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Pedro Infante: 1917-1957: Actor, Singer

Came From Talented Family

Pedro Infante Cruz was born on November 18, 1917, in the port town of Guamuchil, part of the larger city of Mazatlán located in the Mexican state of Sinaloa. He was the second of nine sons born to Delfino Infante Garcma and Refugio Cruz. The couple also had six daughters. Two of Infante's brothers, Angel and José, also found fame as actors and singers. Infante's father, Delfino, was a professional musician but had trouble making ends meet. When Infante was in fourth grade he had to drop out of school to help support his family. He sold hardware, ran errands, and waited tables, however his most consistent job was as a carpenter. That is, until he fell in love with music. His father taught him the basics of music and with his carpentry skills he soon built his first guitar. He learned how to sing by imitating songs he heard on the radio.

Infante's first musical experience was with a group he formed called La Rabia. They played in local night clubs, performing rancheras and boleros—popular forms of Mexican music. In 1932 he joined the more famous Orquesta Estrella de Culiacán in Sinaloa's capital city. After a 1937 performance at a local festival, Infante's first wife, María Luisa León, insisted that he move to Mexico City to pursue his musical career. Within two years he had a contract to perform on a local radio show. Four years after that, in December of 1943, Infante recorded his first album, El soldado raso. He would go on to record more than 50 albums and hundreds of songs. He made the bolero musical form famous, earning the nickname King of the Bolero.

The Houston Chronicle noted that because he lacked formal training, "Infante's voice was unrefined, yet it was filled with emotion." The songs tugged at the heartstrings, telling tales of love found and lost, friendships built and broken, families together and apart. There wasn't a soul in Mexico who couldn't relate. The Houston Chronicle went on to say, "Infante's signature tunes included the exquisite heartbreaker 'Cien años,' a song about devotion from afar. The male protagonist sings about walking by an ex-love on the street. She looks right past him. He calls her name; she pretends not to hear. Her air of indifference hurts. Despite this indignity, he vows that, though 100 years may pass, he will never stop loving her, so intertwined were their lives." Some of his other popular songs include the bolero "Amorcito corazon," which was played repeatedly at his funeral by hundreds of mariachi bands as well as "La que se fue," and "Asi es la vida."

At a Glance . . .

Born Pedro Infante Cruz on November 18, 1917, in Guamuchil, Sinaloa, Mexico; died on April 15, 1957, in Merida, Mexico; son of Delfino Infante Garcma and Refugio Cruz; married three times: María Luisa León, Lupita Torrentera, Irma Dorantes; children: 12 including the actors Pedro Infante Jr., Cruz Infante, and Irma Infante. Religion: Catholic.

Career: Singer, early 1930s-57; actor, 1939-57.

Awards: Aerial Award for Best Actor, Academy of Cinemagraphic Science and Art of Mexico, for La vida no vale nada, 1956; Best Actor, Berlin Festival, for Tizoc, 1957.

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Brief BiographiesBiographies: James Heneghan (1930-) Biography - Personal to Rick Jacobson Biography - PersonalPedro Infante: 1917-1957: Actor, Singer Biography - Came From Talented Family, Became The Common Man's Star, His Death Mourned, His Legacy Launched