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Luis Vigoreaux

Luis Vigoreaux (April 12 1929-January 17, 1983) was a Puerto Rican show host, comedian and producer. The son of a sugar worker, Vigoreaux became one of the most popular television entertainers in Puerto Rico's history. Vigoreaux was born in Ceiba, Puerto Rico, but he moved at the age of 14 to San Juan, where he began pursuing his artistic dreams.

Vigoreaux as a teenager found work in a radio station named WIAC-FM. There, he worked on a show named Alma Estudiantil (Student Soul). The show was produced by Tomas Muniz, father of another very well liked Puerto Rican show business personality, Tommy Muniz, and grandfather of Rafo Muniz. Vigoreaux saw a big opportunity come by with the arrival of World War II, as many Puerto Rican radio show hosts of the era were called to the war.

During that period, Vigoreaux became known by his listeners as a show host who'd do anything to make his shows succeed. He also became the leading voice on the commercial campaign of Sello Rojo rice in Puerto Rico.

Vigoreaux then joined Ramón Rivero for the radio comedy El Tremendo Hotel (The Tremendous Hotel). This radio space enjoyed a large audience for years, and Vigoreaux was convinced he could make it as a comedian too. During this period of his life, he got married to his first wife, and they had two sons, Luisito Vigoreaux, now a very famous actor, show host, producer and comedian, and Roberto Vigoreaux, a former show host who is a senator.

Between 1954 and 1955, he joined fellow famous comedian Jose Miguel Agrelot in a theater show that took them to many Latin American communities in the United States. The theater show eventually led to a radio program named Torito and Company, after Torito, the character that Agrelot played.

When television made its Puerto Rican debut in 1954, Vigoreaux became attracted to the new media outlet, and in 1955, he was hired to host a show named El Show Libby's, which was sponsored by fruit juice company Libby's. In 1958, he met actress Lydia Echevarria. They were both married at the time and had an adulterous affair. After divorcing their respective spouses, they got married, on February 10, 1960. He and Echevarria had two daughters, Vanessa Vigoreaux, who is also an actress, and Glendalys Vigoreaux.

By that time, Vigoreaux was the host of El tren de la alegria.

That show did not last long, and Vigoreaux later moved to WAPA-TV, motivated by the possibility of working with actor Mario Pabon. They wrote a story for a soap opera, but the project could not come off because there was protests as a consequence of the actor they hired to play the lead being from Cuba. However, Vigoreaux hit the jackpot in 1963, when he and his second wife began hosting the show named La Hora Cero, where many local and international singers, including Celia Cruz, Jose Feliciano and Marco Antonio Muniz, performed at. Vigoreaux, Echevarria and their kids became one of the most famous families in Puerto Rico, and some even referred to the Vigoreaux-Echevarria couple as the Lucy and Desi of Puerto Rico.

In 1970, Vigoreaux developed a show named Sube Nene, Sube (Go up, man, go up!!). The show was a game show where contestants had to go up a greased pole to earn money. Usually the contestant would be a man who was motivated to keep trying on reaching the top by his wife, hence the name Go up, man, go up!. It was hosted by Vigoreaux and Echevarria, and it became one of the top seen shows in Puerto Rican television history. Happy with the performance of Vigoreaux's game show, WAPA-TV asked him to produce and host a few more game shows. So Vigoreaux responded by creating Pa'rriba, Papi, Pa'rriba!! (Reach up, honey, Reach up!); which was a variation of Sube Nene; and Dale Que Dale En Domingo (Keep on Doing it on Sunday). With the production and hosting of all those shows at the same time, the Vigoreaux family became more and more famous. They also opened a studio, which they named Estudio CVC. They were also responsible for the transmission of the MDA television marathon in Puerto Rico.

Vigoreaux later jumped ship to Channel 11, then named the Perez-Perry Network. He bought the Teatro Nuevo San Juan, from where he started transmitting his new show. But this show was not as successful, and soon Vigoreaux found himself off the air. To complicate things, he and Echevarria separated, as he had met aspiring actress Nydia Castillo and begun another adulterous relationship.

In 1980, Vigoreaux went back to WAPA-TV and all his shows were re-scheduled. He also became the show host of that station's lunch hour variety show, El Show Del Mediodia, and began playing the role of Pedro Navaja in a play by the name of La Verdadera Historia De Pedro Navaja (The Real Story of Pedro Navaja). He would participate in that play for the rest of his life, and he also participated in a play named Angeles Caidos (Fallen Angels). In addition to that, he returned to the radio with a program named Buenos Dias (Good Morning), on radio station WBMJ-AM.

On the morning of January 17, 1983, he didn't show up to work at the radio station or at WAPA-TV, causing the worry of his co-workers. When his Mercedes Benz was found with a body inside, the body was taken to the medical examiner's office, where it was confirmed that the body found was that of Vigoreaux.

His death launched a wave of rumors and speculations, and led to one of the biggest trials in Puerto Rico's history. Lydia Echevarria was accused formally for his murder, and it was alleged that she had become jealous of his relationship with Nydia Castillo, and for that reason, she hired professional killers Papo Newman and David Brenes to kill him. While some evidence has surfaced suggesting that she only paid them to give him a beating, the fact is Vigoreaux was gagged, burned and thrown into his car's trunk by his killers. Echevarria was later convicted and spent 15 years in jail.

At the time of his death, Vigoreaux was about to begin another game show, A Millon, which also became one of the most popular shows in Puerto Rican television history, but under the hosting of Hector Marcano and producing of Vigoreaux's son Luisito.