But he’s more than just a good time, philanthropy is a major piece of Don Francisco’s life. Since 1978 he has aired an annual telethon that raises funds for disabled children and has collected millions that have gone towards medical research and building hospitals in Chile. He has also raised funds for victims of the Haitian earthquake, Hurricane Katrina and Hurricane Andrew. He has also worked with the US Muscular Dystrophy Association, the Pan American Health Organization, was the first Latino Ambassador to UNICEF and was the first non-Catholic Pope John Paul II gave a medal to for his charitable work.

Don Francisco’s work ethic is what is most jaw dropping about him. Aside from creating four different television shows, he still films two versions of Sabado Gigante (a third in Chile is now filmed without him) without ever re-running an episode. In 2001 he started a weekly talk show, Don Francisco Presenta, as well as regularly hosting other television and game shows. In 2007, he became a filmmaker when he produced a documentary, Testigos del Silencio, and his own account of participating in “The Walk of the Living,” which commemorates the Holocaust and the tales of Holocaust survivors, including his father. “I could have made this less personal, but I decided to make the personal interesting,” he said to the Jewish Daily Forward. “This is my testimony, but it matters to a lot of people.”

As the longest running television host, Don Francisco has won accolades like an ACE, Silver and Don Quixote Awards; titles from the Guinness Book of World Records; a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame and in March 2012 he was inducted into the Television Academy Hall of Fame. But it is his work ethic, passion for serving and entertaining his community that make him a true Don.

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About The Author

Jessica Rodriguez

Besides putting pen to paper for ‘LLERO Jessica is a co-founder. She is a seasoned writer, editor and journalist who has successfully peddled her words across media platforms from Urban Latino, Latina and Cosmo Latina, since picking up her professional pen in 1999.

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