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Carlos Gardel biography

Gardel was born to unmarried 25-year-old laundress Berthe Gardès, the baby registered under the
name Charles Romuald Gardès in Toulouse, France, on 11 December 1890.[1] The father of the
baby boy was listed on his birth certificate as "unknown", but 11 days later Berthe Gardès signed a
statement establishing the baby's father as Paul Laserre, a married man who left Toulouse a few
months before the baby was born.[2] Berthe Gardès also left Toulouse, a little over a year later,
likely to escape the social stigma of having a child born out of wedlock. In early 1893 in Bordeaux,
France, mother and son boarded the ship SS Don Pedro and sailed to Buenos Aires, arriving on 11
March 1893. Berthe Gardès had her passport recorded upon arrival; she told immigration authorities
that she was a widow. The two-year-old boy was recorded as Charles Gardès.[2]

Gardel's mother settled at the western edge of the central San Nicolás district of Buenos Aires, at
Calle Uruguay 162. She worked two blocks away on Calle Montevideo, pressing clothes in the
French style, which commanded a relatively high price in the fashion-conscious city.[3] Gardel grew
up speaking Spanish, not French, with friends and family calling him Carlos, the Spanish version of
his French name, and often by the familiar diminutive form Carlitos.[4]

Some time after 1918, Laserre traveled from France to Buenos Aires to ask Berthe Gardès, now
called Doña Berta, whether she would like to legitimize her son by marrying Laserre. This would
have disrupted her story about being a widow. Gardel told his mother that if she did not need this
man in her life, neither did he, closing the matter with "I don't even wish to see him."[5]