Rodolfo Guzmán Huerta: The Mexican Wrestler “El Santo”
Rodolfo Gúzman Huerta El Santo

Publication: May 20, 2022

Inside: Learn about Rodolfo Gúzman Huerta, the famous Mexican luchador nicknamed “El Santo.”

“El Santo” was one of the most famous Mexican wrestlers of all time, known for always hiding his face behind a silver mask, both in and out of the ring.

Rodolfo Guzmán Huerta cemented his legendary hero status by starring in films and a comic-books series that ran for more than 30 years.

“Santo, along with Blue Demon & Mil Máscaras, is one of the most famous and iconic of all Mexican luchadores, and has been referred to as one of “the greatest legends in Mexican sports.

His wrestling career spanned nearly five decades, during which he became a folk hero and a symbol of justice for the common man through his appearances in comic books and movies.”

– El Santo, Wrestlemania

Here’s an index of what’s included in the post. You can click on any link to jump straight to that section:

1. Rodolfo Guzmán Huerta Biography (Mario Moreno)
2. El Santo Quotes in English
3. El Santo Quotes in Spanish
4. List of El Santo Films
5. YouTube Biography Videos

Related: Famous Latinos & Hispanic Americans Home Page

Image Source

Rodolfo Guzmán Huerta “El Santo” Biography

Fast Facts About Rodolfo Guzmán Huerta, “El Santo”

Born: September 23, 1917
Birthplace: Mexico
Died: February 5, 1984
Family:
María de los Ángeles Rodríguez (1st spouse), 10 children, Eva Enriqueta Vallejo Vadager (2nd spouse), 1 child
Career:
Wrestler, Actor
Legacy:
Among the most famous “luchadores” (fighters) in Mexico, of all time.

Rodolfo Guzmán Huerta was born September 23, 1917, in Tulancigo, Mexico. His family later moved to Mexico City, and Huerta played different sports, such as baseball, American football, and wrestling.

He began his professional wrestling career in the early 1930’s, at 16 years old. He used different names, including El Demonio Negro, El Hombre Rojo, and El Murcielago. In 1942, his manager organized a group that dressed in silver, and Huerta chose the name El Santo. He was called this, or often just Santo, for the rest of his career.

In those times, most wrestlers had a “good” or “bad” persona. At the beginner, Huerta fought as a “rudo” (bad) wrestler. He later switched to being “técnico” (good) wrestler.

As recorded in La Jornada, Huerta explained the change this way:

“When I decided to mask myself I also thought about changing my style: to become a soulless tough guy. Then I wanted to use the name Angel, but finally I decided on El Santo…. I would fight dirty and people would applaud; sometimes I would fight clean and the ovation was bigger.

The image of El Santo began to be commercially popularized in magazines and movies. El Enmascarado de Plata fought against the bad guys, he was on the side of justice. Children made me change my mind.”

In the 1950’s, El Santo began starring in a comic book series that told his exploits of fighting crime. The series ran for more than 30 years. A few years after the comics began, he acted in his first movies. The first attempts were poor quality, but in 1961 he starred in his first of many successful films, “Santo contra los zombies.” El Santo starred in more than 50 movies over his careers.

El Santo’s career was long, spanning 48 years. He fought his last match in 1982, at 65 years old. His son Jorge also became a wrestler, known as El Hijo del Santo.

Rodolfo Guzmán Huerta died of a heart attack on February 5, 1984. Only a week earlier he had given a famous interview in which he unmasked himself publicly. His children honored his request to be buried in his mask.

10 El Santo Quotes in English

1. “I am nothing but a workmen of wrestling.”

El Santo

2. “I must have an irreproachable conduct, because children believe in me. In my movies I always defend them from evil, I always do justice, I always right wrongs; in real life I must live up to the ideals I live on the screen; they have made me an idol.”

El Santo

3. (On acting in movies): “At that time you earned 15 or 20 pesos per fight, so you had to go looking for the most money you could get. You had to look for what brought the most money.”

El Santo

4. “I believe that we, the wrestlers, with our grain of sand each, on our daily effort, have made the sport we love a greater thing.”

El Santo

5. “First of all [wrestling] is a sport, because if there is no good activity, no reflexes, no physical condition, there can be no wrestling, no athlete. The athlete is made in the gym. It sells like any profession. It is a lie that a wrestler is made in one or two years.”

El Santo

6. “I took care of myself, with my knowledge and experience. I was always very professional and tried to give my best. To give my best in every fight, there were many people who wanted to displace me. All the opponents were very tough.”

El Santo

7. “Before being a clown, the wrestler must be an athlete.”

El Santo

8. “The beginning of my career, like any other career… was very hard.”

El Santo

9. “Leaving fighting was a very sad thing. I still remember the reaction of the public when I retired. They said goodbye to me in their own way, with a standing ovation. That is one of the greatest satisfactions I have received in my life.”

El Santo

10. “The image of El Santo began to be commercially popularized in magazines and movies. El Enmascarado de Plata fought against the bad guys, he was on the side of justice. Children made me change my mind. Childhood did not deserve a bad idol.”

El Santo

Image Source

10 Frases de Rodolfo Gúzman Huerta

1. “No soy sino un obrero de la lucha libre”.

El Santo, Rodolfo Gúzman Huerta

2. “Yo debo tener una conducta irreprochable, porque los niños creen en mi. En mis películas siempre los defiendo del mal, siempre hago justicia, arreglo entuertos; en la vida real debo responder a los ideales que vivo en la pantalla; han hecho de mi un ídolo”.

El Santo, Rodolfo Gúzman Huerta

3. (Sobre su actuación en las películas): “En aquella época se ganaba 15 o 20 pesos por lucha, entonces uno tenía que ir buscando lo que mas dejaba. Tenía que buscar uno lo que traía más dinero”.

El Santo, Rodolfo Gúzman Huerta

4. “Creo que nosotros, los luchadores, a base de nuestro granito de arena, de nuestro esfuerzo cotidiano, hemos hecho del deporte que amamos una cosa más grande”.

El Santo, Rodolfo Gúzman Huerta

5. “Primero que nada [luchar] es un deporte, porque si no hay buena actividad, no hay reflejos, no hay condición física, no puede haber lucha libre, ni un atleta. El atleta se hace en el gimnasio, vende como cualquier profesión, es mentira que un luchador se haga en uno o dos años”.

El Santo, Rodolfo Gúzman Huerta

6. “Yo me cuidaba solo, con mis conocimientos y experiencia. Siempre fui muy profesional y traté de dar lo mejor de mí. De entregarme en cada lucha, había mucha gente que deseaba desplazarme. Todos los oponentes fueron muy duros”.7

El Santo, Rodolfo Gúzman Huerta

7. “Antes de ser payaso, hay que ser atleta”.

El Santo, Rodolfo Gúzman Huerta

8. “El inicio de mi carrera, pues como toda carrera… fue muy dura”.

El Santo, Rodolfo Gúzman Huerta

9. “Dejar de luchar fue algo muy triste, aún recuerdo la reacción del público cuando me retiré. Me dijo adiós a su manera, con una fuerte ovación. Ésa es una de las más grandes satisfacciones que he recibido en mi vida”.

El Santo, Rodolfo Gúzman Huerta

10. “La imagen de El Santo comenzó a explotarse comercialmente en revistas y películas. El Enmascarado de Plata luchaba contra los malos, estaba del lado de la justicia. Los niños me hicieron dar el cambio. La niñez no merecía un ídolo malo”.

El Santo, Rodolfo Gúzman Huerta

10 Famous El Santo Movies

Cantinflas was part of more than 50 films, so we’ll just list some popular titles here.

  • Santo contra los Zombies (1962)
  • Santo contra las mujeres vampiro (1962
  • Saint en el museo de cera (1963)
  • Operación 67 (1967)
  • Santo vs. los villanos del ring (1968)
  • Santo contra Capulina (1969)
  • Santo en el tesoro de Drácula (1969)
  • Santo y Blue Demon contra los Monstruos (1970)
  • Las momias de Guanajuato (1972)
  • Santo y Blue Demon contra Drácula y el Hombre Lobo (1973)

Rodolfo Gúzman Huerta Biography Videos

A introductions to El Santo, in Spanish (8min 58s):

The last interview with El Santo, in which he unmasked himself and one week before his passing (14min 39s):

This is a longer form biography in Spanish and produced in Argentina (43m 59s):

I hope these quotes and resources were helpful to you! If you have more ideas for resources or lessons, let me know in the comments below!

Image Sources:

Image 1: El Santo” (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0) by MarceRodz

Image 2: “Rodolfo Guzmán Huerta El Santo, leyendo” (CC BY-ND 2.0) by Manuel Chávez R.

Image 3: Gobierno CDMX, CC0, via Wikimedia Commons

Image 4: El Santo” (CC BY 2.0) by jay galvin

Image 5: “MX MM CENTENARIO EL SANTO” (CC BY-SA 2.0) by Secretaría de Cultura CDMX

Image 6: Poster for ”Around the World in 80 Days”” (CC BY 2.0) by nathanh100

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Hey! I’m Elisabeth, a teacher and mom raising three bilingual kids in the Peruvian jungle. Read our story here. I love digging up the best-of-the-best Spanish resources for all you busy parents and teachers!

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