Well, despite reports, including our own, that Rudy Cardenas had passed away, I’m glad to report that he is still alive and just celebrated his 89th birthday. (We apologize for our incorrect report of his death.) Rudy Cardenas was one of the brightest juggling stars of the 1950s, 1960s and 1970s. The incredible Mexican juggler was born March 19th, 1926 and started his performing career around 1929. By the age of seven he could perform 5 balls and 5 bell sticks. He was known as the Little Rastelli. At 8 years old he became the first act ever to open at the El Patio, the largest nightclub in Mexico City. At 10, he was working at Rio de Janeiro’s La Urca, the most famous casino in the world at the time. Rudy had a wonderful and long performing career all over the world. His act featured large ball juggling, ball spinning, stick juggling, three top hats, small balls and billiard pockets, and shaker cups. He is perhaps best remembered for popularizing shaker cup juggling and for inventing the back roll while spinning three balls; one on a mouth stick and one on each index finger. He was the winner of the Rastelli Prize in Bergamo, Italy in 1967 and was the recipient of the International Jugglers’ Association Historical Achievement Award in 1995.
Instead of writing a long biography of Rudy here, I’d encourage you to read a great five page autobiographical article from the Summer 1995 Juggler’s World Magazine. Click here to read this wonderful account of Rudy’s life, told by Rudy himself.