The Sevillian banderillero Manuel Tito de San Bernardo, a teacher among the silver ones, died this Thursday at the San Lázaro hospital in the Andalusian capital as a result of complications from kidney failure, sources close to the family have confirmed. Tito de San Bernardo was 91 years old and considered one of the most important banderilleros of the second half of the 20th century.
Linked to a family of rancid bullfighting ancestry rooted in the bullfighting neighborhood of San Bernardo – his grandfather became a banderillero of El Espartero and slaughterer of the old slaughterhouse – the future subordinate forged his bullfighting vocation in the slaughterhouse of Cerro del Águila. He tried his luck as a bullfighter, and made his lighting debut in the old Plaza de la Merced in Huelva in 1944, but luck did not finish with him.
Disillusioned with the suit of lights, he stayed away from the ring for a while, but returned to the silver ranks where he made a niche among the greats as a result of his professional debut at the hand of the Ordóñez Araújo brothers.
Since then, Tito de San Bernardo did not stop fighting under the command of the leading figures throughout 35 years of profession, in which he appeared in the gangs, among others, of Manolo Vázquez – his partner in the first bullfighting adventures – , El Viti, Diego Puerta, Paco Camino, Paquirri, Niño de la Capea or Dámaso González to add more than two thousand runs between the European and American arenas.
With an overflowing hobby, from the beginning he showed great ease in the face of the bull. Easy in the third of banderillas, he stood out especially with a clairvoyant cape bullfight, until he marked his own style.
He retired from the profession at the Pilar fair in 1985 when he was fighting under the command of the right-handed Salamanca-born Niño de la Capea and, since then, his name became a reference for the younger generations of banderilleros, although he remained linked to the bull as He was taken over by Rafael de Paula in the second half of the 80s of the last century.
In 2003 he was appointed director of the Seville Bullfighting School, since he left in 2014 after championing the formation of the last batch of bullfighters, matadors and subordinates of the Sevillian bullfighting quarry, who paid him a tribute last year at the Venta de Antequera on the occasion of the XXV anniversary of the center.
Manuel Rodríguez González felt very proud that 14 bullfighters had come out of his hand. His figure was unmistakable. A serious and quiet man, a good person, and a great bullfighter by vocation and commitment.