Ricardo García Blaya

Gardel's will

he idols´ lives are generally surrounded by legends and mysteries and Gardel, a true cultural myth of Argentina, does not evade this assertion.

His age, that has to do with the true date of his birth, and his nationality are, still today, a reason of controversy.

In spite of a passport, where he forges his origin to avoid the consequences of not complying with military service in France, and some carnet of a sports institution, Gardel was always regarded as French.

His first nickname in the neighborhood of El Abasto was El Francesito (The Little French). And when the time passed and his stage of singing in duo with José Razzano was remembered, he was known as El Morocho and Razzano as El Oriental... Evidently if one is oriental (Uruguayan), the other is not. Had both been identified in the same manner they would have been Los Orientales or Los Morochos. Finally, it is simply a logical reasoning that I do to put an end in my mind, with an argument that besides, among other things, seems to me useless.

But if there is a time of reflection and sincerity in the life of a man, this is undoubtedly the time when he writes his will. A will in which the only beneficiary was his mother, Mrs. Berta, and all those he released from their debts whom he did not even mentioned.

But I want to emphasize the fact that Mrs. Berta herself is who has to officially record the holographic will made by his son before a Notary Public, to be able to start the probate proceeding. Even though his mother was his universal heir and for that reason it seems useless to use the will to begin the succession, this was absolutely necessary because all the estate was under Carlos Gardel's name, that was his artistic name and not his true name. For this reason she had to register it with the official notary.

In fact, that document was attested not only by the notary public, but also and fundamentally by his mother, who tacitly acknowledges its veracity.

Finally, the judge of the succession certifies as truthful all the data about his name, filiation, date and place of birth, hence the importance of the document.

Subsequently, Gardel's holographic will is fully transcribed, whose official record was made by the Notary Public Felipe T. Ibáñez on August 21, 1935, whose copy I have before, attested by the Notary Public José Eduardo Burlet, on May 18, 1968.

«This is my will. In this city of Buenos Aires on this seventh day of November 1933, being in full possession of my intellectual faculties I execute this my holographic will, in it disposing of my estate for the time after my death, in the following way: First I am French born in Toulouse, on December 11, 1890 and I am son of Berthe Gardes, —Second— I put on record expressly that my true name and surname are Carlos Romualdo Gardés, but due to my profession as artist, I have taken and always used the surname «Gardel» and with this surname I am known everywhere. Furthermore I put on record that the accounts I have in the Banks, expressly in Banco de la Nación Argentina, as my title deeds and other papers appear invariably with the name and surname I adopted, that is to say Carlos Gardel. —Third— I am single and I do not have natural children. —Fourth— I do not owe any sum and release all that is owed to me. My estate will result of the titles and papers that I have at the time of my death. —Fifth— I appoint my above mentioned mother Berthe Gardes as my sole and universal heir of all my estate and rights. —Sixth— I appoint my friend Armando Defino as my testamentary executor to settle my testate proceedings and advice my mentioned mother during the handling of it- Not having other provisions, I put on record that these presents have been written with my own hand and executed only once, I sign it on the date above mentioned. Carlos Gardel

After the reading of this transcription is hard to think that doubts persist.

If furthermore is added that there are other documents that validate the data written by El Zorzal in his will, such as his birth certificate and some school certificate, it turns out funny the insistence of some researchers in ignoring what Gardel himself states in his handwriting.

The following images are digital reproductions of holographic Gardel's will, attested by the Notary Public José Eduardo Burlet, on May 18, 1968.