Fans of Rodolfo Guzmán Huerta are celebrating Friday the Mexican wrestler’s would-be 99th birthday. Famously known as El Santo, Huerta is considered one of the greatest athletes in Mexican history, and the iconic luchador is responsible for bringing the sport of wrestling to the forefront in his country.
Google Doodle celebrated the silver-masked fighter’s birthday Friday by featuring a cool doodle of El Santo on the Google homepage in addition to several other doodles from El Santo comic book scenes and his many matches that can be seen here.
Celebrate El Santo’s 99th birthday with these fun facts about the wrestler and actor below:
1. Born in Tulancigo, Hidalgo, Mexico in 1917, Huerta grew up in Mexico City where he later moved with his parents and six siblings. A sportsman by nature, Huerta practiced Ju-Jitsu as a child and he also played baseball and American football.
2. Huerta started his wrestling career in the mid-1930s. He started out with a slew of different stage names including Rudy Guzman, El Hombre Rojo, El Demonio Negro, El Murcielago II before he finally decided to stick with El Santo.
3. Although Huerta later became a popular figure known for fighting against evil, when he first stepped into the wrestling ring he wasn’t the fan favorite crowds loved. It wasn’t until he changed up his image by incorporating a silver mask and heroic persona that he became a superstar adored by legions of fans.
4. Not long after El Santo gained fame as a wrestler, Hollywood came knocking on his door. According to his IMDB, he starred in nearly 60 films – all of which featured wearing his signature silver mask.
5. Although his career kept him busy, Huerta was still a family man. He married María de los Ángeles Rodríguez Montaño in the 1940s and they had 10 children together, including a son named Jorge, who also grew up to be a wrestler known as El Hijo del Santo (the Son of the Saint). Huerta’s grandson, Jorge’s son, also followed in their footsteps and became a wrestler, El Santo Jr., where he still fights in Japan.
6. El Santo’s trademark was his silver mask, which he never took off until 1984 when he finally revealed his identity while appearing on the Mexican talk show, "Contrapunto." Just one week after his big reveal, the famous wrestler died on Feb. 5, 1984. He was buried wearing his mask. Not long after his funeral, which is said to be one of the biggest in Mexican history, a statue was put up in his birth town of Tulancingo.