"The Little Nightingale", as he was widely known in Spain when he became a widely successful child star, had a very troubled childhood that led to an even more troubled life as an adult. José Jiménez Fernández was born in Beas de Segura (Jaén, Andalucía, Spain), on February 11, 1943, although some sources claim it was in 1947, due to false advertising by the studios that made his movies, and which wanted to make him appear younger than he really was (an obsession that haunted him through the whole of his career), pretending he was 9 at the moment of his debut, when he actually was 13.
Discovered as a singer by Luis Mariano, who got him to perform in France, Joselito was introduced to the movie business in 1956 by Antonio del Amo, who directed him in his first feature, Pequeño ruiseñor, El (1956) ("The Little Nightingale"), where he earned his famous nickname. Spanish film studios were looking for a new child star to follow the steps of Pablito Calvo, and make popular and populist folkloric movies, which were big box-office hits in Spain during Franco's dictatorship.
After several movies and records, and already a big star as a singer and an actor in Europe, the next move was trying to triumph in America, so Joselito went to Mexico where he filmed various projects, starting by Aventuras de Joselito y Pulgarcito (1960), which paired him with Mexican child star 'Cesáreo Quezadas Pulgarcito to grant local box-office. His success even reached the USA, where he appeared to great acclaim in "Toast of the Town" (1948) with Ed Sullivan. However, life was not too glamorous for Joselito, as he was treated almost as a sideshow act by his managers, not allowing him to become the teenager he was (that was a milestone in Spanish "child prodigies" under Franco: trying to keep them as little kids for as long as possible), and even locking him in his room between rehearsals so he couldn't meet girls. He was forced to keep his childlike image up to 1969 (when he was in his mid-twenties), when he appeared in his last film, Prisionero en la ciudad (1969). But, as his voice had long broken, he was not successful anymore and he retired, disappearing from public life until it was discovered much later that he had become a heroin addict and even worked as a mercenary in Africa.