A caricaturist and painter, Xavier Cugat was born near Barcelona, Spain on Jan. 1, 1900. At age four, Cugat was taken to Cuba where his parents had decamped to escape political persecution. A musical prodigy, at age 12 he was a violinist with the Havana Symphony.
As an assistant concert artist, he started drawing at age 16 as a hobby while on tour with the great Enrico Caruso. Caruso amused himself while touring by making caricatures, and Cugat soon followed suit.
Cugat arrived in Los Angeles in the 1920s. Unable to find work as a classical musician, he drew caricatures of movie stars for the Los Angeles Times.
The actor Valentino had to dance a tango in his next film and asked Cugat to p
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