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December 1, 2015

Florida Icon

Icon: Don Francisco

Mario Kreutzberger/Don Francisco, 65, TV host, Miami-based

Mike Vogel | 6/1/2006
In May we became 20 years in the United States and 44 years since we started with the program. We're going again into the 'Guinness Book of Records.'

Don Francisco
Don Francisco [Photo: Brian Smith]
My real profession is another profession. I'm a men's clothes designer. My father sent me here in 1959. I never saw television before. I saw it for the first time when I went into the room of a very humble hotel in New York, the Stanford hotel, still there at 32nd and Broadway. It used to be for Spanish people; now it's for Korean people.

I went back to Chile at the end of 1961. After awhile I got the (television) opportunity. I was 21. I'm doing the same program since I'm 22.

Today especially I'm tired. There are some days when you are tired and some days when you're OK.

The time of Jack Paar, Art Linkletter, the beginnings of Johnny Carson, Ed Sullivan -- there was a lot more interaction with the audience than today. I have to do this show on the side of the audience. I'm always with the audience, through the audience, talking to the audience.

I'm working here with the company trying to have subtitles in English. When I'm traveling around the states, many people say, 'You know, I don't speak Spanish, but I watch 15, 20 minutes. It's entertaining for me.'

I was making money in Chile. I couldn't make enough money here. This was a very humble show. (So) I flew every Saturday night from Santiago to Miami, every Wednesday night from Miami to Santiago. I did that for three years. Only the ego can keep you going. When I got to the level I was respected here, then I stayed here and went back to Chile only once a month.

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