Paquito Cordero, the pioneer music and television producer, whose work helped launch the careers of singers like Andy Montañez, Lucecita Benítez, and Nydia Caro, died on Tuesday in San Juan. Artists, singers, and sports personalities (Cordero’s company also produced sports events), gathered at the Cathedral in Old San Juan for their last farewell to a beloved man known for his affectionate relationship to his artists and generosity. Among those present at the funeral were salsa stars Andy Montañez and Jerry Rivas (members of the Salsa band El Gran Combo), the creator of Menudo, Edgardo Díaz, and Puerto Rican soccer player Marco Vélez, from the Toronto F.C.
Montañez recalled his 15 years in El Gran Combo de Puerto Rico, during which the group made daily appearances at “El Show de las doce” (The Noon Show), which Cordero produced and which lasted 40 years on Telemundo. “He was a friend on whom you could count, even financially,” said Montañez. “He was there for you no matter what, and that’s how our friendship grew, even if we didn’t see each other for a while, the love was there.”
Díaz recognized that Cordero had been “a key element” in the international reputation of Menudo in the 1980s. “Paquito was a friend who showed me the ropes. Without his support I would not have believed in myself, and Menudo would not have been what it was.” Cordero’s production group also created “Noche de gala” y “Los Kakucómicos.”
Cordero’s boy laid in state at the Old Dominican Convent, site of the Institute of Puerto Rican Culture, where people came to pay their respects. There, Puerto Rican governor Luis Fortuño, said that “to think of the history of Puerto Rican television and of our artists and not start with Paquito is impossible.” The mass at the cathedral that followed was celebrated by Father Antonio José Vázquez. The funeral mass concluded with the singing of “Génesis” by Lucecita Benítez, the song that gave her top Price at the First Festival of the Latin American Song in Mexico in 1969, a landmark moment in Puerto Rican pop music history. Cordero, her agent, accompanied her to the competition.
Cordero was buried at the National Cemetery.
For more (in Spanish) go to http://www.adn.es/sociedad/20090702/NWS-2917-TV-Artistas-Paquito-Cordero-familiares.html