Born in Mexico City, Distrito Federal, Mexico, Gómez was an amateur boxer before becoming an actor. He studied engineering at the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM). He wrote a number of plays, and contributed dialogue for scripts of films and television shows in Mexico, as well as some character acting work before he became famous. His stage name, "Chespirito", was given to him by a producer during Gómez Bolaños' first years as a writer, and was concocted from the diminutive form of the Spanish pronunciation of the name of William Shakespeare's surname-- Shakespearito, meaning "Little Shakespeare".
Chespirito was discovered as an actor while he was waiting in line to apply for a job as a writer, and soon he began writing and starring in his children's comedy shows. Chespirito's first show was "Los Supergenios de la Mesa Cuadrada", a sketch comedy show that premiered in 1968; the show also starred Ramón Valdés, María Antonieta de las Nieves and Rubén Aguirre. "Los Supergenios" was later renamed "Chespirito y la Mesa Cuadrada", and later "Chespirito"; characters like El Chavo, El Chapulín and Dr. Chapatín were introduced in this show (1972, 1970, and 1968, respectively).
His best known roles were in the shows El Chavo and El Chapulín Colorado. Both series premiered in 1973, and were based on sketches of the same name from Los Supergenios. The shows were produced by Mexican TV network Televisa, and aired in 124 countries. Other shows produced by and starring Chespirito were the short-lived "La Chicharra" from 1979, and a second version of "Chespirito" from 1980–1995.
In El Chavo, Chespirito played an 8-year-old boy who often took refuge inside a wooden rain barrel in a Mexican neighborhood, and in El Chapulín Colorado, he played a good-hearted superhero who gets involved in humorous situations. "The Simpsons" creator Matt Groening has said that he created the Bumblebee Man character after watching El Chapulín Colorado in a motel on the United States–Mexico border. He also played Doctor Chapatín in his television series, a doctor who is always trying to practice surgery on patients– even if they don't need it.
El Chavo and El Chapulín Colorado have become cultural icons all over Latin America and the United States, and have also aired in many countries worldwide.
Chespirito is also noted as a composer. He started writing music as a hobby, and most of his early musical work was related to his comedy work, particularly featured in occasional Chapulín Colorado or Chavo del Ocho special episodes. Later works include the theme songs for various Mexican movies and telenovelas, such as "Alguna Vez Tendremos Alas" and "La Dueña".
On 19 November 2004, after 27 years together, he married actress and longtime companion Florinda Meza, who starred as Doña Florinda in "El Chavo". After show production was stopped for his television series, both toured Mexico and the rest of Latin America and the United States with different plays, sometimes playing the characters that made them famous. He died at the age of 85 in Cancún, Quintana Roo, Mexico.