José Jiménez was a fictional character created and performed by comedian Bill Dana on The Steve Allen Show in 1959 and who became increasingly popular during the 1960s. During the course of his José Jiménez acts, Bill Dana took his character through various roles including elevator operator, sailor, and submariner until settling into the most famous occupation that José would hold which was that of; Astronaut.
As time passed, Dana realised that such ethnic humour was becoming offensive, and Hispanic groups began protesting Dana's portrayal of the dim-witted Hispanic character. In 1970, Dana announced to ten thousand Mexican-Americans attending a cultural pride festival that "after tonight, José Jiménez is dead," later holding a mock funeral for José on Sunset Boulevard..
Now I have to confess, I'd never heard of this chap until today - if his work ever crossed the pond it didn't wash up on my shore - but you've got to like someone that's been in that many of the iconic film and TV spacesuits. I've read up on him a little now but I'll throw it open to the American blog followers to chuck a thought or two into the comments below. But before then....