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Sundial: From 'Miami Vice' to Marvel, this 84-year-old South Florida actor is at his peak

Ruben Rabasa became a meme from the sketch "Focus Group" on the Netflix comedy show "I Think You Should Leave with Tim Robinson."
"I Think You Should Leave with Tim Robinson"
Courtesy of Netflix
Ruben Rabasa became a meme from the sketch "Focus Group" on the Netflix comedy show "I Think You Should Leave with Tim Robinson."

Ruben Rabasa has been acting for more than 50 years. Then he got famous overnight for playing one character.

He was in a sketch called “Focus Group” from the show I Think You Should Leave with Tim Robinson. A marketing guy is going around the room asking people what they’d want to see in a new car. Rabasa’s character has ideas. Mainly, he wants a steering wheel that doesn’t fly off.

He thought the script was “crazy” when he first read it. But it still made him a meme.

Since then, his stock’s taken off. A Miami playwright wrote a one-man show for him and he starred alongside Andy Garcia in the remake of Father of the Bride.

He had a cameo in the latest Marvel movie, Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania, where he cuts down Paul Rudd.

Now Rabasa has half a dozen movies in development or waiting to launch. After more than 70 film and TV credits — at age 84, Rabasa has arrived.

On the March 6 episode of Sundial, Rabasa tells us about his decades-long career, his rule of threes and why he thinks his recent success is “better late than never.”

On Sundial's previous episode, we heard from the director and subject of a short documentary screening at the Miami Film Festival, Python Huntress. It follows Donna Kalil, an environmentalist who spends her nights patrolling the Everglades for the invasive species that’s decimating local wildlife.

Listen to Sundial Monday through Thursday on WLRN, 91.3 FM, live at 1 p.m., rebroadcast at 8 p.m. Missed a show? Find every episode of Sundial on your favorite podcast app, such as Apple Podcasts, Stitcher and Spotify.

Stay in touch with us via text by joining our Sundial text club. Send us your thoughts, ideas or questions by texting the word “join” to 786-677-0767. You can also email us at sundial@wlrnnews.org.

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Carlos Frías is the host of WLRN's Sundial. He is a bilingual writer, a journalist of more than 25 years and the author of an award-winning memoir published by Simon & Schuster.
Leslie Ovalle Atkinson is the lead producer behind WLRN's daily magazine program, Sundial. As a multimedia producer, she also works on visual and digital storytelling.
Elisa Baena is an associate producer for Sundial.