SAN JUAN – Paquito Cordero, legendary producer and pioneer of Puerto Rican television, died Tuesday of natural causes. He was 77.
Cordero died at home around 6:00 a.m. surrounded by family and friends, the media said.
Cordero’s death is the fourth of a well-known Puerto Rican showbiz personality this year, after the passing of Tommy Muñiz on Jan. 15, actor Jose Luis “Chavito” Marrero, a pillar of the island’s stage and screen, on Feb. 8, and of actress Awilda Carbia on March 22.
Puerto Rico Gov. Luis Fortuño decreed three days of mourning for Cordero’s death beginning Wednesday.
“The people of Puerto Rico start the day in mourning for the sad loss of one of the greats among our artists and a man of the people,” Fortuño said in a press release.
Francisco Cordero was born in 1932 in San Juan’s Santurce neighborhood, and after attending the Central Upper School, began his artistic career as an actor when television arrived in Puerto Rico in 1954 on the program “Mapy y Papi,” together with his aunt Mapy Cortes (1910-1998).
His greatest legacy as a producer was the program “El Show de las 12” (12 O’clock Show) for Telemundo Channel 2, which aired at midday.
The program was transmitted for the first time on Jan. 11, 1965.
Cordero also made a place for young actors and created late-night productions like “En Casa de Juanma y Wiwi” (The House of Juanma and Wiwi), “Los Kakucomicos” and “Noche de Gala” (Gala Night), in which he presented artists of international renown.
Among the best known artists to appear on “Noche de Gala” were salsa stars Hector Lavoe, Ruben Blades, Cheo Feliciano, Willie Colon, Oscar D’ Leon, the Menudo group, Eddie Palmieri, Celia Cruz, Isabel Pantoja, Angela Carrasco, Ednita Nazario and Tito Puente.
In May 2004, Cordero and Muñiz received a special honor from Puerto Rico’s Chamber of Representatives on the 50th anniversary of Puerto Rican television. EFE