Jose Antonio Hipolito Espino Mora, who took the stage name “Clavillazo” was a comic actor and Mexican film star. He was characterized by his knickerbockers slacks, baggy long sleeved shirts, long neckties, a peculiar three-cornered hat and his famous phrases – “¡pura vida!”, “¡woe no máaaas!” in a tone of joy or “never do that to me!” His tone of hopelessness were the characteristics that made Clavillazo one of the most recognized comedians and loved by the Mexican public.
Clavillazo was born to Fidel Espino and Berta Lopez Mora Calderon on August 13, 1910 in Teziutlán, Puebla, Mexico. He was the second of eleven children born to the couple. His parents opened a butcher shop in Teziutlán that became a success and when Clavillazo was ten years old, he started working in the shop. A few years later a smallpox epidemic took the lives of his older sister Bertha Espino Mora whom Clavillazo thought of as his second mother.
Clavillazo attended school until the third grade and at age 12 he ran away from home to live in Mexico City. His father tracked him down and brought him back to Teziutlán. However, rather than return to school, Clavillazo decided to become a part time actor at the Teatro Victoria theater in Teziutlán.
In 1943, at the age of 33, and after garnering success as an actor in his hometown, Clavillazo moved back to Mexico City where he sought to become an actor. In order to support himself while searching for acting jobs, Clavillazo sold perfumes in the streets to actors and actresses in order to stay in touch with his chosen profession. He eventually found minor roles and begin once again devoting himself to the theater and vaudeville. As a gimmick he painted nails that appear to come out of his eyes. This earned him the nickname, “Clavillazo!”
He eventually purchased his own tent in Mexico City, which were numerous at the time, for his performances, naming it first as Teziutlán after his birthplace and later renaming it Bertha Carp, in honor of his mother and his late sister.
Clavillazo was hired to perform in his first film, “Monte de Piedad” in 1950. It was directed by well known Carlos Vejar and released in 1951. He would go on to star in 38 films.
Clavillazo is considered an essential part of the Golden Age of Mexican cinema which ran between 1935 and 1958 and refers to the years when film production in the country was the most prominent of the Spanish-speaking countries.
With the money, Clavillazo earned in making movies, he began investing in and developing real estate in Tepotzotlan.
Clavillazo made his last movie, “Bohemios de Afición” in 1984. He passed away at the age of 83 years old on November 24, 1993 in Mexico City from cardiac arrest.
In 2009, TV Azteca paid tribute to the actor in, “The Story Behind the Myth of Clavillazo”, with Clavillazo’s cousins Jose Mora, Maria Luisa Mora and Mora Margarita Martinez appearing on the show.