NAVIGATION

January 19, 2017

Florida Icon

Icon: Don Francisco

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

Mike Vogel | 6/1/2006

I was a big fan of Johnny Carson.

I did documentaries in 168 countries during the 40 years. I had the opportunity to interview Golda Meier, Bush, the other Bush, Indira Gandhi, big people in politics, in Hollywood.

I do a telethon for handicapped children. We've built 11 hospitals, and we have raised over $250 million in 40 years. I got the idea for the telethon from Jerry Lewis.

When you're 45, you think you're going to end at 50. When you reach that time, you like to stretch it. It's not a money question. It's being happy. It's feeling that you can do something, right?

The audience, they retire you. When your program doesn't appeal to the majority of the audience, then they tell you, 'My friend, that's it.' You have to be prepared for that, but you're never prepared.

In my 44 years, I was not in the show only one time, when my mother passed away.

I have Type 2 diabetes. I try to control that.

This is a work that's 24 hours a day, every day. It's not that you have to work always, but you have to think, you have to be creative, you have to find always new segments.

I'm Jewish. I was in a Jewish club. I was doing an impression of a Jewish guy that couldn't speak Spanish well. I had a big stomach -- they put me with feathers like a pillow here -- and I was telling jokes. That was Don Francisco. I went one day to a contestant program, and they asked me what's my name? 'My name is Mario Kreutzberger.' That's a very difficult pronunciation in Spanish. The host said, 'You don't have another name?' And I said, 'Don Francisco.' That night I won, and I'm very superstitious.

I'm a quiet person.

Tags: Florida Icon, Around Florida

In case you missed it:

Digital Access

DIRECT DIGITAL ACCESS
Add digital to your current subscription, purchase a single digital issue, or start a new subscription to Florida Trend.

TABLE OF CONTENTS
An overview of the features and articles in this month's issue of Florida Trend.

ACCESS THIS ISSUE »

Florida Business News

Florida Trend Video Pick

Niche service, centralized management and the future of Florida law
Niche service, centralized management and the future of Florida law

Mayanne Downs, president and managing director of Gray Robinson, emphasizes the importance of specialized practice areas in the future of law service, and extols the flexibility derived from her firm's "centralized management" structure.

Earlier Videos | Viewpoints@FloridaTrend

Ballot Box

Do you support the repeal of Obamacare?

  • Yes
  • Yes, but only if a good replacement plan is in place simultaneously
  • Maybe, waiting to see if there will be a plan to replace
  • No

See Results

Ballot Box
Subscribe