Biographical Dictionary of Mexican Film Performers: U-Z


Valadez, Carlos: actor and dancer who made 10 films in 1950-52, including the leading role in El último round (1952).

Valdés, Germán "Tin Tan" [Germán Genaro Cipriano Gómez Valdés Castillo] (1915-1973): although he was a very popular and prolific performer in his lifetime, it was not until years after his death (of cancer) that Germán Valdés "Tin Tan" was recognized as a cult figure of Mexican cinema. He got his start in show business on the radio in Ciudad Juárez, then (in 1943) was "discovered" by ventriloquist Paco Miller, who was in the middle of a tour. Another performer on the show was Marcelo Chávez, who would be associated with Tin Tan for many years. Tin Tan originally played a pachuco (a Mexican-American, complete with zoot suit), but after a few years dropped this characterization. He appeared in over 100 films between 1943 and 1972, demonstrating his comedic talents, as well as the ability to sing and dance. Valdés was married three times; his third wife was Rosalía Julián, one of the singing Hermanas Julián. He had 6 children, including actress Rosalía Valdés.

Valdés, Manuel "Loco" [Manuel Gómez Valdés Castillo] (1931--): Manuel Valdés was born in Ciudad Juárez and followed his older brothers Germán and Ramón into show business. He started as a dancer in variety theatre at the age of 15, and made his film debut several years later, playing small roles in some Tin Tan films and as a "chorus boy" in other pictures. However, he achieved stardom in the 1950s on television where he earned the nickname of "Loco." Valdés starred in a number of films in the late '50s and into the '60s, but has been mostly successful on the home screen, having headlined numerous comedy programs. He continues to be active today. Valdés is the father of pop singer Cristian Castro, although the young man was raised by his mother (actress-singer Verónica Castro).

Valdés, Martha: born in Tijuana, Martha Valdés made her screen debut in 1952. She made 18 films between 1953-58 before suddenly retiring for reasons unknown.

Valdés, Ramón (1923-88): one of Tin Tan's brothers, Ramón Valdés worked mostly as a supporting actor from the late 1940s into the '70s, before achieving popular acclaim on Roberto Gómez Bolaños' "Chavo del 8" television show.

Valdés, Rosalía (1958?--): daughter of Germán Valdés "Tin Tan" and singer Rosalía Julián, the lovely actress and singer Rosalía Valdés did not begin her official acting career until after her father's death (although she did appear with her mother and various other Valdés family members in El capitán Mantarraya, which Tin Tan produced, directed, and starred in). After substantial roles in a number of movies in the latter half of the 1970s, Rosalía Valdés retired from the screen to get married and begin a family. She currently lives in the USA.

Valentín, Juan: burly singer-actor who had substantial roles in a number of movies and videohomes of the '80s and '90s.

Valentino, Charly: rotund comedian in numerous films and videohomes of the '80s and '90s, sometimes in leading or co-starring roles, but also in support.

Valle, Carmen del: singer and actress. After appearing in a number of films in the late '70s and early '80s, del Valle got married, moved to the USA, and retired for nearly a decade but is now divorced and performing once more. Her films include Santo en la frontera del terror and Mamá solita.

Valle, Lilia del [Lilian Welker Gundlach] (?-2013): sultry-looking actress, on-screen from 1946-64.

Valle González, David: gruff-looking supporting actor in over 50 films from 1933-45.

Varela, Alfredo Sr. (1882-1962): character actor, in films as early as 1916 (his last credit was in 1958). Mostly cast as mild-mannered doctors, lawyers, etc. Father of Alfredo Varela Jr.

Varela, Alfredo Jr. "Varelita" (1912-1986): long-time comic actor and screenwriter, also very active in the theatre. Varela had over 100 acting credits--in his younger years he was often cast as an early version of a "nerd"-- and he worked on the scripts of nearly that many pictures. Actress Yu-Yu Varela is his widow.

Varela, Yolanda [Carmen Sáenz] (?-2009): cute and sexy actress, on-screen between 1944-1969, although she was most popular in the '50s and only two of her roles came after 1960. She was married to producer Fernando de Fuentes Jr.

Vargas, Jorge (?-2009): burly singer-actor, on-screen from the late '60s into the early '90s. The nephew of Ernesto Alonso, Vargas is also the father of Ernesto D'Alessio (whose mother is singer Lupita D'Alessio).

Vargas, Pedro [Pedro Vargas Mata] (1906 or 1911?-1989): one of the most famous pop singers of 20th-century Mexico, Pedro Vargas was born in San Miguel de Allende. A classically-trained tenor, Vargas originally sang opera but gained fame with his renditions of popular songs. He made many musical guest appearances in films from 1936 onward, but also had more substantial acting roles in a few pictures (he had over 70 screen credits,total). In 1942, Vargas performed at the White House for President Franklin Delano Roosevelt, one of many honors he received during his long career. Vargas was known as "el Samuraí de la canción" (The Samurai of Song)!

Vázquez, Alberto [Alberto Vázquez Gurrola] (1940--): pop singer, born in Guaymas, who released his first record and made his screen debut in 1962. Vázquez starred in numerous musicals of the '60s, but also played some dramatic roles. Still active on TV and in personal appearances. Arturo Vázquez is his son by actress Isela Vega.

Vázquez, Rosa María [Rosa María Vázquez Bustamante] (1943 --): sexy but wholesome actress, daughter of actress María Bustamante, who made more than 30 movies between 1963-69 (in 1949 she appeared in The Torch, billed as "Antonia Daneem"), Emilio Fernández's English-language remake of Enamorada, but was then off-screen until the '60s) then suddenly retired from acting to go into the business side of the film industry.

Vega, Gonzalo (1946--): Gonzalo Vega studied at the Instituto de Bellas Artes and UNAM, and made his screen debut in 1968. A prolific performer with numerous films, TV shows, and stage productions (including the very long-running "Señora presidente") to his credit. Vega won the Best Supporting Actor Ariel for El lugar sín límites, the Best Actor Ariel for Lo que importa es vivir, and also has two Diosas de Plata (for El juicio de Martín Cortés and Las Poquianchis).

Vega, Isela (1939 or 1940--): born in Sonora, Isela Vega worked as a model and singer before turning to acting. She had small roles in some films as early as 1962, but became very popular as a sex symbol in the late 1960s. In addition to her Mexican films, TV shows, and stage appearances, Vega has also worked in a number of foreign productions. She has also written, directed, and produced films. Vega won the Best Actress Ariel for La viuda negra, and received nominations for Las reglas del juego, and Tráiganme la cabeza de Alfredo García. She has a son whose father is Alberto Vázquez, and a daughter (Shaula, an actress) whose father is Jorge Luke.

Velasco, María Elena "La India María": after working as an actress in minor roles in the 1960s, Velasco created the character of "La India María," a bumbling, clumsy, but well-meaning young Indian woman, on the television show "Siempre en Domingo." She soon became a popular favorite (one of the top box-office draws in the '70s and '80s), and moved into films in 1971, later producing and directing her own pictures (she also starred in a TV series in the late '90s). Velasco was married to actor Julién de Meriche; their children include Iván Lipkies (a producer/director) and Ivette Lipkies (who has written some of her mother's films).

Velázquez, Jesús "Murciélago": professional wrestler (he lost the middleweight championship to El Santo in 1943) who, like Fernando Osés, had a substantial and varied film career afterwards. In addition to acting appearances in numerous films between 1957 and 1966, Velázquez also wrote the original and/or scripts for more than 30 movies, mostly (but not all) wrestling dramas or Westerns, between 1957 and 1978.

Velázquez, Lorena [Lorena Villar Dondé] (1937--) : one of the quintessential sexy "vamps" of Mexican cinema from the late 1950s through the early '70s, Lorena Velázquez is the daughter of character actor Víctor Velázquez, and the older sister of actress Tere Velázquez. She made her screen debut in 1955, and is still active on TV and in the occasional film.

Velázquez, Teresa [María Teresa Villar Dondé] (1943-1997): the blonde younger sister of Lorena Velázquez, Tere Velázquez made her first film in 1957. Often cast as frivolous young women, she worked steadily on screen through the 1970s, then retired from acting for a number of years. She made a comeback and was working on the stage and on TV when stricken with cancer in 1996. She died the following year after a well-publicized and valiant battle with the disease. Teresa Velázquez was married to actor Espartaco Santoni (they had two children, one of whom is actress Paola Santoni) and producer Carlos Vasallo.

Velázquez, Víctor (1911-1975): actor father of Lorena and Teresa Velázquez, who appeared in numerous films between 1938 and 1965, generally in character roles. Velázquez was married to Elda Dondé, the sister of actor Manuel Dondé.

Vélez, Jorge (1911-1970): leading man of the 1930s who moved into the producing realm in the 1940s with Ixtla Films. He does not seem to have any screen credits--as actor or director--after 1945.

Vélez, Lupe [Guadalupe Villalobos] (1909-1944): Lupe Vélez was born in San Luis Potosí but made her screen debut in Hollywood in 1927. Notorious and stereotyped for her fiery "Latin" temperament, Vélez worked in numerous films throughout the 1930s and into the 1940s; late in her career, she headlined the RKO "B" series as the "Mexican Spitfire." Vélez made only two films in her native land, La Zandunga (1937) and Naná (1943). Formerly married to Johnny Weissmuller, Vélez committed suicide in 1944 over a failed love affair.

Venegas, José "Bronco" (1925-1971): ranchera singer and occasional actor in the 1950s, cf Que lindo cha cha cha! I do not think this is the same "José Vanegas" who directed Campeones del ring (1972?).

Victoria, Jorge : supporting actor, on-screen from the late 1960s through the 1990s.

Vera, Hernán: most often seen as a storekeeper or cantina operator, the heavy-set Hernán Vera was born in Yucatán and made over a hundred movies from the 1930s through the early 1960s.

 Vergara, Manuel "Manver" (?-1970): brutish looking supporting actor of the 1950s and 1960s, notable as the hunchbacked "Leo" in the Nostradamus series. On-screen from 1950 until his death.

Veryán, Nora: supporting actress, on-screen from the 1940s.

Vilches, Ernesto (1879-1954): Spanish-born actor who worked in Mexican cinema from the early sound era until his death. Vilches' grandson is also an actor and has appeared in films since the 1970s.

Villa, Federico: ranchera singer and actor, on-screen from the mid-1970s. Sometimes in leading roles or sympathetic support, but also occasionally appears as villains.

Villa, Lucha [Luz Elena Ruiz Bejarano] (1936--): ranchera singer and sometimes actress; , on-screen since the early 1960s. She received a Best Actress Ariel for Mecánica nacional, and was nominated for El principio; she won the Best Supporting Actress Ariel for El lugar sín límites. In the late 1980s and early '90s, Villa played the villainous "Ramona" in the "Fiscal del Hierro" series, opposite Mario Almada. In 1997, Villa was the victim of a surgical accident and was in a coma for some time. She suffered some impairment of her speech and motor skills as a result, and has retired from performing as of this date.

Villamil, Marcelo: distinguished-looking bit player and supporting actor, in well over 100 films between 1967 and 1985. He should not be confused with Manolo Villamil, who worked in some of Juan Orol's later movies.

Villareal, Julio [Julio Crochet Martínez] (1888-1958): Villareal was born in Spain, the son of an actor and a singer/dancer. He moved to Mexico in 1903 and worked on the stage, then spent time in Hollywood in the early sound era. Returning to Mexico, he became an extremely prolific character actor who usually played crabby fathers, uncles, etc. He received a Best Male Co-Star Ariel nomination for Doña Perfecta, and a Best Actor Ariel nomination. for Eugenia Grandet. Villareal also directed one film. His daughter, Elisa Christy, was an dancer and actress and Jorge Negrete's first wife.

Villarías, Carlos (1892-?): Spanish actor, best-known as "Dracula" in Universal's 1931 "alternate" version of the Bela Lugosi-starring film. Villarías briefly flirted with horror stardom in Mexico, but spent most of the 1930s and 1940s in supporting roles.

Villatoro, Carlos (1903-1963): Villatoro acted in numerous Mexican films from the mid-1920s through 1943. After that, he stepped behind the cameras and spent the rest of his life as a director (of shorts and one feature), assistant director, and script clerk.

"Viruta": see Campos, Marco Antonio

"Vitola": see Kaufman, Famie

Vivas, Eduardo (1896-1957): Cuban-born actor of Spanish parents, on-screen in Mexico (mostly in support) from 1932 to 1954.

Viveros, Celia (?-1979): comic supporting actress, often cast as acerbic sidekicks to female leads, from the 1950s into the '70s.

Voltaire, Jacqueline (?-2008): sexy blonde actress, born in Britain (some sources cite the USA), who appeared in a number of Mexican films in the late '60s and early '70s. She only made a few films after that (including some international pictures like Men With Guns), but lived in Mexico and taughtat the Televisa acting school until her death.

Wagner, Fernando (1905-73): Wagner was born in Germany (some sources list Mexico), and arrived in Mexico in 1930. He taught theatre at UNAM for many years. A stage director and occasional actor, he was also a TV pioneer and wrote several books on stagecraft and television drama technique. Wagner's film roles generally saw him cast as sinister foreigners (due to his German accent).

Walker, Aurora (1904-1964): character actress, often seen as mothers, aunts, etc., in well over 100 films between 1933 and 1963. She was married to actor Julio Taboada and was the mother of director/writer Carlos Enrique Taboada.

Weber, Pedro "Chatanooga" (sometimes "Chatanuga"): character actor, usually in comedies, although his first film roles in the early '60s were in dramas and Westerns. Extremely prolific performer in the '80s and beyond, especially in sexy-comedies. He was billed as "Pedro Guever" in El temerario (1965), but this is probably just a phonetic spelling of "Weber."

Welter, Ariadna (1930-1998): actress sister of Linda Christian (real name, Blanca Rosa Welter), she made her screen debut in 1954. Welter was married to Gustavo Alatriste; they divorced in 1960, and Welter married again and put her career on hold for 5 years during the late '60s. After another divorce, she returned to acting in the early '70s. Her last screen role was in 1992.

Wilhelmy, Amelia (1900-1964): stage actress who worked in films from the late 1930s to the early '50s. Best known as "la Guayara" in Nosotros los pobres (1947) and as an irate motorist in A.T.M. (1951). Her daughter is also an actress.

Wilkinson, June (1940--): sexy blonde British-born model and actress, known for her impressive (43-inch) bust. In Mexico, she worked for Myron J. Gold in La rabia por dentro (1962) and Frankenstein's Great Aunt Tillie (1984).

Wimer, Miguel (?-1941): character actor, on-screen as early as 1922. He was in over 30 Mexican sound features prior to his death. Wimer was also a stage actor and director.

Yáñez, Eduardo (1960--): handsome actor, originally a telenovela leading man. On-screen in films from 1984. In recent years he has made some Hollywood movies like Striptease.

Yáñez, Ernesto: rotund character actor who came to films in the early '70s after working on the stage and on TV. He won the Best Supporting Actor Ariel and a Diosa de Plata for El imperio de la fortuna.

Yapur, Fernando: Yucatán-born character actor, usually cast as burly henchmen (sometimes as gringos) in many films from the late 1950s through the '80s.

Yuri [Yuridia Valenzuela Canseco] (1964--): blonde pop singer who made a few film appearances between 1978 and 1991, and has also worked on TV. In 1995 she became a born-again Christian and has since been in two videohomes with autobiographical and religious overtones.

Zaízar, Hermanos (David and Juan): ranchera singers who appeared in a number of movies from the mid-1950s to the early '80s. Their only starring film was Cruz de olvido (1981).

Zambrano, Enrique (?-1968): actor and occasional screenwriter, from the '40s to the '60s.

Zamora, Jorge "Zamorita" (1928--): Cuban-born black actor and musician, brought to Mexico by Tin Tan. Since then he has appeared in many films and TV shows.

Zayas, Alfonso [Alfonso Zayas Inclán] (1941 or '43--): Zayas, who is related to actor Miguel Inclán and also a cousin of Raúl Padilla "Chóforo," worked as a TV technician in the '60s then started acting and became one of the major comic stars of the 1980s and beyond, especially in "sexy-comedies." His son, Alfonso Zayas Jr., is also an actor.

Zea, María Luisa [María Luisa Zea Gómez] (1913-2002): beautiful actress, on-screen from the early '30s until the late 1950s. Played a number of leads, but was also frequently cast as femme fatales. Zea also taught physical education and dance, and led a folkloric dance troupe. For some reasons, numerous printed sources had listed her as deceased since 1957, but according to the Filmoteca de la UNAM, she actually passed away on 27 December 2002.

Zepeda, Gerardo "Chiquilín": burly actor who specialized in playing monsters and henchmen in the 1960s and early 1970s, but later varied these roles with more sympathetic parts. His last name is occasionally spelled "Cepeda."

Zepeda, María Rebeca: child actress of the late 1970s, originally billed as just "María Rebeca." She continued to work in movies as a teenager, and now works in telenovelas. María Rebeca is the daughter of actors José Alonso and Irma Lozano.

Zetina, Guillermo (1921-70): supporting actor, on-screen from 1943 until his death. Also active on the stage.

Zermeño, Alvaro (1935-87): Jalisco-born singer and leading man, originally in Westerns and rancheras in the 1960s, then was resurrected as an action star in the '80s.

Zovek [Francisco Javier Chapa del Bosque] (1940-1972): escape artist and strongman who appeared in two movies in the early 1970s. His career was cut shot by his tragic death during a (non-film) stunt in March 1972.

Zubiaga, Antonio: sinister-looking character actor from the early 1970s into the 1990s..

Zumaya, Amado (?-1991): character actor, in movies from 1955 until his death; Best Supporting Actor Ariel nomination for Ora sí tenemos que ganar! His last name was occasionally spelled "Sumaya."

Zurita, Humberto (1952--): leading man of the '80s and beyond, who also produces TV shows and films with his wife, actress Christian Bach. Best Actor Ariel and a Diosa de Plata for Bajo la metralla, and a Diosa de Plata for El día que murió Pedro Infante.

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This page posted 25 April 2001, updated 1 June 2014 by