Actor, assistant, sidekick, television star. It doesn't matter how you describe him. Chuy Bravo is a personality to be reckoned with.
Bravo is the assistant/sidekick of late night talk show host Chelsea Handler. He has served as her assistant/sidekick/all around foil long before Handler's break-out role as host of E!'s Chelsea Lately. Bravo starred in Handler's E! sketch comedy show prior to her talk show, and has worked with the actress for more than a decade.
Many consider Bravo's role as a milestone for Latinos in the entertainment industry. He is widely considered the first Latino talk show sidekick in history.
The early years
Bravo was born in Mexico as Jesus Melgoza. Diagnosed with dwarfism at an early age, Bravo stands just four-feet, three-inches tall. Dwarfism is defined as having a short stature due to some medical condition (more than 200 distinct conditions!) that slows or delays normal human growth.
He was bitten by the acting bug when he was a young man. The film crew for the Steve Martin, Chevy Chase and Martin Short comedy, Three Amigos, filmed in his village in the mid-1980s. It was enough to set Bravo's sights on the big bright lights of Hollywood and the silver screen. When he was old enough, he immigrated to the United States to follow his dream.
Before landing his role as sidekick and comedy foil with Handler, Bravo secured uncredited roles in three motion pictures, The Rundown, Tiptoes and Pirate of the Carribean: At World's End. Success seems to be on television for the diminutive actor, however, and he continues to appear in Chelsea Lately and After Lately.
Making a 'Splash'
He was also set to make an appearance in ABC television's reality competition program, Splash. The mid-season show pitted celebrities in a weekly diving competition for charity. Bravo, who wasn't a strong swimmer to begin with, hoped to show audiences that someone of his size and condition could take part as an athlete.
Unfortunately, Bravo suffered a show-ending injury (he broke his foot in more than one place). He was forced to drop out of the competition, but stated that he would welcome a return to the program if the show is picked up for a second season and he is invited back.
A mystery for many
How old is Bravo? We're not sure. It's hard to find that info online. But we suspect he's in his 50s. His Chelsea Lately biography states that he's worked in the business for many years (even as Hervé Villechaize's stunt double - Villechaize starred as Tattoo on ABC's Fantasy Island - if you believe the tongue-in-cheek bio on E! online).
We do know that Bravo is one tough customer. He is a cancer survivor for one. He was treated for - and defeated - prostate cancer in 2012. He is also a confessed recovering alcoholic. Trouble started when he was younger and was a product of running with the wrong crowd.
Oh, and back to starring on Splash. It's important to realize that Bravo was deathly afraid of water following a traumatic incident when he was a young boy. He almost drowned and was saved by a cousin. The moment kept him from beaches and swimming pools for most of his life.
Since starring in Chelsea Lately, Bravo has branched out into other forms of entertainment. He is published author, having released a comedic memoir titled Little Nuggets of Wisdom: Big Advice from the Small Star of Chelsea Lately. And he has headlined at least one comedy tour, featuring a slate of Latino stand-ups.