Alberto Olmedo

Alberto Olmedo was born in Rosario, Santa Fé, on August 24, 1933. The humble condition of his family led him to work in the most diverse professions. The Pichincha neighborhood of Rosario was his school. There, near the Paraná, he earned his living as a cadet in a greengrocer's shop. But his instinct quickly led him to get involved with the world of entertainment. At the Teatro Comedia de Rosario he discovered great companies on tour that he could appreciate up close since he had been employed as a claque (applauder). With Juanito Belmonte, and some other friends, he also germinated the incipient vocation for the stage in humble basements and café concerts in his city.


Already installed in Buenos Aires, his first approach to television was as a cable puller on the old Channel 7. There he connected with the medium that, years later, would consecrate him as one of his great idols. In this city, Alberto lived for many years in a house located at Benjamín Matienzo 2541, in the Palermo neighborhood.


The actor conquered both the adult audience and the children's audience. His beloved “Captain Piluso” spread tenderness at snack time, inviting the boys "to drink milk" with his inseparable companion Coquito, played by Humberto Ortiz. Olmedo was one of those artists who could develop the most naive humor or showcase the mischief of Buenos Aires magazine shows. His character as Rucucu in “No Touch Button” would establish him as one of the most beloved stars in the country. El Manosanta, the dictator of Costa Pobre, Borges's nephew, "Yeneral" González, Rogelio Roldán and Chiquito Reyes would be other of his most celebrated creations, many of them inspired by close friends. Some of the phrases raised by his characters are still remembered and used daily today. How can we forget catchphrases like "And if they don't have faith in me", "Adianchi", "From here", "It was the gauntlet", "Savoy, Savoy", "He doesn't touch the button", "Did you bring me the baby?" or “We were so poor.”


His duets with Jorge Porcel in film and theater were always a success. In the Buenos Aires magazine he formed a category with Susana Giménez and Moria Casán, creating seasons with two daily shows and on Saturdays with a third late-night presentation, now extinct. They were golden times for popular theater. Before dedicating himself to his comedy series, he headed the comedy “Alberto y Susana” with Giménez, with whom he would establish a warm friendship.


His profession was highly criticized in his time for being considered tawdry and somewhat vulgar. Specialized critics criticized the television programs and theatrical comedies that he directed, generally under the scripts and direction of the brothers Gerardo and Hugo Sofovich.


After his death, and after several years, academic sectors began to rescue the art of this popular actor who, like an old school clown from the River Plate theater, could rock more than one mask. Today, perhaps because of the premature and tragic nature of his death, he is considered a cult artist. Revered by the people and also, it must be said, by the most intellectual spheres. This last recognition came to him late. But what really interested him was the public's affection. A public that never forgot him.


A reference to another time, Olmedo's humor objectified women. The display of bodies in underwear and jokes with double intentions were typical of a style and an era, already out of use, which today would be reprehensible, bordering on a certain use and underestimation of the female gender.


In his personal life, Olmedo was generous to the extreme. So much so that he always went ahead to pay for dinner with friends and invite his table companions with sparkling wine. One of his favorite restaurants was José Alberte's, known as "Pepe Fechoría", located at Av. Córdoba 3821, Palermo neighborhood.


Alberto was a faithful friend and good father. And an excellent coworker who, without losing authority or leadership, endeared himself to everyone. Olmedo did not differentiate between actors, ticket takers, cameramen or cable pullers. He felt like one more. And that's how he transmitted it to the rest. He did not allow divisiveness or scandals in his company. The essence of him was of a type that never forgot the austerity of his native Rosario and kept the neighborhood codes intact.

Olmedo had two great women by his side: Judith Jaroslavsky and Tita Russ, who always kept a low profile. They are the mothers of his children Mariano, Marcelo, Javier, Sabrina and Fernando (who died in the accident that also cost the life of singer Rodrigo Bueno).

In the summer of 1988, the actor was at his professional peak. He had broken collection records at the Tronador box office. In addition, the film “Peculiar Attraction” directed by Enrique Carreras had been released, with very good attendance of spectators. The theatrical comedy that he starred in in Mar del Plata would be seen at the Teatro Astral in Buenos Aires. And, since April, Channel 9's Fridays would once again feature the new “No Touch Button” programs with a book and direction by Hugo Sofovich. Unbeatable panorama.

But on the morning of Saturday, March 5, 1988, the sun set. The drizzle covered the entire Mar del Plata coast, a harbinger of the crying of an entire country. After eight o'clock on that gray dawn, Alberto Olmedo would fall from the 11th floor of the Maral 39 Building, located on the Maritime Boulevard near Varese Beach. The tragic and conclusive photo of his body on the asphalt was marked in the collective memory. That unexpected death took a man of only 54 years old. And he turned the popular idol into a myth, as always happens when the outcome comes at the best artistic moment.

The actor died after a romantic night with his partner at the time: the model and actress Nancy Herrera; She died knowing that he was going to be a father again and that his son would be called Alberto. That morning, the sky was collapsing in tune with the mourning of millions of Argentines who could not believe that his idol was already part of their memory.

Upon hearing the news, Matilde, the comedian's mother, arrived in Buenos Aires from La Rioja, where she was visiting relatives. Such was the impact that the news caused her, that she died a few hours later. One more tragedy, within the framework of the great unfortunate event that would fill the covers of newspapers and magazines.

After the police investigations and the work of the forensic experts, a short wake was held with restricted access in the garage of Rogelio Roldán, a friend of Olmedo and inspiration for one of his most remembered characters. A few hours later, the body was taken by ambulance to Buenos Aires. A crowd accompanied the procession to the Chacarita Cemetery, where his remains rest in the Pantheon of Actors.

With his departure, the so-called Olmedo clan was dismembered. Its members did not have the same massive impact or major successes again. An era died with him. A way of making humor.

On Corrientes Avenue, his hands rest in front of the property occupied by the Teatro Alfil, the last venue in Buenos Aires in which he performed. And in front of Maral 39, with his back to the sea, a monument remembers him in Mar del Plata that gave him summers of applause and that cradled him in his fatal second.