Jorge Alberto Negrete Moreno ( 30 November 1911 – 5 December 1953) is considered[by whom?] one of the most popular Mexican singers and actors of all time.
Negrete was born and raised in the City of Guanajuato and had one brother and three sisters; Negrete also lived in San Luis Potosí. From an early age, Negrete demonstrated a great brilliance and rapidly became a prominent student in the eyes of his teachers.
He spoke five languages: Spanish, German, English, French, Italian, and Nahuatl (a Mesoamerican language).
Despite his brilliance, Negrete decided to abandon his studies at the age of thirteen to enroll in the military.
He graduated with the rank of sub-lieutenant from El Colegio Militar, Mexico’s military academy. This was the place where his fascination for music developed.
Not only did he develop an interest for music but his military training forged him a gallant presence and character which would later benefit him in his acting career.
Negrete met and studied under José Pierson, a prestigious singing professor, who became fascinated the moment he heard Negrete sing. Pierson helped Negrete develop his talent for Opera which led him to become well known in the United States.
Handsome, with a very strong will and a trained, fascinating voice, he is still a top icon in Mexico, Spain and Latin America, more than 50 years after his death.
His recording of “México Lindo y Querido” (“Beautiful and Beloved México”), his country’s unofficial anthem, is the best known recording of the song. His career is often compared to that of Pedro Infante, the most popular Mexican actor of the time.
The public rivalry didn’t carry over to their private lives, as they were close friends until Negrete’s death.
He married twice, to famous actresses with whom he shared credits: Elisa Christy and María Félix. He also lived with his frequent co-star, for more than ten years. Gloria Marín co-starred in 10 out of his 44 films.
singing operatic parts. In 1936 he signed with NBC Television for a TV program with Cuban and Mexican musicians. He returned to Mexico in 1937 to act in the film La Madrina Del Diablo (“The Devil’s Godmother”) and because of the success of the film he was able to sign for several more the next three years. In 1938 he starred in La Valentina with Elisa Christy and then in Juntos Pero No Revueltos.
After working in Havana and Hollywood he was called to act in ¡Ay Jalisco, No Te Rajes! (“Hey Jalisco, Don’t Back Down!”) which made him an international Latin star and helped formulate the charro film genre. Filming this film he met Gloria Marín, starting their romance and the string of films they filmed together.
He complemented his film career by singing rancheras with the trio Los Tres Calaveras and touring Latin America, singing concerts and making personal appearances.
He was offered the main role in El Peñón de las Ánimas (The Rock of Souls) and wanted Marín to be his co-star. In spite of his protests, newcomer María Félix became his star and eventually his wife, although they at first despised each other while filming the film.
He was one of the founders, and the most important leader, of the Mexican Actors Association, succeeding Cantinflas as its chairman. In 1952, actress Leticia Palma became involved in the struggle between Cantinflas and Negrete over leadership of the union, with Palma campaigning actively for Cantinflas.
On January 2, 1953, Palma was “rescued” by Major Manuel González, who helped her get a taxi to safety while she was being pursued by an angry mob. The mob was led by Negrete, who was after Palma for having stolen documents regarding her contract violations. Palma filed assault charges on Negrete.
Eight days later, ANDA held a special assembly to judge Palma. Cantiflas argued on her behalf, attempting to negotiate a settlement. Negrete would allow nothing less than her expulsion from the union, and Palma likewise refused to withdraw the charge of assault. Just before the vote, a number of actresses left the room in protest. The remaining members voted in favor of expulsion, thus ending Palma’s film career.
In 1953, during a business trip to Los Angeles, Negrete died of hepatitis, an illness with which he had contracted while working as a musician in New York. According to his wishes, his body was flown back to, and buried in, Mexico City. He was forty-two years old.
He was the first to die of the “Tres Gallos Mexicanos”, or “Three Mexican Roosters” (as he, Pedro Infante and Javier Solís, a younger star, were called; the three died within a span of 13 years).
Thousands of fans attended his funeral and followed the hearse to the cemetery, El Panteón Jardín, where he was buried in the actors’ corner. On December 5, the anniversary of his death, fans still pay tribute to “El Charro Cantor” (“Singing Mexican Cowboy”) at his tomb, and television and radio stations stage marathons of his films and songs.
The centennial of his birth was commemorated in 2011. Several tribute concerts and presentations took place throughout Mexico and some European countries with Hispanic culture and heritage.
Parents of Jorge were Emilia Moreno Anaya and David Negrete Fernández. He descended from outstanding Mexican liberal military men, including Miguel Negrete, who participated in the Battle of Puebla. His siblings were named Consuelo, Emilia, Teresa, David and Rubén.
Elisa Christy gave birth to his daughter Diana (his only child), Jorge has five grand children, Déborah, Diana, Rafael,Liliana and Lorenzo. Rafael and Lorenzo are professional singers and use the Negrete last name for their artistic name.
His stepson was actor Enrique Álvarez Félix.