Don Francisco: A Comprehensive Look at the TV Legend

Don Francisco, born Mario Luis Kreutzberger Blumenfeld, is a Chilean television personality who has had a significant impact on the world of entertainment. Best known as the host of the popular variety show Sábado Gigante, Don Francisco’s friendly demeanor and engaging charisma have made him a household name in many Spanish-speaking countries. Throughout his career, he has hosted a variety of TV programs, such as Don Francisco Presenta and Don Francisco Te Invita, further cementing his status as a versatile on-screen host.

Beginning his television career in 1962, Don Francisco initiated a TV show called Show Dominical on Canal 13. However, the program’s broadcasts were later moved to Saturdays, resulting in the legendary show Sábado Gigante. He successfully adapted American television formulas and tailored them to resonate with Chilean audiences. The show eventually came to be recognized by the Guinness Book of World Records as the longest-running variety TV show in history, an accolade that testifies to the enduring appeal of Don Francisco and his hosting abilities.

Life of Don Francisco

Don Francisco, born as Mario Luis Kreutzberger Blumenfeld, is a Chilean television presenter known for his long and successful career in the industry. Born on December 28, 1940, in Talca, Chile, Francisco is the son of Anna and Erick Krentzberger, German Jewish refugees who escaped the atrocities of World War II and the Holocaust.

His early life was influenced by his parents’ backgrounds. His mother Anna was a classical singer, while his father Erick worked as a tailor. Though he dabbled in both singing and tailoring, Don Francisco ultimately found his true calling in television.

Widely recognized for his perseverance and dedication to his craft, Don Francisco has hosted the TV show Sabado Gigante for over 60 years. As a testament to his achievements, he has been awarded two Guinness World Records titles: Longest career as a variety TV show presenter (male) at 60 years 277 days, and the Oldest variety TV show host (male) at 82 years 85 days.

Aside from his television career, Don Francisco is also known for his contributions to contemporary Christian music. He is a two-time Dove Award winner, and his songs such as “He’s Alive,” “Adam, Adam Where Are You,” and “I’ll Never Let Go of Your Hand” have left a lasting impact on the genre. Throughout his life, Don Francisco has credited his success to a spiritual experience, citing it as the reason he rededicated himself to God and entered the world of Christian music.

In conclusion, Don Francisco’s life is a story of perseverance, dedication, and the pursuit of one’s passions. The challenges faced by his parents during World War II and their resilience in the face of adversity undoubtedly helped shape the values that Francisco carries with him in his illustrious career.

Career in Chile

Don Francisco, born Mario Luis Kreutzberger Blumenfeld on December 28, 1940, in Talca, Chile, began his career in the Chilean city of Talca. He created the character Don Francisco to animate events at the Club Israelita Macabbi. Once he entered the television industry, Don Francisco became his identity.

In 1962, Don Francisco’s career in Chile skyrocketed with the initiation of the popular TV show, Sabado Gigante. This variety show gained immense popularity, making it one of the longest-running television programs in history. It aired in Santiago, the capital of Chile, and its fame eventually transcended national borders.

Apart from Sabado Gigante, Don Francisco was the host of several other successful Chilean TV programs, such as Don Francisco Presenta and Don Francisco Te Invita, further solidifying his position as a prominent television personality.

Throughout his career, Don Francisco has been a major contributor to the annual Chilean charity event, Teletón. The fundraiser, held to support the rehabilitation of disabled children, has raised millions of dollars over the years thanks to the efforts of Don Francisco and his team.

It is important to note that the successful television host has not limited his influence to Chile alone. Numerous Chilean versions of internationally acclaimed competition shows, such as ¿Quién merece ser millonario? and Deal or No Deal, have seen Don Francisco as their host.

In summary, Don Francisco’s career in Chile has been marked by an unwavering commitment to entertaining and engaging audiences, while simultaneously contributing to charitable efforts. His vast body of work in the entertainment industry has cemented his legacy as an influential figure in Chilean television history.

Career in United States

Don Francisco began his career in the United States when he moved to Miami, Florida. He became a popular personality on the Univision network, reaching a wide audience of Spanish-speaking viewers across the country. His first major show in the US was “Sábado Gigante,” a variety program that aired for an impressive 53 years before ending in 2015.

In addition to “Sábado Gigante,” Don Francisco also hosted other successful television shows on Univision, such as “Don Francisco Presenta” and “Don Francisco Te Invita.” With his engaging personality and ability to connect with audiences, he managed to carve a niche for himself in American television. Furthermore, he ventured into new territories by taking on hosting duties for the Spanish-language versions of popular game shows like “Deal or No Deal” and “Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?”

In 2021, Don Francisco expanded his reach to CNN en Español with the limited series “Don Francisco: Reflexiones 2021.” This project allowed him to maintain his presence in Spanish-language television and further solidify his legendary status. Eventually, Don Francisco made the move to Telemundo, another major Spanish-language network in the United States, where he continued to engage audiences with captivating entertainment and interviews.

The impact of Don Francisco’s career in the US goes beyond television. He established a studio in Miami, Florida, which became a hub for producing content for Hispanic audiences. His contributions to television and Hispanic culture were recognized when he received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. With a career spanning over six decades, Don Francisco has undoubtedly left an indelible mark on the entertainment industry and inspired generations of Latin American performers and viewers in the United States.

Television Career and Legacy

Don Francisco, born Mario Kreutzberger, is a renowned Chilean television personality who has left an indelible mark on the world of television. With a career spanning over six decades, Don Francisco has established himself as an iconic figure in Latin America and across the globe.

In 1962, Don Francisco created and began hosting the popular variety show, Sabado Gigante. This show went on to become one of the longest-running programs in television history, earning him a Guinness World Record for the longest continuous hosting stint on a TV show. Apart from the beloved Sabado Gigante, he also hosted various other TV programs, including Don Francisco Presenta and Don Francisco Te Invita.

Don Francisco’s impact on Latin American television has been immense, and his influence can be felt across the industry. His charismatic and affable personality quickly made him a household name in many countries. Despite his humble beginnings as a Jewish immigrant’s son in Chile, Don Francisco’s career is nothing short of extraordinary.

In addition to his television hosting duties, Don Francisco dedicated himself to charity work. Between 1978 and 2021, he promoted and hosted the Teletón, a TV charity program aimed at raising funds for disabled Chilean children. Over the course of 30 years, there have been 22 telethons, showcasing his commitment to giving back to the community.

Don Francisco’s achievements in television have not gone unrecognized. His contributions to the medium led to his induction into the Broadcasting & Cable Hall of Fame in 2012. As a TV legend, his career highlights and enduring legacy continue to inspire aspiring television personalities worldwide.

Musical Journey and Accomplishments

Don Francisco is a highly-regarded musician specializing in contemporary Christian music. He was born on February 28, 1946, and has crafted a successful career as a singer, songwriter, and musician. Known for his focus on acoustic instruments and ballad styles, his music often delves into biblical lessons and scriptural events, shedding light on the teachings and life of Jesus Christ.

Throughout his career, Don Francisco has given many interviews, regularly sharing his views and experiences with audiences. His messages often revolve around themes such as unconditional love, salvation, and the importance of fostering a relationship with God, which he weaves into his lyrics and narratives.

With a number of acclaimed albums under his belt, including The Traveler and The Live Concert, Don Francisco has left an indelible mark on the contemporary Christian music scene. Among his most popular songs are “He’s Alive” and “The Musician,” both of which have won Don Francisco Dove Awards in 1980—for Song of the Year and Songwriter of the Year, respectively.

In addition to being a talented recording artist, Don Francisco is also a skilled graphic artist, designing album covers and other promotional material for himself and fellow musicians. His expertise in both fields has allowed him to convey his message of divine love and faith in captivating ways.

Throughout his career, Don Francisco has been involved in various philanthropic endeavors, including working with the Muscular Dystrophy Association. Furthermore, his performances have taken him across the globe, spreading his music and passion for Christ to an international audience.

Based in Miami for a significant part of his life, Don Francisco found fertile ground to bring his unique musical stylings and biblical narratives to a diverse community. Through his talents as a musician, songwriter, and graphic artist, Don Francisco has had a lasting impact on contemporary Christian music and the lives of many who have found solace and inspiration in his work.


Don Francisco, whose real name is Mario Kreutzberger, has ventured into the world of literature, adding to his already illustrious career in television. He has authored at least two books, both of which provide insights into his life and experiences.

His first book, “Entre la Espada y la TV” (Between the Sword and the TV), published in 2000 and written in Spanish, focuses on his life and the various challenges he faced while building his career. This autobiography offers a personal glimpse into his journey, from his humble beginnings to becoming one of the most beloved and recognized television personalities in the Americas.

More recently, during the COVID-19 pandemic, Kreutzberger dedicated himself to writing his second memoir, “Con ganas de vivir” (Penguin Random House). The book looks back at his life and career, offering readers a chance to better understand the man known as Don Francisco.

In addition to his life’s narrative, Don Francisco also penned “Testigos del Silencio” (Witnesses of Silence) in 1990. The work addresses the search for and the impact of missing persons during the dictatorship of General Augusto Pinochet in Chile. Through this literary endeavor, Don Francisco showcases his commitment to social causes, demonstrating that his interests range far beyond the realm of entertainment.

Written by Alexander

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