|Born:||March 13, 1951|
Charo was born in the town of Murcia in southeastern Spain. Her father was a lawyer, her mother was a homemaker. Starting at the age of 9, Charo studied classical and flamenco guitar. She was taught by the famous guitarist Andrés Segovia. As a result of her training and skill she has been named "Best Flamenco Guitarist" in Guitar Player Magazine's readers' poll twice.
At the age of 15, Charo was discovered by famous bandleader Xavier Cugat. On August 7, 1966, Charo and Cugat got married. In a February 2005 interview with the Los Angeles-based Spanish-language newspaper La Opinión, Charo claimed that her marriage to Cugat had been merely a "business contract," a way for him to legally bring her over to the United States, where he was based.
After Charo got married, she, her mother and aunt moved to The Bronx in New York City. Charo was regularly featured in shows with Cugat's orchestra in New York and Las Vegas, as well as in overseas engagements in Latin America and Europe. Charo was first exposed to a national audience on Laugh-In in 1968. She would appear on short chatfests of a few minutes near the end of the show with Dan Rowan and Dick Martin. Her almost complete lack of fluency in the English language was played as a comic focus, and she would have the two hosts practically on the floor laughing at her mangled English. This is also the time that the "Cuchi Cuchi" line passed into the public arena.
Charo was headlining Vegas shows by 1971, and reportedly being paid as much as Frank Sinatra, Ray Charles or Dean Martin. In 1977, she became a naturalized citizen of the United States; that same year, she filed for divorce from Cugat, a petition that was granted April 14, 1978. On August 11, 1978 she married, as her second husband, Kjell Rasten, a producer, in South Lake Tahoe, California, in a civil ceremony attended by 30 guests. Rasten soon became his wife's manager.
In 1982, Charo gave birth to her only son, Shel. Throughout the 1970s, she was a highly visible personality, appearing 8 times on The Love Boat, as well as on variety and talk shows such as Donny & Marie, Tony Orlando and Dawn, The Captain and Tennille, The John Davidson Show, The Mike Douglas Show, which she guest-hosted at least once, and even the infamously short-lived Brady Bunch variety spinoff.
During much of the late 1980s to late 1990s, Charo had limited visibility as she moved to Hawaii, and opened and performed at her own dinner theater while she and Rasten raised their son. In 2001, Charo starred in a Sprint PCS commercial. In 2006, Charo starred in a GEICO commercial.
- Documents in Spain and the United States state that Charo was born in 1941, however Charo claims that she changed her birth year from 1951 to 1941, so she could have married Xavier Cugat.
- Critics say that Charo has received many plastic surgies which include breast implants, rhinoplasty and lip augmentation. But Charo denies ever having plastic surgery.
- Charo has received a Key to the City of Las Vegas.
- Cuchi-Cuchi (1977)
- Olé Olé (1978)
- Bailando con Charo (1981)
- Guitar Passion (1994)
- Blame It on the Macarena (1996)
- Gusto (1997)
- Charo and Guitar (2005)