World Library  
Flag as Inappropriate
Email this Article

Luis Valdez

Article Id: WHEBN0003611210
Reproduction Date:

Title: Luis Valdez  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: La Bamba (film), List of films based on crime books, Los Vendidos, CBS Summer Playhouse, Teatro Campesino
Collection: 1940 Births, American Dramatists and Playwrights, American Film Directors, American Film Directors of Mexican Descent, American Writers of Mexican Descent, California State University, Monterey Bay Faculty, Film Directors from California, Hispanic and Latino American Dramatists and Playwrights, Living People, Male Actors from San Jose, California, People from Delano, California, San Jose State University Alumni, Theatre in California, Theatre in the San Francisco Bay Area, Writers from San Jose, California
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia

Luis Valdez

Luis Valdez
Born (1940-06-26) June 26, 1940
Delano, California
Occupation Film director, producer, writer and teacher.
Nationality United States
Alma mater San Jose State University
Literary movement El Teatro Campesino
Notable works Zoot Suit (play and film), La Bamba (film).
Notable awards Peabody Award, Aguila Azteca Award, Golden Globe nominations

Luis Valdez (born June 26, 1940) is an American playwright, actor, writer and film director. Regarded as the father of Chicano theater in the United States,[1] Valdez is best known for his play Zoot Suit, his movie La Bamba, and his creation of El Teatro Campesino. A pioneer in the Chicano Movement, Valdez broadened the scope of theatre and arts of the Chicano community.


  • Biography 1
    • Early life 1.1
    • Education 1.2
    • Early Career: El Teatro Campesino 1.3
    • Later career 1.4
  • Zoot Suit (play and film) 2
  • La Bamba 3
  • Filmography 4
  • Honors and awards (not inclusive) 5
  • See also 6
  • References 7
  • External links 8


Early life

Luis Valdez was born in Delano, California to migrant farm worker parents. The second of ten children in his family, Valdez began to work in the fields at the age of six.[2] One of his brothers is the actor Daniel Valdez. Throughout his childhood, the family moved from harvest to harvest around the central valleys of California. Due to this peripatetic existence, he attended many different schools before the family finally settled in San Jose, California.[3]


Valdez began school in

  • Luis Valdez at the Internet Movie Database.
  • Luis Valdez at AllMovie.
  • Luís Valdez Papers are held at the California Ethnic and Multicultural Archives in the UC Santa Barbara Library.

External links

  1. ^ Luis Valdez at the Internet Movie Database.
  2. ^ a b c Benson, Sonia (2003). The Hispanic American Almanac. Farminton Hills, Ma: Gale. pp. 804–805.  
  3. ^ a b c d e f "Hispanic Heritage, Luis Valdez. In 2010, he was killed in a car accident.". Gale. Retrieved February 18, 2012. 
  4. ^ a b c d e Beth Bagby; Luis Valdez [1] "El Teatro Campesino Interviews with Luis Valdez"
  5. ^ Bedford/St Martin's Literature web site.
  6. ^ biography from The Harry Walker Agency Speakers Bureau website.
  7. ^ Hayward, Carl. Community Arts Network interview with Valdez.
  8. ^ BookRags web page.
  9. ^ "Hispanic Heritage Awards for Literature". Hispanic Heritage Foundation. Retrieved January 11, 2011. 


See also

Honors and awards (not inclusive)

  • Cruz Reynoso: Sowing the Seeds of Justice (2000), narrator
  • Ballad of a Soldier (2000), actor.
  • The Cisco Kid (1994), writer and director. Valdez also had a small role as Presidente Benito Juárez.
  • La Pastorela (1991 Great Performances), writer and director.
  • Los mineros (1991), narrator.
  • Fort Figueroa (1988 CBS Summer Playhouse), director.
  • Corridos: Tales of Passion & Revolution (1987), writer and director.
  • La Bamba (1987), writer and director.
  • Zoot Suit (1981), writer and director.
  • Which Way Is Up? (1977), actor.
  • El corrido: Ballad of a Farmworker (1976 Visions television series), writer, director, and actor.
  • Fighting for Our Lives (1975 documentary), writer.
  • I Am Joaquin (1969), documentary short film


The film, about Ritchie Valens, a popular Chicano 1950s rock and roller, "was an overwhelming box office success" according to BookRags.[8]

The film that brought Valdez his "breakthrough into mainstream America" was La Bamba which debuted in 1987.

La Bamba

In Zoot Suit, Luis Valdez weaves a story involving the real-life events of the Sleepy Lagoon murder trial—when a group of young Mexican-Americans were wrongfully charged with murder—and the Zoot Suit riots.

Valdez's first work that brought him attention to larger audiences was the play Zoot Suit which ran in 1978 at the Mark Taper Forum, in Los Angeles and played for forty-six weeks to more than 40,000 people. With Zoot Suit, Valdez became the first Chicano director to have a play presented on Broadway in 1979. Later, it was made into a film in 1981.[7]

Zoot Suit (play and film)

Luis Valdez is a founding faculty member and director (c. 1994) of the California State University, Monterey Bay Teledramatic Arts and Technology Department. He is credited with assisting in the development of a university program that prepares students in the entertainment industry: filmmaking, writing, sound, cinematography, and the like.[6]

In 1967, Valdez established a Chicano cultural center in Del Ray, California. In 1969 he moved both theater and cultural center to San Juan Bautista, south of San Francisco. Combined now with the cultural center, it was called El Centro Campesino Cultural, and it became a fully professional production company.[3]

Later career

In 1965, Valdez returned to Delano, where he enlisted in El Teatro Campesino, a farm worker's theater troupe.[3] El Teatro was known for touring migrant camps with their actos, one-act plays, which were usually around fifteen minutes long. The plays were used to educate and inform not only the farm workers, but also the public. Valdez believed that humor was a major asset to his plays in El Teatro Campesino as it was a tool to lift the morale of strikers.[4] Social and political commentary were intertwined within the humor to accomplish the goals of El Teatro Campesino.[4] Original plays of El Teatro were based on the experiences of farm workers, but by 1967 their subject matter expanded to other aspects of Chicano culture.[3] Although Valdez left El Teatro in 1967, his legacy lived on. Thanks in large part to Valdez and El Teatro Campesino, the 1970s saw an explosion of Chicano theater. Theater groups sprang up with surprising speed on college campuses and in communities throughout the United States. What began as a farm workers' theater in the migrant camps of Delano flooded into a national Chicano theater movement.[3]

After graduation, Valdez spent the next few months with The San Francisco Mime Troupe, where he was introduced to agitprop theatre and Italian commedia dell'arte.[2] These two techniques greatly influenced Valdez's development of the basic structure of Chicano theatre: the one-act presentational acto (act).

Early Career: El Teatro Campesino

[5] was produced by the drama department and debuted at SJSU.The Shrunken Head of Pancho Villa, Two years later, in 1963, Valdez's first full-length play, [2] in 1961.The Theft While in college, Valdez won a playwriting contest with his one-act play [4]. During his second year of college, he switched his major to English.physics and math (SJSU) on a scholarship for San Jose State University and went on to attend San Jose in James Lick High School Valdez graduated from [4] In high school, Valdez was part of the Speech and Drama department and acted in several plays. He described himself as "a very serious student."[4]

This article was sourced from Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply. World Heritage Encyclopedia content is assembled from numerous content providers, Open Access Publishing, and in compliance with The Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR), Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., Public Library of Science, The Encyclopedia of Life, Open Book Publishers (OBP), PubMed, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health (NIH), U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, and, which sources content from all federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial government publication portals (.gov, .mil, .edu). Funding for and content contributors is made possible from the U.S. Congress, E-Government Act of 2002.
Crowd sourced content that is contributed to World Heritage Encyclopedia is peer reviewed and edited by our editorial staff to ensure quality scholarly research articles.
By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. World Heritage Encyclopedia™ is a registered trademark of the World Public Library Association, a non-profit organization.

Copyright © World Library Foundation. All rights reserved. eBooks from Project Gutenberg are sponsored by the World Library Foundation,
a 501c(4) Member's Support Non-Profit Organization, and is NOT affiliated with any governmental agency or department.