Dubious call on Aguilar

Aguilar crowdToday's Times relegates the obituary of Mexican music legend and big-time Los Angeles crowd pleaser Antonio Aguilar — "the Roy Rogers of Mexico" — to the obits page. In the front page box where they could have at least teased to the story, Times editors go instead with a file photo of — dead white singing cowboy Gene Autry. And they wonder why the Times isn't connecting with Southern Californians of Latino heritage. How big is Aguilar? The photo of his hearse being surrounded in Mexico ran with the front page story in La Opinión. Here's Agustin Gurza from the Times obit:

AguilarIn a career that spanned six decades, Aguilar made more than 160 records and more than 100 films, often starring as a fearless champion of the poor in dramas with revolutionary themes. In his personal life, he nurtured an image as a devoted family man, married for more than 45 years to his wife, singer Flor Silvestre, and shepherding his two boys, Antonio and Pepe, into show business at an early age and leaving a legacy through Pepe Aguilar, now a successful recording star in his own right.

In Los Angeles, Aguilar built an enormous following starting in the 1950s, first as a solo singer and then with his thrilling rodeos, which began in the '60s.

On Wednesday, Aguilar was remembered as one of the first Mexican artists to develop a fan base among Mexican immigrants in the United States and to engage non-Latino audiences here as well.

USC journalism professor Félix Gutiérrez recalled a chance airport encounter with Aguilar in the early 1970s. Gutierrez was a graduate student at Stanford University when he spotted Aguilar arriving with his wife on a commuter plane in San Jose, totally unnoticed by the general public and carrying their own bags. The only ones who recognized the famous couple were custodians and other Latino laborers who were as thrilled to spot their beloved stars as others might be to see Bob Hope.

La Opinión calls Aguilar "El Charro de México."

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