Luis Valdez (born June 26, 1940) is an American playwright widely regarded as the father of Chicano theater and a film director.
He was born in Delano, California to migrant farm worker parents. Valdez attended high school in San Jose, California and went on to earn a degree in English from San Jose State College in 1964. He attended the college on scholarship. While in college, Valdez's first full-length play, The Shrunken Head of Pancho Villa, debuted at San Jose State College in 1963.
After graduation, Valdez spent the next few months with the San Francisco Mime Troupe, where he was introduced to agitprop theatre. In 1965, Valdez returned to Delano, where he formed El Teatro Campesino, a farm workers' theater troupe.