Irma Serrano

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Irma Serrano
Irma Serrano con fecha de mañana.jpg
in El zurdo (1965)
Born Irma Consuelo Cielo Serrano Castro
(1933-12-09) 9 December 1933 (age 80)
Comitán, Chiapas, Mexico
Occupation Singer-songwriter, actress, politician
Years active 1962–2005
Musical career
Instruments Vocals
Associated acts

Irma Consuelo Cielo Serrano Castro[1] (born 9 December 1933), nicknamed "La Tigresa de la Canción Ranchera" (The Tigress of Ranchera Music)[2] or simply "La Tigresa" (The Tigress), is a Mexican singer-songwriter, actress, and politician.[3][4]

Due to her exotic beauty, hourglass figure, and way of being controversial, Serrano managed to attract the attention of directors and producers who consequently began to call her to act in different films; henceforth she created a successful acting career.[3]

As a singer, Serrano is famous for her "tantalizing," "untamed spitfire" voice in the ranchera and corrido genres.[5] Four of her hit songs reached Audiomusica Magazine's list of top songs in Mexico: "Miel amarga" reached number 5 in 1966,[6] "Tierra mala" reached number 4 in 1966,[7] "El puente roto" reached number 4 in 1966,[8] and "La Martina" reached number 5 in 1967.[9]

In her later years, she was the center of multiple scandals and controversies.[10] She has appeared in celebrity gossip magazines and television shows because of her political career as senator of her home state of Chiapas from 1994 to 1997.[3]

Early life[edit]

Serrano was born in Comitán, Chiapas, to Santiago Serrano Ruiz, a poet, and his first wife María Castro,[11] who belonged to a locally prominent and wealthy family of Spanish descent.[12] When describing her father, Serrano humorously quoted "I met my father on a hammock, and he died on another hammock; he was bodily lazy". She has also said that her mother gave birth to her at the age of 49, unaware of being pregnant and believing that she had a tumor instead of a child.[12] Serrano, being a real blonde with green eyes, grew up on the outskirts of Comitán on her parents' coffee plantation of La Soledad.[12]

While attending a film festival in Acapulco, Guerrero, with her cousin, Serrano (being a teenager) became acquainted with a politician who would eventually become her extramarital lover.[12]



In 1962, Serrano signed a contract with CBS Records.[13] "Canción de un preso" was her breakthrough, and "Prisionero de tus brazos", "El amor de la paloma", and "Nada gano con quererte" sold a record number of copies.[13]


Her film debut was in Santo contra los zombies (1962), where she shared credits with actor-wrestler sensation, Santo. In the same year, she obtained a bit role in El extra, starring Cantinflas and Alma Delia Fuentes, where she ironically portrayed a movie extra. By the mid-1960s, Serrano quickly became a rising starlet who rose to prominence appearing in films as an "exotic" musical guest. She also appeared in several films of the Gabino Barrera saga, and in them she sang the "Corrido of Gabino Barrera". In the drama film El zurdo (1965), Serrano was given a modest, yet notable acting role playing "Catalina", a bar singer who participates in a plan to rob notorious left-handed gun slinger Pedro "El zurdo" portrayed by Rodolfo de Anda. She has also acted with actors Emilio Fernández and Eric del Castillo in Los malvados in 1966.

It was until the 1972 Mexican Revolution film La chamuscada (Tierra y libertad) when Serrano was given a starring role alongside actors Luis Aguilar, Rodolfo de Anda, and Emilio Fernández. Her popularity grew when she starred the lead role in the controversial film La Martina (1972), followed by La tigresa (1973) from which she got her nickname.

Personal life[edit]

She was ordered jailed by Guadalupe Borja, First Lady of Mexico, in 1967 when she dared to serenade then Mexican President Gustavo Díaz Ordaz in Los Pinos, Mexico's official presidential residence. It was rumored they had a short lived romantic affair.[10] Both never confirmed it, until 1998 when she defended the late president when she said that she lived with him, and that she never ordered him to attack the students of the massacre of Tlatelolco, which happened in 1968.[3]

She lives in palatial residences in Mexico City, all furnished with art masterpieces from around the world that she collected and accumulated during her singing, acting and political careers.

In 1994, she ran for Senator from her home state of Chiapas and won.[10]

On March 25, 2009 she was arrested in her home State of Chiapas and taken into custody to Mexico City's federal women penitentiary for supposed death threats and branding a gun 3 years earlier to an ex-tenant of one of her properties.[14]


  • 1994 Juana la Cubana
  • 1986 Los Amantes del Señor de la Noche
  • 1985 Nana
  • 1983 Lola the Truck Driving Woman
  • 1978 Noches de cabaret
  • 1973 El Monasterio de los Buitres
  • 1973 La tigresa
  • 1973 Santo y el aguila real
  • 1972 La Martina
  • 1971 La venganza de Gabino Barrera
  • 1971 La chamuscada (Tierra y libertad)
  • 1968 Los amores de Juan Charrasqueado
  • 1968 El caudillo
  • 1966 Los malvados
  • 1966 El hijo del diablo
  • 1966 Los gavilanes negros
  • 1965 El hijo de Gabino Barrera
  • 1965 Los sheriffs de la frontera
  • 1965 La conquista de El Dorado
  • 1965 El zurdo
  • 1965 Gabino Barrera
  • 1964 El corrido de María Pistolas
  • 1963 The Shark Hunters
  • 1962 The Extra
  • 1962 Santo contra los zombies

Television work[edit]

  • 2005 La Madrastra (TV series)
  • 2004 Hospital el paisa (TV series)
  • 1977 Variedades de media noche (TV series)
  • 1974 La tierra (TV series)
  • 1972 Aun hay mas (TV series)

Selected discography[edit]

  • Irma Serrano (1964)
  • Nuevo "Hits" con Irma Serrano (1965)
  • La Tigresa (1966)


  • 1963: Trofeo Revelación Folkórica, Premio Macuilxóchitl como la Cancionista Revelación, Trofeo Musa de Radiolandia[13]
  • 1964: Trofeo Musa de Radiolandia, Trofeo del Concurso Nacional de Televisión[13]


  1. ^ Decisión Ciudadana 1994: Reglas del juego, candidatos y perspectivas. Rayuela Editores. 1994. p. 70. Retrieved 16 June 2014. 
  2. ^ Contreras, José A. (10 March 1966). "Irma Serrano sintetiza: Canta con sinceridad para el pueblo". Melodías mexicanas. Retrieved 18 June 2014. 
  3. ^ a b c d "Irma Serrano - Entretenimiento". Retrieved 30 May 2011. 
  4. ^ "Biographical Dictionary of Mexican Film Performers: "S" - Serrano, Irma". Retrieved 30 May 2011. 
  5. ^ "The Whirling Disks: Irma Serrano". Reading Eagle. 20 March 1966. Retrieved 5 June 2014. 
  6. ^ "Billboard Hits of the World". Billboard. 25 June 1966. Retrieved 7 January 2014. 
  7. ^ "Billboard Hits of the World". Billboard. 3 September 1966. Retrieved 7 January 2014. 
  8. ^ "Billboard Hits of the World". Billboard. 22 October 1966. Retrieved 7 January 2014. 
  9. ^ "Billboard Hits of the World". Billboard. 29 April 1967. Retrieved 7 January 2014. 
  10. ^ a b c "Mexican Actress Irma Serrano Arrested". Latin American Herald Tribune. Retrieved 2010-07-18. 
  11. ^ El libro y el pueblo 60. Departamento de Bibliotecas de la Secretaría de Educación Pública. 1970. p. 31. Retrieved 16 June 2014. 
  12. ^ a b c d "YouTube - La historia detrás del mito: Irma Serrano". Retrieved 24 May 2013. 
  13. ^ a b c d "Notes for Irma Serrano's LP record, Lloren organillos". Retrieved 18 June 2014. 
  14. ^ "Irma Serrano es detenida tras asistir al programa 'Hoy'". Terra (Mexico). March 25, 2009. Retrieved 2010-07-18. 

External links[edit]