Pedro Infante

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Pedro Infante
Pedroatodamaquina.gif
Background information
Birth namePedro Infante Cruz
Born(1917-11-18)18 November 1917
Mazatlán, Sinaloa, México
Died15 April 1957(1957-04-15) (aged 39)
Mérida, Yucatán, Mexico
OccupationsSinger, Actor
InstrumentsClassical Guitar, Piano, Violin, Trumpet, Drums
Years active1939 –1957
 
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Pedro Infante
Pedroatodamaquina.gif
Background information
Birth namePedro Infante Cruz
Born(1917-11-18)18 November 1917
Mazatlán, Sinaloa, México
Died15 April 1957(1957-04-15) (aged 39)
Mérida, Yucatán, Mexico
OccupationsSinger, Actor
InstrumentsClassical Guitar, Piano, Violin, Trumpet, Drums
Years active1939 –1957

Pedro Infante Cruz (Spanish pronunciation: [ˈpeðɾo inˈfante]; 18 November 1917[1][2] – 15 April 1957), better known as Pedro Infante, was a Mexican actor and singer. Hailed as one of the greatest actors of the Golden Age of Mexican cinema, he is considered an idol of the Latin American people, together with Jorge Negrete and Javier Solís, who were styled as the Tres Gallos Mexicanos (the Three Mexican Roosters). Infante was born in Mazatlán, Sinaloa, Mexico and was raised in Guamúchil. He died on 15 April 1957, in Mérida, Yucatán, in a plane crash during a flight en route to Mexico City.

His film career began in 1939 with him appearing in more than 60 films, and starting in 1943, he recorded about 350 songs. For his performance in the movie Tizoc, he was awarded the Silver Bear for Best Actor at the 7th Berlin International Film Festival.[3]

Childhood and early career[edit]

Son of Delfino Infante García (b. Dec. 24, 1880 - Mar. 17, 1955) who played the double bass in a band, and Maria Del Refugio Cruz Aranda (b. July 4, 1890 -?). He was the third of fifteen children, of which nine survived. Although the Infante Cruz family stayed for some time at Mazatlán, in the early 1919 they moved to Guamuchil. Later in 1920, they moved to Rosario, Sinaloa.

From teenager, Infante showed talent and affection for music. He managed to learn strings, wind, and percussion instruments in a short time. He was a guitar student of Carlos R. Hubbard.

His wife María Luisa León (b. cir. 1918 - Oct. 27, 1978, cardiac arrest), who was somewhat well-off economically and according to her memoir Pedro Infante: en la intimidad conmigo (1961) (Pedro Infante: with me in intimacy), convinced him of the need to move to Mexico City where they would find opportunities for this talented young man.

In Mexico City, he sang the songs of composers including Alberto Cervantes (Alberto Raúl Cervantes González [1]), José Alfredo Jiménez, Cuco Sánchez, Tomás Méndez, Rubén Fuentes, Salvador Flores Rivera (Chava Flores) and others. His first musical recording El Soldado Raso (The Soldier) was made on 19 November 1943, for the Peerless Records Company. Infante first appeared as an extra in the movie En un Burro Tres Baturros (Three Men from Aragon on a Donkey), literally translated as "On a Donkey, Three Baturros'"'. His career as an actor in leading roles started with La Feria de Las Flores (The Fair of Flowers), literally translated as "The Flower Carnival" in 1943. In that same year, a friend and neighbor of Infantes' wife, Carmen Barajas Sandoval, offered to introduce them to Jorge Negrete, a singer whom he admired. Barajas, who knew people in the business as she was the aunt of the child actress Angélica María, worked then at The Sindicat Of Workers of the Movies Production, S.T.P.C. (Workers of the Cinematographic Production Union). She succeeded in convincing Negrete to recommend Infante to the producer Ismael Rodríguez, and others. As a result, he was invited to appear in different pictures, such as Vuelve el Ametralladora (The Machine Gun Returns)

While married to María Luisa León, he met the dancer Lupita Torrentera Bablot (b. Nov. 2, 1931), with whom he had three children, Graciela Margarita (b. Sept. 26, 1947 - Jan. 20, 1949, poliomyelitis) Pedro Infante Jr. (Mar. 31, 1950 - Apr. 1, 2009, pneumonia) and Guadalupe Infante Torrentera (b. Oct. 3, 1951), solidifying his reputation as a ladies' man. Irma Infante (b. Mar. 27, 1955) was born from his relationship with the young actress Irma Dorantes (real name: Irma Aguirre Martínez; b. Mérida, Yucatán, Dec. 21, 1934) whom he met when she was only 16 years of age. Irma Infante has had a career as an actress and a singer.

Actor[edit]

His natural talent for acting was produced evident in such pictures as:

García with Pedro Infante in Dicen Que Soy Mujeriego (1949)
Pedro Infante & Tucita Los Tres Huastecos (1948)

Musical interpretations[edit]

Waltzes, cha-cha-chas, rancheras and boleros placed him among the most popular singers of the mariachi and ranchera music.

Infante with Jorge Negrete, right.

Some of his most popular songs include: Amorcito Corazón (approximately My Little Love and Heart), Te Quiero Así (I Love You Like This), La Que Se Fue (She Who Left), Corazón (Heart), El Durazno (The Peach), Dulce Patria (Sweet Fatherland), Maldita Sea Mi Suerte (Cursed Be My Luck), Así Es La vida (Life Is Like This), Mañana Rosalía (Tomorrow Rosalía), Mi Cariñito (My Little Darling), Dicen Que Soy Mujeriego (They Say I Am A Womanizer), Carta a Eufemia (Letter to Eufemia), Nocturnal, Cien Años (Hundred Years), Flor Sin Retoño (Flower Without Sprout), Pénjamo, and ¿Qué Te Ha Dado Esa Mujer? (What Has That Woman Given You?). He sang "Mi Cariñito" to his frequent on screen grandmother, Sara Garcia, so many times in so many of their movies together, that it was played at her funeral.[5]

The world famous song Bésame Mucho ("Kiss Me a Lot", or more loosely translated to get its elusive Spanish meaning closer to its English meaning, "Give Me a Lot of Kisses"), from the composer Consuelo Velázquez, was the only melody that he recorded in English and he interpreted it in the movie A Toda Máquina (ATM) (At Full Speed), with Luis Aguilar.

"Amorcito Corazón", by Pedro De Urdimalas & Manuel Esperón is one of Infante's most famous interpretations.

Infante was very often accompanied by the great musical ensembles of the time like the Mariachi Vargas de Tecalitlán, Noé Fajardo's Orchestra, the Trío Calaveras and Antonio Bribiesca, among others.

By then, Pedro Infante had already created his characteristic mariachi shout

Death and homages[edit]

Infante was a fanatic of aviation, a hobby that would lead to his death. According to Wilbert Alonzo-Cabrera, his biographer, the actor was piloting a Consolidated Aircraft X B-24-D (a variant of the B-24 Liberator), which had been converted from heavy bomber war airplane to air cargo in San Diego, California. The plane crashed 5 minutes after taking off from Mérida, Yucatán, in southeast Mexico.

B-24 Liberator photographed from above.

The death of Pedro Infante on the morning of 15 April 1957, was announced by radio personality Húmberto Sánchez-Rodríguez, of radio station XEMH of Mérida, after one of the firefighters discovered the bracelet engraved with the name "Pedro Infante", plus the winged insignia that symbolized his aviator license. This was around 8:15 am; at 11:12 am, Manuel Bernal, of Mexico City radio station XEW, gave the news saying: "this Monday, 15 April 1957, Pedro, our beloved Pedro...this has been confirmed, has died in a tragic accident in Mérida, Yucatán".

Pedro Infantes bust in the place he died.

Year after year Pedro Infante attracts a great number of fans of every age to his shrine in the Panteón Jardín of Mexico City, as well as one at 54th through 87th streets in the center of Mérida. Pedro Infante died amongst friends: mechanic Marciano Bautista, and copilot Manuel Vidal. Many friends, family and fans still dress up as the characters that he played in film: Pedro Chávez, Pepe el Toro, Tizoc and a number of people incarnated from the Mexican culture that Infante symbolized. His fans honor him every year with a mass, honor guards, music and the songs made famous by the Idol of Guamúchil. Until now they have all been spontaneous, without any official authority or institution organizing them.[6]

Four statues have been erected in his honor. The one in Mexico City was made out of thousands of bronze keys donated by his fans to a Mexico City TV station after a request by TV director Raúl Velasco. For the statue in Mérida another TV presenter (Manuel Pelayo) made a request and received keys. The third statue is in his birthplace, Mazatlán, Sinaloa. At the Paseo de Olas Altas at Mazatlán there is a statue of Pedro Infante on a motorcycle, in honor of his role in the movie A Toda Máquina ("ATM") with Luis Aguilar and "¿Qué te ha dado esa mujer?" also with Luis Aguilar, Rosita Arenas and Carmen Montejo. The fourth statue is in the town square of Guamúchil, his adopted home town. Aguilar#

The social phenomenon of Pedro Infante[edit]

Estatua ecuestre de Pedro Infante en Mérida, Yucatán 05.JPG

|Pedro Infante Statue in Mérida, Yucatan.

The Mexican idol died intestate. [2] Because of this, the main beneficiaries of his legacy have been the producers of the extremely successful movies in which he starred, as well as the "Peerless" music company [3] (now associated with Warner Music), and thanks to the large income his pictures and songs still generate, they are the ones who have contributed greatly to promoting and updating him.

He represented not only the fun-loving and partying charro, but also the urban hero of the working class, and it was this character that won him the love and admiration of the public in Mexico and other countries, such as Venezuela and Guatemala.[7]

According to producer Jorge Madrid y Campos, who was also his legal representative, Pedro Infante's fame has increased greatly since his death. The presence of so many admirers at his shrine on the anniversary of his death is remarkable, as are the musical tributes from singers of the ranchera and mariachi genres that pay homage to him. As Mexican American author, Denise Chavez, in her book "Loving Pedro Infante" put it humorously, "If you're a [Mexican], and don't know who he is, you should be tied to a hot stove with a yucca rope and beaten with sharp dry corn husks as you stand in a vat of soggy fideos. If your racial and cultural background or ethnicity is other, then it's about time you learned about the most famous of Mexican singers and actors."[8]

Some fanatics even speculated that his death was faked.[9] They believed in the possibility that he was living "in hiding" somewhere; there have also been cases, reported in the Mexican press, of people who claim to be Infante. These cases are similar, in a sense, to other famous deceased celebrities, such as Elvis Presley, Anastasia, 2pac, or Jim Morrison, with people claiming to be these individuals.

Filmography[edit]

Pedro Infante

References[edit]

  1. ^ IMDB Profile
  2. ^ CONACULTA profile
  3. ^ a b "Berlinale 1957: Prize Winners". berlinale.de. Retrieved 2009-12-31. 
  4. ^ La Universidad Autónoma de Nuevo León
  5. ^ (Spanish) La Abuelita del Cine Nacional - Sara Garcia
  6. ^ Refrendan cientos su cariño a Pedro Infante, a 49 años de su fallecimiento
  7. ^ Chavez, Denise, "Loving Pedro Infante", Farrar, Straus and Giroux, New York, (2001), p. 5. This author states: "Some people call [Pedro Infante] the Bing Crosby of Mexico, but he's more, much more than that. He was bigger than Bing Crosby or even Elvis Presley."
  8. ^ Chavez, Denise, "Loving Pedro Infante", Farrar, Straus and Giroux, New York, (2001), p. 5.
  9. ^ (Spanish) Jose Ernesto Infante Quintanilla, "Pedro Infante -- El Idolo Imortal", Editorial Oceano de Mexico, S.A. De C.V.(2006) p. 162.

External links[edit]

English
Spanish