on my cleverness’’ and ‘‘All the good people, follow me.’’

He opened a Twitter account in 2011. At his death, there were 6.6 million followers.