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Germán Valdés

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Germán Valdés
Germán Valdés, Tin Tan en El sultán Descalzo (1956) (cropped).jpg
Valdés in El sultán descalzo (1956)
Germán Genaro Cipriano Gómez Valdés y Castillo

(1915-09-19)19 September 1915
Died29 June 1973(1973-06-29) (aged 57)
Other namesTin-Tan
Years active1943–1973
SpouseRosalia m. 1956-1973, Micaela Vargas m. 1948-1955, Magdalena Martinez m. 1937-1948
ChildrenRosalia, Carlos

Germán Genaro Cipriano Gómez Valdés y Castillo (19 September 1915 – 29 June 1973), known professionally as Tin-Tan, was a Mexican actor, singer and comedian who was born in Mexico City but was raised and began his career in Ciudad Juarez, Chihuahua. He often displayed the pachuco dress and employed pachuco slang in many of his movies, some with his brothers Manuel "El Loco" Valdés and Ramón Valdés. He made the language of the border Mexican, known in Spanish as fronterizos pachucos, famous in Mexico. A "caló" based in Spanglish, it was a mixture of Spanish and English in speech based on that of Mexicans on the Mexican side of the border, specifically Ciudad Juarez.[1]

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Origin of name

Tin Tan began his career by calling himself Topillo (slang for the trickster), which a friend of his stated sounded too vulgar and uncouth for a comedian. He suggested instead the nickname "Tin-Tan" (based on the sound of bells ringing), which Valdés originally disliked but grew to like and use professionally for his whole career.[2]


Valdés in 1953
Valdés in 1953

Valdés's film career came as a complete surprise to everyone. He used to work as a sweeper for the XEJ station in Ciudad Juarez when he decided to try and mimic the radio announcers for fun. Unbeknownst to him, the actual announcer had left the microphone on. His quick wit and funny personality garnered him acclaim and he was quickly promoted to the main radio announcer himself. It was under these circumstances that legendary ventriloquist Paco Miller contacted him to act in films, and his career began.[3]

He usually acted alongside his "carnal" (blood brother), Marcelo Chávez, who also accompanied Tin-Tan with a guitar. He was a prominent figure during his golden years in film, from 1949 onward. His 1948 film, Calabacitas tiernas, a comedy, was chosen as one of the best in Mexican cinema[citation needed].

Valdés boasted of his record of "having kissed the most actresses" in his career[citation needed], some of them considered the beauties of their day. Some of his co-stars were Marga López, Rosita Quintana, Silvia Pinal, Amalia Aguilar, Meche Barba, Ana Bertha Lepe, María Antonieta Pons, Tongolele and many more. He also collaborated closely with actress and comedian Fannie Kauffman, who was also known as Vitola, during their careers.[4][5]

He was also one of several people who were originally intended to be on the front cover of The Beatles' Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band but declined the invitation. He requested that Ringo swap him for a Mexican tree known as "El Arbol de la Vida", the Tree of Life, which he did.[citation needed]

He was the voice of Baloo the bear and Thomas O'Malley the cat in the Mexican Spanish dubbing of the Disney films The Jungle Book and The Aristocats; both roles were originally voiced by Phil Harris.

Valdés was the subject of the 2005 documentary, Ni Muy Muy... Ni Tan Tan... Simplemente Tin Tán, by Manuel Márquez and Carlos Valdés, son of the comedian.


Valdés with his brother Antonio, c. 1960s
Valdés with his brother Antonio, c. 1960s
The Valdés brothers; Ramón (gray suit, first on the left), Antonio (plaid shirt), Germán (gray suit, center) and Manuel (black suit, last in the second row from the right) in 1958
The Valdés brothers; Ramón (gray suit, first on the left), Antonio (plaid shirt), Germán (gray suit, center) and Manuel (black suit, last in the second row from the right) in 1958

Valdés became ill with hepatitis[when?], which degenerated into cancer. He then fell into a hepatic coma and died.

When he died he did not leave a fortune, just a testament to his wife Rosalía and his children Rosalía and Carlos.[citation needed]

He left behind a legacy of over a hundred film, 11 records, and two short films. The only recognition he received was the Virginia Fábregas Medal, a medal given for 25 years of professional service by the Association of Actors of Mexico.


On 19 September 2019, the 104th anniversary of his birth, Tin-Tan was honored with a Google Doodle that reached Central America, Iceland, Italy and Sweden.[6]

Selected filmography


  1. ^ "Tin Tan Festival to be held in Juarez at Mercado Juarez". El Paso Times. 19 September 2018. Retrieved 23 August 2022. Germán Genaro Cipriano Gómez Valdés de Castillo, better known as Tin-Tan was an actor, singer and comedian who was born in Mexico City
  2. ^ Archived at Ghostarchive and the Wayback Machine: "Manuel Loco Valdés habla de su hermano Tin Tan 28 marzo, 2015". YouTube.
  3. ^ "Los 26 datos de Tin Tan y su relación con Ciudad Juárez".
  4. ^ "Vitola fallece a los 84 años". El Universal. 23 February 2009. Retrieved 26 March 2011.
  5. ^ "'La Vitola' se retiró a tiempo". El Universal. 23 January 2007. Retrieved 26 March 2011.
  6. ^ "Google Doodle for Tin Tan". Google Doodle. Retrieved 19 September 2019.
  7. ^ Smith, Don G. (1996). "Lon Chaney Jr.". McFarland & Co., Inc. ISBN 0-7864-0120-6. Page 148

External links

This page was last edited on 9 May 2023, at 12:34
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