María del Rosario Pilar Martínez Molina Baeza de Rasten born January 15, 1951); disputed year 1941; better known in the Latin and Hollywood show business as Charo, is a singer, dancer, comedienne, actress and classical guitar player. She is known for her flamboyant stage presence and provocative outfits. Her trademark phrase is "Cuchi-Cuchi."
Charo was born in Murcia, Spain. The exact date of her birth remains somewhat disputed. Charo long maintained that her stated date of birth was incorrect due to a "clerical error". Official documents in Spain and the United States maintained she was born in 1941, but Charo argued she was actually younger. In 1977 she went to court, and was able to successfully convince the judge to rule that she was born in 1951. Some dispute this claim as she would have been 15 in 1966 when she married Xavier Cugat
When Charo was quite young, she was discovered by famous bandleader Xavier Cugat, whom she later wed on August 7, 1966, at the reported age of 15 (or 25 if she was born in 1941 as the documents said); Cugat was 66.
The couple were the first to have their nuptials in Caesars Palace in Las Vegas.
In 1977, she became a naturalized citizen of the United States.
On August 11, 1978 she re-married, this time to her manager Kjell Rasten, in Lake Tahoe.
Charo studied classical and flamenco guitar while residing in Murcia. As a result of her training and skill she has been named "Best Flamenco Guitarist" in Guitar Player Magazine's readers' poll twice. She now has a regular touring show in addition to appearances in Las Vegas shows regularly. One of Charo's regrets is that because of her flamboyant stage presence, she has been overlooked as a guitar player.
She also donates her talents to Jerry Lewis' annual MDA telethon.
Charo's first recurring television role was as a panelist on The Hollywood Squares from 1972 to 1978. She holds the record for celebrity guest appearances in the TV sitcom The Love Boat. Charo also appeared as a regular on Chico and the Man after the untimely death of Freddie Prinze. Charo was a member of the Season 3 cast of The Surreal Life.
In 2006, Charo appeared on the VH1 miniseries I Love the 70s Volume 2 and, along with Little Richard, Don LaFontaine, Peter Graves and Burt Bacharach, appeared in a series of commercials for Geico. She also appeared in ads for Sprint and K-Y Jelly.
- Tiger by the Tail (1968)
- Elvis: That's the Way It Is (1970) (documentary)
- The Concorde: Airport '79 (1979)
- Moon Over Parador (1988)
- Thumbelina (1994) (voice)