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Luis Valdez: 1940—: Playwright, Director, Writer, Actor, Teacher

La Bamba

Valdez had his most mainstream success in 1987 with another film he wrote and directed, La Bamba. The story of Mexican American rock and roller Ritchie Valens, whose brief time in the spotlight ended when he was killed in the same plane crash as Buddy Holly, was one of that year's biggest box office successes. That same year, Valdez adapted his play, Corridos: Tales of Passion and Revolution, for PBS and won the prestigous Peabody Award. That play had previously won the San Francisco Bay Critics Circle Award for Best Musical, when it premiered in 1983.

In 1993 Valdez co-wrote and directed a made-for-TV movie of The Cisco Kid starring Jimmy Smits. Broadcast on the Turner Television Network, the entire production was filmed on location in Mexico. The following year, Valdez received the prestigious Aguila Azteca Award (Golden Eagle Award), which is the highest honor bestowed by the Mexican government for citizens of other countries.

In 2000 Valdez became a founding faculty tenured professor at the Center for Teledramatic Arts and Technology at California State University, Monterey Bay. In this role, the playwright works with students from a variety of backgrounds and encourages them to use technology in an effort to continue the tradition of raising social issues through art. "Today, the opportunity to distribute artistic work and share untold stories has never been greater," Valdez told Alejandra Navarro of the Modesto Bee, adding that he envisioned live theater going out over the Internet.

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Brief BiographiesBiographies: Theodosius I to David Watmough Biography - David Watmough comments:Luis Valdez: 1940—: Playwright, Director, Writer, Actor, Teacher Biography - El Teatro Campesino, La Bamba, Back To "the Farmworker Question"