Luis Vigoreaux (Luis Vigoreaux)

Luis Vigoreaux

Luis Vigoreaux joined Ramón Rivero “Diplo” and José Luis Torregrosa for the radio comedy El Tremendo Hotel. This radio slot enjoyed a large audience for years, and Vigoreaux continued to work as a comedian. Between 1954 and 1955, he joined fellow comedian José 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. Vigoreaux himself played the character of Don Toribio. With the arrival of television to Puerto Rico in 1954, Vigoreaux began his transition hosting a show called El Show Libby’s, sponsored by the company of its namesake. He then hosted the show El tren de la alegría. Luis Vigoreaux later moved to WAPA-TV, motivated by the possibility of working with actor Mario Pabón. They wrote the story for a soap opera, but the project fell through. However, Vigoreaux moved on when he and his second wife, Lydia Echevarria, began hosting the show named La Hora Cero. The show presented many local and international singers, including Celia Cruz, José Feliciano and Marco Antonio Muñiz.

The Vigoreaux family became one of the most famous families in Puerto Rico. Some even referred to the Vigoreaux-Echevarria couple as the Lucy and Desi of Puerto Rico, in reference to the marriage of American comedians Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz. In 1970, Vigoreaux developed a game show named Sube Nene, Sube. Hosted by Vigoreaux it became one of the most seen shows in Puerto Rican television history. Due to this success, WAPA-TV asked Vigoreaux to produce and host a few more game shows. Vigoreaux responded by creating Pa’rriba, Papi, Pa’rriba, which was a variation of Sube Nene, Sube, and Dale que Dale en Domingo. With the production and hosting of all those shows at the same time, the Vigoreaux family opened a studio, which they named Estudio CVC. They were also responsible for the transmission of the MDA television marathon in Puerto Rico. Luis Vigoreaux later jumped 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. 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 La Verdadera Historia de Pedro Navaja. He would act in that play many times, as well as in a play named Angeles Caidos. In addition, he returned to the radio with a program named Buenos Dias, Puerto Rico, on radio station WBMJ-AM, Radio Rock, and worked, for a short period of time, as a television reporter for Noticentro 4.

On the morning of January 18, 1983, Luis Vigoreaux didn’t show up to work at the radio station or at WAPA-TV, causing his co-workers to worry. When his Mercedes-Benz was found with a burned body inside, it was taken to the medical examiner’s office, where it was confirmed it was Vigoreaux. His death launched a wave of rumors and speculations, and led to one of the biggest trials in Puerto Rico’s history. His wife, Lydia Echevarría, was accused formally of his murder, along with Papo Newman and David López-Watts. Allegedly, Echevarría had become jealous of a relationship Vigoreaux had started with actress Nydia Castillo, and had paid Newman and López-Watts to either beat him or murder him. Vigoreaux’s body was found gagged, stabbed, and burned inside the car’s trunk. Echevarría has maintained her innocence, but she was convicted to a life sentence in Vega Alta, Puerto Rico. Newman and López-Watts received similar sentences. However, Echevarría and López-Watts only served roughly 12 years in jail. In January 2000, Governor Pedro Rosselló granted Echevarría a pardon, which was largely criticized by the people. At the time of his death, Luis Vigoreaux was about to begin another game show, A Millón, which eventually became one of the most popular shows in Puerto Rican television history, under the hosting of Hector Marcano and produced by Vigoreaux’s son, Luisito Vigoreaux.

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Born

  • April, 12, 1928
  • USA
  • Ceiba, Puerto Rico

Died

  • January, 17, 1983
  • USA
  • San Juan, Puerto Rico

Cemetery

  • Cementerio Buxeda
  • Carolina Municipality Puerto Rico
  • USA

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