Cheech Marin

Richard Anthony "Cheech" Marín (born July 13, 1946) is an American stand-up comedian, actor, voice actor, writer and activist who gained recognition as part of the comedy act Cheech & Chong during the 1970s and early 1980s with Tommy Chong and as Don Johnson's partner, Insp. Joe Dominguez, on Nash Bridges. He has also voiced characters in several Disney films, including Oliver & Company, The Lion King, the Cars series, Coco and Beverly Hills Chihuahua.

Cheech Marin
Marin at the 2012 ALMA Awards
Birth nameRichard Anthony Marín
Born (1946-07-13) July 13, 1946
South Los Angeles, California, U.S.
MediumStand-up, film, television[1]
Years active1971–present
GenresObservational comedy, stoner comedy, sketch comedy, satire
Subject(s)Latin American culture, recreational drug use, drug culture, everyday life
Darlene Morley
(m. 1975; div. 1984)

Patti Heid
(m. 1986; div. 2009)

Natasha Rubin (m. 2009)

Marín's trademark is his characters' strong Chicano accents, although Marin himself does not speak Spanish

Early life

Marin was born in South Los Angeles, California, to Mexican American parents Elsa, (née Meza), a secretary, and Oscar Marin, a police officer for the LAPD.[2] Marin was born with a cleft lip, which was surgically repaired. According to Marin, he identifies as Chicano; he speaks some Spanish and often uses it in his movies, but he is not fluent.[3][4]

Marin's nickname "Cheech" is short for "chicharron", fried pork rind, which is a popular snack and ingredient in Mexican cuisine.[5] In a 2017 NPR interview, Marin attributed the nickname to his uncle: "I came home from the hospital, I was like a couple days old or something, my uncle came over and he looked in the crib and he said [in Spanish], 'Ay, parece un chicharrón.' Looks like a little chicharrón, you know?"[6]

Marin graduated from Bishop Alemany High School and then studied at San Fernando Valley State College (now California State University, Northridge), where he was a member of Phi Sigma Kappa, but dropped out before he graduated. Marin then auditioned to sing for Frank Zappa in 1967, but instead moved to Vancouver, British Columbia in September to dodge the draft during the Vietnam War.[7] Marin met his future comedic partner, Tommy Chong, in Calgary, Alberta.[8]


Comedy albums and films

As a part of the highly successful comedy duo Cheech & Chong, Marin participated in a number of comedy albums and feature film comedies in the 1970s and 1980s. Tommy Chong directed four of their films while co-writing and starring in all seven with Marin.

Later films and television work

After Cheech & Chong disbanded in 1985, Marin starred in a number of films as a solo actor, most notably Born in East L.A., The Shrimp on the Barbie, Tin Cup, and Once Upon a Time in Mexico. He made a cameo appearance as a dockworker in Ghostbusters II. In 2004 he made his second appearance as a policeman, as "Officer Salino" in the film adaptation of John Grisham's holiday novel "Skipping Christmas", under the title "Christmas With the Kranks", starring Tim Allen and Jamie Lee Curtis. Marin appeared in the Fox sitcom Married… with Children as the voice of the Bundy’s Briard dog, Buck; he voiced the character in three episodes: Look Who's Barking, Change for a Buck and Assault and Batteries.

Marin made the transition to full-time television work when he co-starred on the short-lived The Golden Girls spin-off The Golden Palace (1992–1993), and later with Don Johnson, Jaime P. Gomez, and Yasmine Bleeth in the police show Nash Bridges (1996–2001), in which they played San Francisco police-detective partners. In recent years he has been active in playing supporting roles in films and performing voice overs for animated features. After appearing in a supporting role in Judging Amy, playing an independently wealthy landscape designer, Marin starred in the CBS sitcom Rob, with Rob Schneider.

Marin is a frequent collaborator of the director Robert Rodriguez, who has worked with Marin seven times; the last two installments of the Mexico trilogy, the Spy Kids trilogy, From Dusk Till Dawn and Machete. He provided his voice for several Disney animated films, most notably Tito the Chihuahua in Oliver & Company (1988), Banzai the hyena in The Lion King (1994), and Ramone in Cars (2006) and its sequels Cars 2 (2011) and Cars 3 (2017). He also played Pancho in The Cisco Kid (1994), and reprised the Banzai role in the video game Kingdom Hearts II.

Marin has released two best-selling albums in the children's music genre, My Name is Cheech, the School Bus Driver (1992) and My Name is Cheech, The School Bus Driver "Coast to Coast" (1997). Both albums were released bilingually. In July 2007, the book Cheech the School Bus Driver was released, written by Marin, illustrated by Orlando L. Ramirez, and published by HarperCollins.

In 2005, Marin lent his voice to the animated children's series Dora the Explorer.[9] He appeared in the episode "A Crown for King Juan el Bobo", as the Puerto Rican folk hero Juan Bobo.[10]

Additional television appearances

In late 2006, Marin participated in Simon Cowell's Celebrity Duets, having sung with Peter Frampton, Randy Travis, Clint Black, Aaron Neville, and Al Jarreau. He was the fourth to be eliminated. In that same year, he voiced as Gaspar Gomez in Scarface: The World Is Yours.

Marin had a recurring role in the hit television series Lost, playing David Reyes, Hurley's father.

He was a co-host for WWE Raw on March 1, 2010, with his comedy partner Tommy Chong, in Oklahoma City.

Marin also sings on the hidden track "Earache My Eye" on Korn's album Follow the Leader.

In 2009, he appeared in the Hallmark Channel movie Expecting a Miracle.

On March 18, 2010, Marin beat journalist Anderson Cooper and actress Aisha Tyler on Celebrity Jeopardy!'s Million Dollar Celebrity Invitational. Cooper admitted he was "crushed" by Marin.[11] Marin also won his semifinal round early May but lost in the May 6–7 final to Michael McKean. He had previously won the first Celebrity Jeopardy! tournament in 1992.[12]

In January 2012, he was one of eight celebrities participating in the Food Network reality series Rachael vs. Guy: Celebrity Cook-Off. He was eliminated on the third week of the competition.[13]

Other interests

Marin is an avid collector of Chicano art. Two national touring exhibitions have featured works from his private collection. Marin started collecting Chicano art in the 1980s. He feels that it's important to "use his celebrity status to call attention to what he saw as an under-appreciated and under-represented style of art."[14]

He is an avid golfer, although he initially disliked the sport until he co-starred in Tin Cup. He also enjoys horse archery, which he practices on a special course that he has built on his private land.

On April 19, 2018, Cheech (as part of GLE Brands Inc) signed an agreement with Heritage Cannabis Holdings Corporation (CSE: CANN) to have exclusive rights to use cannabis and cannabis related products utilizing the Private Stash brand throughout Canada for a period of 2 years, with the agreement automatically renewing for an additional year upon achieving various milestones.

Personal life

Marin was married in 1975 to Darlene Morley, who co-produced Cheech & Chong's The Corsican Brothers and also played minor roles in earlier Cheech & Chong films under the name Rikki Marin. The couple had one child and divorced in 1984. Marin married artist Patti Heid in 1986; they had two children and have since divorced. Marin married his longtime girlfriend, Russian pianist Natasha Rubin, on August 8, 2009, in a sunset ceremony at their home.

Marin resides in Malibu, California.[15]

On June 25, 2019, The New York Times Magazine listed Cheech & Chong among hundreds of artists whose material was reportedly destroyed in the 2008 Universal fire.[16]



1978Up in SmokePedro de Pacas
1980Cheech and Chong's Next MovieCheech/Dwayne "Red" Mendoza
1981Nice DreamsCheech
1982Things Are Tough All OverCheech/Mr.Slyman/Narrator
1983Still Smokin'Cheech
YellowbeardEl Segundo
1984Cannonball Run IITire Store Employee
Cheech & Chong's The Corsican BrothersCorsican Brother
1985Get Out of My RoomCheech/Ian Rotten
After HoursNeil
1986Charlie Barnett's Terms of EnrollmentElvis Friend & Fan
Echo ParkSid
1987Born in East L.A.Rudy Robles
Fatal BeautyBartender
1988Mickey's 60th BirthdayDisney Janitor
Oliver & CompanyTito the ChihuahuaVoice
1989Ghostbusters IIDock Supervisor
Rude AwakeningJesus Monteya
Troop Beverly HillsHimself
1990Far Out ManCheech
The Shrimp on the BarbieCarlos Munoz
Mother Goose Rock 'n' RhymeCarnival Barker
1992Ferngully: The Last RainforestStumpVoice
1994Charlie's Ghost StoryCoronado
The Magic of the Golden Bear: Goldy IIIMaster Borgia
A Million to JuanShell Shock
The Lion KingBanzai the HyenaVoice
1995DesperadoShort Bartender
1996Blazing DragonsSir George/Guido/Loudmouth GuardVoice
From Dusk Till DawnBorder Guard/Chet Pussy/Carlos
The Great White HypeJulio Escobar
Tin CupRomeo Posar
It's Tough to be a Bug!ChiliAttraction at Disney's Animal Kingdom
1999The Nuttiest NutcrackerMacVoice
2000See You in My DreamsEstaban
Picking Up the PiecesMayor Machado
2001Spy KidsFelix GummThe Fake Uncle
2002Spy Kids 2: The Island of Lost DreamsFelix GummThe Fake Uncle
PinocchioThe FoxVoice
2003The OrtegasHenny Ortega
Masked and AnonymousProspero
Spy Kids 3-D: Game OverFelix GummThe Fake Uncle
Once Upon a Time in MexicoBelini
Good Boy!The HenchmenVoice
2004The Lion King 1½Banzai the Hyena
Christmas with the KranksOfficer Salino
2005Sian Ka'anVoice
Fall Down a SchoolErick Matthew, 202, 26, 57, 211 Bus Motorists
UnderclassmanCaptain Victor Delgado
Kingdom Hearts IIBanzai the HyenaVoice; video-game
Scarface: The World is YoursGaspar Gomez
Mater and the GhostlightRamoneVoice
2007The Union: The Business Behind Getting HighHimself
GrindhousePadre Benicio Del Toro
2008Beverly Hills ChihuahuaManuelVoice
2009Expecting a MiracleFather ArturoTelevision film
Race to Witch MountainEddie Cortez The Auto Mechanic
2010The Perfect GamePadre Esteban
Tales from EarthseaHareVoice; US version only
MachetePadre Benicio Del ToroCheech also makes an appearance as the Padre in the (then) fictitious Machete trailer for the 2007 Grindhouse double feature. The trailer appears in the DVD for the Planet Terror portion of Grindhouse.
2011Cars 2RamoneVoice
Hoodwinked 2: Hood vs. EvilMad Hog
2012El Santos vs. La Tetona MendozaNarrator, El CharroVoice (Spanish-language Mexican animated film)[17]
Seven PsychopathsThe Dog, Erick MatthewVoice
2013Cheech & Chong's Animated MovieCheech/Pedro de Pacas
2014The Book of LifePancho Rodriguez
2016El Americano: The Movie[18]MartinVoice
2017Cars 3[19]RamoneVoice
Coco Corrections Officer Voice
The War with GrandpaDanny


Video games

Theme park attractions

Cheech and Chong comedy albums


  • Marin, Cheech; Hassan, John (2017). Cheech Is Not My Real Name…But Don't Call Me Chong!. New York: Grand Central Publishing. ISBN 9781455592340. OCLC 974034992.


  1. Marin, Richard (October 19, 2019). "The Call". The Moth.
  2. Wedlan, Candace A. (May 10, 1999). "Whatever Works / CHEECH MARIN; A Comic Axed by His Own Club". Los Angeles Times. Southern California Living section, PART-E, page 1. Retrieved March 13, 2017. (subscription required)
  3. "What is a Chicano?". Cheech Marin. May 3, 2012.
  4. "Sophisticated and Naive: A Conversation with Cheech Marin | The Bend Magazine".
  5. "The Comedy Couch – Cheech Marin Interview". The Comedy Couch. July 10, 2006. Retrieved March 13, 2017.
  6. "Cheech Marin On How His Famed Comic Collaboration Was Like Chicano Art". National Public Radio - Morning Edition. March 13, 2017. Retrieved March 13, 2017.
  7. Marin, Cheech (2009). Greasy Love Songs (Media notes). Frank Zappa. Zappa Records.
  8. Volmers, Eric (January 24, 2016). "Tommy Chong Talks Comedy, Pot, Politics and His Days as a Calgary Herald Paperboy". Calgary Herald. Retrieved March 13, 2017.
  9. Nickelodeon. IMDB, A Crown for King Bobo. Aired October 23, 2005 Retrieved May 29, 2013
  10. IMDB, A Crown for King Bobo Retrieved May 29, 2013.
  11. Steve Krakauer. "Another CNN Anchor Fails At Celebrity Jeopardy".
  12. "Cheech Marin Donates ''Jeopardy!'' Winnings to Charity". Retrieved November 5, 2015.
  13. "Rachael vs. Guy Celebrity Cook-Off: New Show Premieres This Winter". July 29, 2011. Retrieved November 5, 2015.
  14. Allen, Mike (April 21, 2013). "In collection, W&L talk, Cheech Marin champions Chicano art". The Roanoke Times. Retrieved February 26, 2015.
  15. "Limelight Listing – Cheech Marin's Malibu home". SFGate. June 3, 2011. Retrieved September 6, 2011.
  16. Rosen, Jody (June 25, 2019). "Here Are Hundreds More Artists Whose Tapes Were Destroyed in the UMG Fire". The New York Times. Retrieved June 28, 2019.
  17. AnimaWeb. "Personajes". Santos vs. Tetona. Retrieved November 5, 2015.
  18. Hopewell, John (May 20, 2014). "'El Americano 3D' Kicks Off Pre-Sales at Cannes (EXCLUSIVE)". Variety (magazine). Retrieved May 21, 2014.
  19. "Sneak peek: 'Cars 3' zooms ahead with new character Cruz Ramirez".
  20. Andreeva, Nellie (December 6, 2010). "Cheech Marin To Co-Star In 'Outnumbered' And Harry Hamlin To Recur On 'Army Wives'". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved July 7, 2017.
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