Spanish spitfire Charo is instantly recognizable with her big blonde hair, her tight and flamboyant clothes that leave little of her voluptuous figure to the imagination, and most of all, her jubilant, jiggling "coochie, coochie" (an interjection that Charo, with a laugh, admits has no real meaning) spoken with a thick Castilian accent. Though her image is that of the consummate bimbo, there is much more to Charo than meets the eye. She is a gifted comedienne who prides herself on putting on shows suitable for families and is also a very talented Spanish guitarist and singer. Although she professionally mangles the English language on-stage, she can read and write it fluently; Charo is also fluent in Japanese, French, and Spanish.
As a young girl, she studied guitar under Andres Segovia, one of the fathers of modern classical guitar music. She came to the U.S. in the '70s and married the much older Spanish bandleader Xavier Cugat. A regular on television talk shows of the era, she appeared frequently in nightclubs and occasionally as a television actress in shows such as Fantasy Island. She has gained most of her renown on the nightclub circuit touring such hot spots as Las Vegas and Atlantic City, but after the birth of her son in the early '80s, she and her new husband moved to Hawaii. Though she has focused more on raising her child over the last decade, Charo continues to perform regularly at the Honolulu resort the Polynesian Palace. She also tours the mainland occasionally. In 1994, she released her first Latino album, Guitar Passion, an album on which she played and sang flamenco-style pop songs on her guitar. Though it didn't receive much radio airplay, it stayed on the Billboard album charts for several months. ~ Sandra Brennan