Cheech Marin
Marin in February 2018
Birth nameRichard Anthony Marín
Born (1946-07-13) July 13, 1946 (age 75)[1]
Los Angeles, California, U.S.
MediumStand-up, film, television[2]
Years active1971–present
GenresCharacter comedy, stoner comedy, sketch comedy, musical comedy, political 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)

Richard Anthony "Cheech" Marin (born July 13, 1946), is an American stand-up comedian, actor, writer, activist, and art collector 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.

Marín's trademark is his characters' strong Chicano accents, although Marin himself is not fluent in Spanish.[3][4]

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.[5] 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 Latin American cuisine.[6] 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?"[7]

Marin graduated from Bishop Alemany High School and then studied English at San Fernando Valley State College (now California State University, Northridge), where he was a member of Phi Sigma Kappa and graduated in 1968.[8] Marin then auditioned to sing for Frank Zappa in 1967, but instead moved to Vancouver, British Columbia in September to evade the draft during the Vietnam War.[9] Marin met his future comedic partner, Tommy Chong, in Calgary, Alberta.[10]


Comedy albums and films

Main article: Cheech & Chong

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 encouraging people to wear masks during the COVID-19 pandemic as part of the Government of California's "Your Actions Save Lives" campaign in 2020.
Marin encouraging people to wear masks during the COVID-19 pandemic as part of the Government of California's "Your Actions Save Lives" campaign in 2020.

Cheech appears in several episodes of AMC's "Lodge 49" as El Confidente, a member of Lodge 55 in Mexico.[11][circular reference]

Children's music albums and related works

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.[12] He appeared in the episode "A Crown for King Juan el Bobo", as the Puerto Rican folk hero Juan Bobo.[13]

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.[14] 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.[15]

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.[16]

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".[17] In collaboration with the city of Riverside, California, and the Riverside Art Museum, Marin established The Cheech Marin Center for Chicano Art, Culture & Industry, in the City of Riverside, which is due to open in 2021. Marin will be donating his collection of over 700 pieces of Chicano art, the largest collection of such art in the world.[18] The center will provide a location for the presentation and study of Chicano art, and is expected to draw international attention.[19][20]

He is an avid golfer, although he initially disliked the sport until he co-starred [21] in the golf-themed comedy 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.[22]

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.[23]



Year Title Role Notes
1978 Up in Smoke Pedro de Pacas
1980 Cheech and Chong's Next Movie Cheech/Dwayne "Red" Mendoza
1981 Nice Dreams Cheech
1982 Things Are Tough All Over Cheech/Mr.Slyman/Narrator
1983 Still Smokin' Cheech
Yellowbeard El Segundo
1984 Cannonball Run II Tire Store Employee
Cheech & Chong's The Corsican Brothers Corsican Brother
1985 Get Out of My Room Cheech/Ian Rotten
After Hours Neil
1986 Charlie Barnett's Terms of Enrollment Elvis Friend & Fan
Echo Park Sid
1987 Born in East L.A. Rudy Robles
Fatal Beauty Bartender
1988 Mickey's 60th Birthday Disney Janitor
Oliver & Company Tito the Chihuahua (voice)
1989 Ghostbusters II Dock Supervisor
Rude Awakening Jesus Monteya
Troop Beverly Hills Himself
1990 Far Out Man Cheech
The Shrimp on the Barbie Carlos Munoz
Mother Goose Rock 'n' Rhyme Carnival Barker
1992 Ferngully: The Last Rainforest Stump (voice)
1994 Charlie's Ghost Story Coronado
The Magic of the Golden Bear: Goldy III Master Borgia
A Million to Juan Shell Shock
The Lion King Banzai (voice)
1995 Desperado Short Bartender
1996 From Dusk Till Dawn Border Guard/Chet Pussy/Carlos
The Great White Hype Julio Escobar
Tin Cup Romeo Posar
1998 Paulie Ignacio
1999 The Nuttiest Nutcracker Mac (voice) Direct-to-video
2000 See You in My Dreams Estaban
Luminarias Jesus
Picking Up the Pieces Mayor Machado
2001 Spy Kids Felix Gumm The Fake Uncle
2002 Spy Kids 2: The Island of Lost Dreams Felix Gumm The Fake Uncle Cameo
Pinocchio The Fox (voice)
2003 Masked and Anonymous Prospero
Spy Kids 3-D: Game Over Felix Gumm The Fake Uncle Cameo
Once Upon a Time in Mexico Belini
Good Boy! The Henchmen (voice)
2004 The Lion King 1½ Banzai (voice) Direct-to-video
Christmas with the Kranks Officer Salino
2005 Sian Ka'an Unknown role (voice)
Fall Down a School Erick Matthew, 202, 26, 57, 211 Bus Motorists (voices)
Underclassman Captain Victor Delgado
2006 Cars Ramone (voice)
Scarface: The World is Yours Gaspar Gomez
Mater and the Ghostlight Ramone (voice) Short film
2007 The Union: The Business Behind Getting High Himself
Grindhouse Padre Benicio Del Toro
2008 Beverly Hills Chihuahua Manuel (voice)
2009 Expecting a Miracle Father Arturo Television film
Race to Witch Mountain Eddie Cortez The Auto Mechanic
2010 The Perfect Game Padre Esteban
Tales from Earthsea Hare (voice) US version only
Machete Padre Benicio Del Toro Cheech 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.
2011 Cars 2 Ramone (voice)
Hoodwinked 2: Hood vs. Evil Mad Hog (voice)
2012 El Santos vs. La Tetona Mendoza Narrator, El Charro (voices) (Spanish-language Mexican animated film)[24]
Seven Psychopaths The Dog, Erick Matthew (voice)
Tad, The Lost Explorer Freddy (voice) US English dub
2013 Cheech & Chong's Animated Movie Cheech/Pedro de Pacas (voice)
2014 The Book of Life Pancho Rodriguez (voice)
2016 El Americano: The Movie Martin (voice) [25]
2017 Cars 3 Ramone (voice) [26]
Coco Corrections Officer (voice)
2019 The Cheech: An American Icon's Crusade for the Chicano Art Movement Himself A documentary covering Marin's lifelong advocacy for Chicano art, and his efforts to develop The Cheech Marin Center for Chicano Art, Culture and Industry.
2020 The War with Grandpa Danny
2022 Shotgun Wedding Robert Post-production


Video games

Theme park attractions




  1. ^ Dominguez, Robert (April 16, 1998). "Cheech Is Taking The High Road". Daily News. New York, NY. p. 49. Retrieved January 21, 2021.
  2. ^ Marin, Richard (October 19, 2019). "The Call". The Moth.
  3. ^ a b "What is a Chicano?". Cheech Marin. May 3, 2012.
  4. ^ a b "Sophisticated and Naive: A Conversation with Cheech Marin | The Bend Magazine".
  5. ^ 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. Archived from the original on March 14, 2017. Retrieved March 13, 2017. (subscription required)
  6. ^ "The Comedy Couch – Cheech Marin Interview". The Comedy Couch. July 10, 2006. Retrieved March 13, 2017.
  7. ^ "Cheech Marin On How His Famed Comic Collaboration Was Like Chicano Art". National Public Radio - Morning Edition. March 13, 2017. Retrieved March 13, 2017.
  8. ^ "Alum "Cheech" Marin and CSUN's Harry Gamboa Featured in French Art Exhibit". CSUN Today. June 30, 2014. Retrieved January 28, 2020.
  9. ^ Marin, Cheech (2009). Greasy Love Songs (Media notes). Frank Zappa. Zappa Records.
  10. ^ 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.
  11. ^ Lodge 49
  12. ^ Nickelodeon. IMDb, A Crown for King Bobo. Aired October 23, 2005 Retrieved May 29, 2013
  13. ^ IMDb, A Crown for King Bobo Retrieved May 29, 2013.
  14. ^ Steve Krakauer (March 19, 2010). "Another CNN Anchor Fails At Celebrity Jeopardy".
  15. ^ "Cheech Marin Donates Jeopardy! Winnings to Charity". May 9, 2010. Retrieved November 5, 2015.
  16. ^ "Rachael vs. Guy Celebrity Cook-Off: New Show Premieres This Winter". July 29, 2011. Retrieved November 5, 2015.
  17. ^ Allen, Mike (April 21, 2013). "In collection, W&L talk, Cheech Marin champions Chicano art". The Roanoke Times. Retrieved February 26, 2015.
  18. ^ Editors. "Cheech Marin Biography". The website. A&E Television Networks. Archived from the original on July 7, 2020. Retrieved July 13, 2020.
  19. ^ Miranda, Carolina A. (May 1, 2017). "Cheech Marin teams up with city of Riverside and Riverside Art Museum to develop Chicano art center". Los Angeles Times. Los Angeles Times. Archived from the original on June 9, 2020. Retrieved June 9, 2020.
  20. ^ "Bank of America Invests $750,000 to Cheech Marin Center for Chicano Art". Colton, California: IECN. Inland Empire Community News. December 22, 2019. Retrieved June 10, 2020.
  21. ^ "Tin Cup". August 6, 1996. Retrieved November 18, 2020.
  22. ^ "Limelight Listing – Cheech Marin's Malibu home". SFGate. June 3, 2011. Retrieved September 6, 2011.
  23. ^ 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.
  24. ^ AnimaWeb. "Personajes". Santos vs. Tetona. Retrieved November 5, 2015.
  25. ^ Hopewell, John (May 20, 2014). "'El Americano 3D' Kicks Off Pre-Sales at Cannes (EXCLUSIVE)". Variety (magazine). Retrieved May 21, 2014.
  26. ^ "Sneak peek: 'Cars 3' zooms ahead with new character Cruz Ramirez".
  27. ^ 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.
  28. ^ "Richard "Cheech" Marin". November 19, 2019. Retrieved January 28, 2020.