On April 15th of 1957, radio programming was interrupted by news of a tragedy: a TAMSA plane had crashed on 54th and 87th streets in the city of Merida, Yucatan. There were no survivors. The aircraft pilot was Captain Cruz, better known as Pedro Infante, the idol of Mexican cinema.
His career was one of success, achievements and recognitions honored by thousands of fans that still gather at his tomb every April 15th. But behind the classic image of the Mexican macho, there was a humble, benevolent and at times shy man.
Before he became famous, Pedro had worked as carpenter, barber and singer in bars and restaurants.
Although a legend of the Mexican film industry, his beginnings as an actor were rough. One anecdote tells how in the middle of a dramatic scene, people started to laugh at Pedro’s acting. To date, When the heart speaks holds the record of the movie with the least time in theaters: it was exhibited only one day.
Nevertheless his luck changed when he met Mexican director, Ismael Rodriguez and actress Blanca Estela Pavon. With them he developed his skills as an actor and singer, becoming an international sensation.
On the screen, he was the stereotypical joyous Mexican, a macho and a drinker. In real life, however, Infante was a strict teetotaler. His drunk scenes were in fact the result of years of observing patrons at the cantinas. Rodriguez and his mates always admired Infante’s knack for imitation, his vivacity and quick understanding. This talent would be awarded with the Silver Bear of the Berlin International Film Festival for the film Tizóc.
Pedro Infante became an idol of the people due to his kindness and warmth toward fans. He directed much of his proceeds to the poor, according to his personal assistant. Almost 300 families depended on his charity before his death.
According to recent research, diabetes was the reason of his devotion to exercise. This disease affected his eyes during the last years of his life. His doctors had in fact warned him to use glasses to drive.
Before his death, Pedro had survived two plane accidents that left him with injuries, scars and a titanium plate in his head. Despite everything, he continued with this hobby which ultimately led to his untimely demise.