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Subject: Adalberto Martinez, Mexican comedy legend known as 'Resortes'

Mexico City
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Date Posted: April 05, 2003 9:59:08 EDT

Adalberto Martinez, a zany song-and-dance man who starred in more than 100 films and TV shows over nearly seven decades, died Friday. He was 87.

Martinez died at Mexico City's Santa Helena hospital, his wife Josefina Flores said. He had been hospitalized for more than a month with a pulmonary infection.

Nicknamed "Resortes" or "Springy" for being light on his feet, Martinez was a tap dancer and off-color crooner known for an unpredictable mix of physical comedy and stinging wit.

Later, his host of wacky facial expressions and comedic voices made him a radio personality and helped him become one of early the pillars of Mexican cinema.

Born Jan. 25, 1916, in the rough Mexico City neighborhood of Tepito, Martinez was one of 18 children.

Martinez got his start in show business at 15, when he persuaded one of the directors at the city's historic Hidalgo theater to give him an audition.

Martinez appeared in more than 100 Mexican films and television series from 1947 until 2000, including such early hits as 1952's "El Beisbolista Fenomeno" or "The Phenomenal Baseball Player," and 1972's "Los Albaniles" or "The Bricklayers."

He remained a Mexico City personality into his 80s, incorporating the prescription bifocals he wore later in life into his look.

Martinez married three times and had a son with his second wife, actress Gloria Rios.

His current wife said Martinez's body would be taken to the headquarters of Mexico's National Actor's Association on Saturday, where the organization was planning a ceremony in his honor. Details on funeral arrangements were not immediately available.

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