Actor who played 'Profesor Jirafales' dies at 82
El Paso Times
By Cindy Ramirez
June 17, 2016
The most popular and widely loved teacher in Mexican fictional television has died.
Mexican actor Rubén Aguirre, best known for his character Profesor Jirafales in the long-running show "El Chavo del Ocho," died Friday, the Televisa network confirmed. He was 82.
Aguirre was among the cast of the iconic show created by Roberto Gómez Bolaños, best known as Chespirito, that aired for nearly 30 years.
Profesor Jirafales, who had a cigar in his hand even during class time, was best known for saying "¡Ta,ta,ta,ta!" each time one of his students misbehaved, the Associated Press reported. Aguirre's character's name stemmed from the word "jirafa," or giraffe, referring to his tall, thin frame.
CNN en Español reported that the actor died of complications from pneumonia, citing his daughter. Long battling diabetes, Aguirre had been hospitalized in May and was released on June 7, the news outlet reported.
Born in Saltillo, Coahuila, Aguirre attended school in Juárez during his childhood, according to his biography.
He died in Puerto Vallarta, where he lived with his family, according to news reports.
Edgar Vivar, who played the Señor Barriga and Ñoño characters, on Friday tweeted about the death of his longtime friend and colleague.
"Rest in peace, my favorite professor," he wrote on Twitter. "Today, my great friend Rubén Aguirre left this Earth. I will miss you much."
The show centered around the fictional quirky residents of an impoverished neighborhood, including Chavo, who lived in a barrel. The shows "young" residents attended "la escuelita," or the little school led by Profesor Jirafales.
Aguirre had recently published a memoir, "Después de usted," which detailed his life as an actor, particularly his character Profesor Jirafales, the AP reported. In his memoir, Aguirre recounted some difficult times on the show, including a growing distance among the show's other actors such as Carlos Villagrán and María Antonieta de las Nieves, who gave life to the characters Kiko and La Chilindrina, according to the AP.
Aguirre "was our dear professor, our dear neighbours are gathering at the sky," Villagrán wrote on his Facebook page. "May he rest in peace, my dear friend Ruben Aguirre, my favorite teacher."
De las Nieves offered Aguirre's wife and her children "heartfelt condolences" on her Facebook page.
"One day the entire 'vecindad' will reunite in Heaven," de las Nieves wrote in Spanish.
A cultural icon who developed the Chavo del Ocho series and the popular El Chapulín Colorado character, Bolaños died Nov. 28, 2014.
Bolaños' widow, Florinda Meza, played the character Doña Florinda, Jirafales' unattainable love interest in the show.
On Univision's morning show "Hoy," Meza on Friday expressed her condolences, saying she felt saddened because Aguirre was not just a colleague but a friend.
Two other actors who played major characters on the show died years ago: Ramón Valdéz, who played Don Ramón, in 1988; and María de los Ángeles Fernández, who played Doña Clotilde, aka "La Bruja del 71," in 1994, according to news reports.
Valdéz, who also grew up in Juárez, is part of a well-known family of comedians whose brothers were Tin-Tan and El Loco Valdés.
Born: 6/15/1934, Saltillo, Coahila, Mexico
Died: 6/17/2016, Puerta Vallarta, Baja, Mexico
Ruben Aguirre’s westerns – actor:
Mi caballo el cantador – 1979 (Padre Aparicio)
Sabor a sanger – 1980 (Sacerdote)
El charrito – 1984 (director)