Is the Charo performing in St. Petersburg on Saturday the same blond booty-shakin' icon of the '70s? Can't be!
Same top-knot hair poof. Same "cuchi-cuchi" squeal. Sorta same curvalicious body busting out of showy sequins. But that would make her ... well, just how old is she?
Good question. Charo (real name Maria Rosario Pilar Martinez Molina Baeza) insists she was born in 1951 -- which would make her 15 at the time of her marriage to 66-year-old band leader Xavier Cugat. Curiously, records in Spain say she was born in 1941. So 57 or 67?
Either way, we can't think of any other entertainer who has a TV resume quite like this. (And we're not counting game shows, TV specials, sitcoms and commercials.) Click on the links for cheesetastik YouTube video.
The Love Boat
The show that made her a pop culture icon. From 1977-'84, she appeared in eight episodes as lovable stowaway-turned-entertainer April Lopez. Memorable moment: Shaking up the Love Boat theme song with a hoochie-mama disco dance at the end. From there it wasn't much of a leap to Fantasy Island, where she did three episodes.
Variety, talk show queen
Mostly in the '70s, spastic Charo hit them all, spouting off whatever "Spanglish" popped into her head: Carol Burnett, Sonny and Cher, Captain and Tennille, Donny and Marie, Tony Orlando and Dawn, Rowan & Martin's Laugh-In and Dean Martin. Her Web site says she was on the Tonight Show with Johnny Carson at least 45 times. Also, Merv Griffin, Mike Douglas and Late Night with David Letterman.
Martha Stewart (2006): Charo showed up "to smash a 30-pound chocolate bunny with a mallet, then inform America's most meticulous hostess that she needed to start wearing outfits that 'show more maracas,' " according to Entertainment Weekly. Amazingly, it's not the first time Charo and Martha appeared together: Charo sampled Martha's hors d'oeuvres on Merv Griffin in 1983.
Pee-Wee Herman's Christmas Special (1988): She played and sang "Feliz Navidad" while Pee-Wee tried to smash a pinata. Kinda like the Surreal Life meets Dora the Explorer meets Mister Rogers.
-- Compiled by Kelly Smith, Times staff writer. Information from imdb.com, tv.com and charo.com was used in this report.