Medel, Manuel

(1906-1997)
   Manuel Medel was born on 5 January 1906 in Monterrey. His father was Félix Medel, a stage performer, and his mother was Concepción Ruiz, a zarzuela singer. Manuel began appearing on the stage as a teenager, and within a few years worked his way up from the "carpas" to "variety" theatres (approximately equivalent to vaudeville). During the 1930s, Medel rivaled Mario Moreno "Cantinflas" in popularity and although the two men were never close friends, they did appear together on the stage and were teamed in three films: Así es mi tierra, Aguila o sol, and El signo de la muerte. Cantinflas became a superstar, while Medel's career followed a different path. After a few years in supporting roles, Medel played the lead in La vida inútil de Pito Pérez, a screen version of a popular novel. But Medel never developed a distinctive screen personality and, except for a role as a murderous clown in El teatro del crimen (1956), he was off-screen between 1948 and 1975 (although he continued to work on the stage). In the late '70s and early '80s he made something of a film comeback, but only as a supporting player. In March 1996, Manuel Medel was honored for his long career by ANDA, the actors' union.
   Medel married Cuban actress and "vedette" Rosita Fornés in the 1940s; they had a daughter (Rosa María Medel), but later divorced. At the time of his death, the comedian was married to Alicia Bucio. Medel died of a heart attack in 1997.

Biographical Dictionary of Mexican Film Performers. . 2012.

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