Don Francisco Named to TV Hall of Fame…

It’s a momento gigante for legendary Spanish-language television host Don Francisco

The 70-year-old Chilean television icon will be inducted into the Academy of Television Arts & SciencesHall of Fame next March for his extraordinary contributions to television.

Mario Kreutzberger, Don Francisco

Born Mario Luis Kreutzberger Blumenfeld, the Emmy-winning Univision star is best known for hosting Sábado Gigante, one of the most popular programs in the history of Spanish-language television. He’s also the host of Don Francisco Presenta, another variety show that features interviews with big-name artists.

Born in southern Chile, Kreutzberger is the son of German Jewish immigrants who fled to the South American country to escape Nazi persecution. His father hoped he’d follow in his footsteps by working in the garment industry. After working as an apprentice in New York City, Don Francisco returned to Chile and decided to work in broadcasting instead. On August 8, 1962, the show that went on to make television history, Sábado Gigante, was born. It has since been recognized by the Guinness Book of World Records as the “… longest-running TV show in the Americas.”

Kreutzberger has received several honors throughout his career, including the “Gabriela Mistral Order of Merit,” the Chilean government’s highest grade of Grand Officer for his contributions to culture and solidarity in the country. Kreutzberger has also been honored with a
star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 2001 and an Emmy in 2005 for being a leader in Spanish-language television.

In his home country, Kreutzberger created the Chilean Telethon which has resulted in the construction of 11 hospitals, where more than 80,000 disabled children are treated. His idea inspired 13 Latin American countries to create their own telethons.

Kreutzberger will be inducted into the Hall of Fame at the 21st annual ceremony on March 1 at Los Angeles’ Beverly Hills Hotel.

Image courtesy of AP Photo/Alan Diaz.