Friday, March 26, 2021 – 08:33
Manuel Celis Dez, popularly known as the Firefighter Bullfighter, has died at the age of 87. I was born in Madrid on July 21, 1933. He inherited his vocation and character from his father, Pablo Celis, who was the first Firefighter Bullfighter. In a corner of Cantabria, in El Tejo, there is an inscription that commemorates the birth of the first artist of this dynasty in 1900. It was in 1928 when he created his unmistakable character of El Bombero Torero, and a year later he began to work in the that, in time, it would become the important comic-bullfighting-musical band El Empastre, which at that time the famous artist Llapisera had just created. Very soon El Empastre and El Bombero acquired great fame, which was added to the lot that Llapisera already had at that time.
The Pablo Celis show, like all the others that proliferated during the twentieth century, it was an extraordinary quarry of serious bullfighters. The inclusion, in its repertoire, of fighting and the death of a bull at the hands of a bullfighter, made many bullfighting figures form in this type of festivities.
Pablo gave the witness to his son Eugenio when he retired in Bogota in 1961. A few years before he had a humorous alternative in Las Ventas. While Eugenio played the main role of the shows, Manuel – now deceased – developed a character in other companies based on his dazzling physical abilities with the name of El Olmpico Manoln. The cuts, jumps and pirouettes caused admiration in children and adults who attended the show.
In 1966 he took over the reins of the show becoming The Fireman III after the withdrawal of Eugenio in Burgos. Manuel was active until the first years of the 21st century. Manuel Celis had several mishaps, the most serious of which occurred in Granada, Bogotá and Mexico. His show toured all the bullfighting places of the world reaching a spectacular fame.
He was succeeded by two nephews and the last performance of this classic show – characterized by the participation of dwarfs bullfighters– was held in 2017 in Almodvar del Campo (Ciudad Real). The comic bullfighting could not be understood without this character created and enlarged by the Celis family.
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