Charo is one of the celebrities competing in Season 24 of ABC's reality competition series "Dancing with the Stars" in spring 2017.

Only a few people in show business are recognized by just one name. Charo is one of those people. A virtuoso guitarist, singer, composer, actress and comedienne, she is an American music and pop-culture icon.

Charo is instantly recognizable by her trademark expression, "Cuchi-Cuchi," which has endeared her to millions around the world and made her name synonymous with music, fun and excitement. Charo is short for Rosario, her given name of Maria Rosario Pilar Martinez Molina Baeza. Born in the town of Murcia, Spain, she learned to play the guitar at an early age and studied under the world-famous master of Flamenco guitar, Andrés Segovia. Becoming a recording artist in her early teens, Charo appeared in the Spanish film classic "Don Juan Tenorio" and was featured in a children's television show that brought her to the attention of famed Latin bandleader Xavier Cugat. Charo joined Cugat's band and traveled to Las Vegas, where the band played in all the major casinos, including Caesar's Palace, The Flamingo and The Tropicana.

Soon, Charo began performing as a solo artist at the Congo Room at the Sahara Hotel and Casino, sharing the stage with the likes of Johnny Carson, Joey Bishop, Danny Thomas, Buddy Hackett, Jim Nabors and George Burns. During this time, she recorded her hit disco albums, "La Salsa" and "Flamenco Salsa," on Capitol Records. The single, "Cuchi Cuchi," went platinum and became a hit in nightclubs worldwide. Her follow-up album, "Ole-Ole," on Salsoul Records, contained the single "Stay with Me" and became an international hit, achieving gold status. With the introduction of her international hit, "Dance a Little Bit Closer," Charo created and established a new bilingual salsa style — "The Charo Rhythm" — which has been emulated by other performers.

In 1985 she and her husband, Swedish businessman Kjell Rasten, visited Hawaii and fell in love with the islands and relocated her family there. While in Hawaii, she executive produced and starred in the variety show "Tropical Heat" at the Hilton Hawaiian Village Resort in Waikiki, and for ten years it was the most successful show in Hawaii. It was during this time that she began preparing her critically acclaimed album "Guitar Passion," which earned her Female Pop Album of the Year at the Billboard International Latin Music Conference and reached platinum status worldwide.

Charo returned to mainstream show production and headed for Las Vegas. In 2001 she headlined and produced "Bravo," at The Venetian Hotel & Casino. It was named "Best Variety Show in Las Vegas" by Time Magazine. She recently starred in several episodes of the CW's "Jane the Virgin." She and her family also recently appeared on an episode of ABC's "Celebrity Wife Swap," bringing to millions the antics and hilarious situations in her crazy Beverly Hills household. She also appeared in such films as "Moon Over Parador," with Richard Dreyfuss, and "Airport 79: The Concord." She is also currently at work on her latest album and other projects, including an exercise video, "Ejercicio." She also enjoys huge popularity among gay audiences and has appeared several times on "RuPaul's Drag Race." She also teams up with world famous DJs and producers from around the world, who add their dance mixes to her virtuoso guitar performances and come up with dance hits, one of which earned her a World Dance Music Award Nomination.

Charo is a humanitarian and an activist for animal rights and is a member of PETA, who speaks out against animal cruelty. She was recently back on the Billboard charts with her latest single dance club hit, "España Cañí," the traditional bullfighting song, which she recorded in protest against bull fighting. She also teamed up with World of Wonder to produce the video entitled "España Cañí: Dance, Don't Bullfight," which became a viral hit. Charo's efforts eventually led to a ban on bull fighting in the Catalonia region of Spain.

Charo's other accolades include being the recipient of the 2014 Ricardo Montalbán Lifetime Achievement ALMA Award, twice voted "Best Classical Flamenco Guitarist in the World" — Guitar Player Magazine, vice president of Muscular Dystrophy Association, winner of the prestigious Golden Eagle Award for Outstanding Entertainment of the Year, received the Key to the City of Las Vegas by Oscar Goodman (03/14/04), and honored with the "Charo Week Proclamation" from the City of San Francisco (08/02/05).




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FACTS

How tall is she? Find out here.

Height: 5' 4"
Full Name / Real Name: María del Rosario Mercedes Pilar Martínez Molina Baeza
Birthplace: Murcia, Spain
Husband: Kjell Rasten


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'Dancing with the Stars 2017' Contestants and Partners Revealed — Premiering Monday, March 20, Season 24 of the ABC ballroom competition series will feature a real housewife of Beverly Hills, a bull rider who survived a catastrophic injury, a member of the popular band Fifth Harmony, a "Saturday Night Live" alumnus and the original "CuchiCuchi" girl, to name just a few. Read more...


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