Irma Serrano

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This name uses Spanish naming customs: the first or paternal family name is Serrano and the second or maternal family name is Castro.
Irma Serrano
Irma Serrano con fecha de mañana.jpg
Serrano in El zurdo (1965)
Born Irma Consuelo Cielo Serrano Castro
(1933-12-09) 9 December 1933 (age 82)
Comitán, Chiapas, Mexico
Nationality Mexican
Other names La Tigresa, Consuelo Castro
Alma mater National Autonomous University of Mexico
  • Singer
  • songwriter
  • actress
  • politician
Years active 1962–2005
Partner(s) Fernando Casas Alemán
Gustavo Díaz Ordaz
Alejo Peralta
Relatives Rosario Castellanos (cousin)
Musical career
  • Vocals
  • guitar
Associated acts

Irma Consuelo Cielo Serrano Castro[1] (Spanish pronunciation: [ˈiɾma konˈswelo ˈsjelo seˈrano ˈkastɾo]; born 9 December 1933) is a Mexican singer, songwriter, actress, and politician.[2] Famous for her "tantalizing," "untamed spitfire" voice,[3] she is one of the most noted performers of the ranchera and corrido genres;[4] she was nicknamed La Tigresa de la Canción Ranchera[5] and later known simply as "La Tigresa" (Spanish pronunciation: [la ti´ɣɾesa]). Four of her greatest hits reached the Audiomusica list of top songs in Mexico: "Miel amarga" peaked at number 5 in 1966,[6] "Tierra mala" peaked at number 4 in 1966,[7] "El puente roto" peaked at 4 in 1966,[8] and "La Martina" peaked at 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.

Early life[edit]

Serrano is the third of three children (Mario, Yolanda, and Irma). Her father, Santiago Serrano Ruiz "El Chanti" (25 July 1897 – 17 December 1957),[11] was a distinguished author, poet, and politician born in Suchiapa to humble parents of indigenous descent.[12] Her mother, María Castro Domínguez,[13] was a local aristocrat who owned seventeen haciendas.[14] Her parents divorced when she was 7 years old.[14] She is a cousin of poet, author, and diplomat Rosario Castellanos.[14]


In 1962, Serrano signed a contract with CBS Records.[15] "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.[15] Serrano later remembered, "In six months I became the country's number one female singer."[14]

She made her film debut in Santo contra los zombies (1962). 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.

Legal troubles[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.

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.[16]


  • 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]

  • La Nueva Intérprete de la Canción Ranchera (Columbia, 1964)
  • Lloren Organillos: Folk Songs of Mexico (Columbia, 1965)
  • Nuevo "Hits" con Irma Serrano (Columbia, 1965)
  • Mexican Fire (Columbia, 1966)
  • Mi Noche de Ayer and Other Folk Songs (Columbia, 1968)
  • Irma Serrano con Los Alegres de Terán (Columbia, 1973)


  • 1963: Trofeo Revelación Folkórica, Premio Macuilxóchitl como la Cancionista Revelación, Trofeo Musa de Radiolandia[15]
  • 1964: Trofeo Musa de Radiolandia, Trofeo del Concurso Nacional de Televisión[15]


  1. ^ Decisión Ciudadana 1994: Reglas del juego, candidatos y perspectivas. Rayuela Editores. 1994. p. 70. Retrieved 16 June 2014. 
  2. ^ "Biographical Dictionary of Mexican Film Performers: "S" - Serrano, Irma". Retrieved 30 May 2011. 
  3. ^ "The Whirling Disks: Irma Serrano". Reading Eagle. 20 March 1966. Retrieved 5 June 2014.  |first1= missing |last1= in Authors list (help)
  4. ^ Herrera-Sobek, María (1993). The Mexican Corrido: A Feminist Analysis. Indiana University Press. p. xviii. ISBN 9780253207951. 
  5. ^ Contreras, José A. (10 March 1966). "Irma Serrano sintetiza: Canta con sinceridad para el pueblo". Melodías mexicanas. Retrieved 18 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. ^ Sánchez, Alejandro. "Santiago Serrano, poeta de Suchiapa casi olvidado". Noticiasnet. Retrieved 14 July 2014. 
  12. ^ Manguen, Juan Jaime; Montesinos, Irma (1992). Los Chiapanecas, guerreros de la historia: pobladores de Suchiapa, Volume 1. Gobierno del Estado de Chiapas. p. 204. 
  13. ^ El libro y el pueblo 60. Departamento de Bibliotecas de la Secretaría de Educación Pública. 1970. p. 31. Retrieved 16 June 2014. 
  14. ^ a b c d Poniatowska, Elena (1993). Todo México, Tomo 1. Editorial Diana. pp. 115–117. 
  15. ^ a b c d "Notes for Irma Serrano's LP record, Lloren organillos". Retrieved 18 June 2014. 
  16. ^ "Irma Serrano es detenida tras asistir al programa 'Hoy'". Terra (Mexico) (in Spanish). March 25, 2009. Retrieved 2010-07-18. 

External links[edit]