In the 1970s and 1980s, Serrano achieved great success as an actress and producer in a series of controversial stage plays, highlighting the controversial play Naná (1973). In the decade of the 1990s, he also ventured into politics and occupied a seat in the Mexican Senate. In her later years, she was the center of multiple scandals and controversies. She has appeared in celebrity gossip magazines and television shows because of her political career as senator of her home state of Chiapas from 1994 to 1997.
Serrano is the third of three children (Mario, Yolanda, and Irma). Her father, Santiago Serrano Ruiz "El Chanti" (25 July 1897 – 17 December 1957), was a distinguished author, poet, and politician born in Suchiapa to humble parents of indigenous descent. Her mother, María Castro Domínguez, was a local aristocrat who owned seventeen haciendas. Her older brothers were Mario and Yolanda. Her parents divorced when she was 7 years old. She is a cousin of poet, author, and diplomat Rosario Castellanos.
Irma Serrano began her artistic career as a dancer in the choreographic group directed by the dancer Chelo La Rué. Later, Serrano began her career as singer when signing a contract with Columbia Records in 1962. In 1963, she won several awards such as the Folklore Revelation Trophy, the Macuilxóchitl as the Revelation Songwriter and the Musa Trophy of Radiolandia. Serrano became one of the most popular Mexican folk music artists of the 1960s. One of her most remembered songs is the corrido of La Martina, considered a classic of the Mexican folk genre.
She began her career in films at age 29 in the movie Samson vs. the Zombies, starring the popular Mexican wrestler El Santo (Samson). She works on films like The Extra (1962), opposite Cantinflas, Tiburoneros (1963, directed by Luis Alcoriza), and Gabino Barrera (1964) along with the actor and singer Antonio Aguilar, among others. From 1968, begins to use the pseudonym of La Tigresa (The Tigress), taken from a comic that she herself starred due to its popularity. In the 1970s she participated in her best films. In 1972, she stars in La Martina", inspired by her most popular song. In 1973 she starred in the fantastic film La Tigresa. In that same year, she works in the film The Monastery of the Vultures of the filmmaker Francisco del Villar. At the end of the 1970s and during the 1980s, Serrano's appearances at the movies were rather sporadic. She performs special performances in films like Cabaret Nights (1978) and Lola la trailera (1982). In 1985 Irma produces Naná inspired by the controversial same name stage play, which she herself starred in Mexico years ago. In 1986, Serrano made her last relevant film performance in the horror film The Lovers of the Lord of the Night next to Isela Vega and Emilio Fernández.
In 1972, Serrano acquired the old Virginia Fábregas Theater, located in the street of Donceles, in the Mexico City's Historic Center. The actress remodeled the theater and renamed it Teatro Fru Fru. From the 1970s, Serrano stars and produces a series of theatrical montages that caused controversy. Of them it emphasizes Naná (1973), free adaptation of Serrano of the same name novel of Emile Zola. The stage play was produced by Serrano and directed by Maricela Lara. Naná caused controversy in Mexico because of its high erotic content, and remained on the billboard for four uninterrupted years (1973-1977).
In 1977, Serrano partnered with actor, producer, writer and director Alejandro Jodorowsky to perform the stage play Lucrecia Borgia. Nevertheless, the differences between both personages provoked a dispute that caused that both independently produced its own version of the work.
Other stage plays starring by Serrano in the Teatro Fru Frú were A Lady Without Camelias (1977), Oh ... Calcutta (1977), Yocasta Reina (1978), The Cross-legged War(1979) and the autobiographical A calzón amarrado (1980, based on the controversial autobiographical book published by La Tigresa a little earlier). In addition to starring in these works, Serrano also served as co-producer, co-director and co-author of the arguments, some along with the director, actor and producer Pablo Leder. Her last theatrical projects were The Two Emanuele (1984, alongside Isela Vega and also represented in the Million Dollar Theater of Los Angeles) and The Well of Solitude (1985).
As a producer, she also performed a series of theatrical productions, some of them within the successful concept Theater at the Midnight, created by Pablo Leder for a strictly adult audience. Such montages were Emanuele LIVE (1981), Jail for Girls (1981), Vampira! (Emanuele de ultratumba) (1983) and Carmen (2004).
In 1967 Serrano was ordered to jail by the First Lady of Mexico, Guadalupe Borja, for daring to serenade Borja's husband, then Mexican President Gustavo Díaz Ordaz at Los Pinos, the presidential residence. It was rumored that Serrano and Díaz Ordaz had a short lived romantic affair. Neither confirmed the rumor until 1998, when Serrano defended the late president, claiming they had lived together, and denying she ever ordered him to attack the students in the 1968 massacre of Tlatelolco.
In 1994, Serrano ran for Senator from her home state of Chiapas and won.
On March 25, 2009 Serrano was arrested in her home State of Chiapas and taken into custody to Mexico City's federal women penitentiary for supposed death threats and branding a gun 3 years earlier to an ex-tenant of one of her properties.
Serrano resides in Comitán, Chiapas.2005 La Madrastra (TV series)
2004 Hospital el paisa (TV series)
1977 Variedades de media noche (TV series)
1974 La tierra (TV series)
1972 Aun hay mas (TV series)
A Lady Without Camellias (1977)
Lucrecia Borgia (1977)
Yocasta Reina (1978)
The Cross-legged War (1979)
A Calzón amarrado (1980)
The Two Emanuele (1984)
The Well of Solitude (1985)
Jail for Girls (1981)
Vampira! (Emanuele de Ultratumba) (1983)
La Nueva Intérprete de la Canción Ranchera (Columbia, 1964)
Lloren Organillos: Folk Songs of Mexico (Columbia, 1965)
Nuevo "Hits" con Irma Serrano (Columbia, 1965)
Mexican Fire (Columbia, 1966)
Mi Noche de Ayer and Other Folk Songs (Columbia, 1968)
Irma Serrano con Los Alegres de Terán (Columbia, 1973)
1963: Trofeo Revelación Folkórica, Premio Macuilxóchitl como la Cancionista Revelación, Trofeo Musa de Radiolandia.