Wednesday, April 1, 2009

R.I.P. Awilda Carbia and Miguelángel Suárez

Two legendary Puerto Rican actors have passed away.

Awilda Carbia (January 30, 1938 – March 22, 2009) was an actress, comedian, and impersonator. Her stage and screen resume is extensive but she is best known for her work with the television series "El Show de Chucho," "El Show de las 12" and "En Casa de Juanma y Wiwi." The last aired for 14 years on Puerto Rican television.

On stage, she starred in a new concept series of a one woman comedy act, titled Desconcierto (in the Spanish language, the title is literally the antonym of the word for "concert"). In the Desconcierto series, she impersonated several Puerto Rican celebrities. Desconcierto kept running on stage for 15 consecutive years, in two-month seasons. Other stage credits include Miss Adelaide in Guys and Dolls, Dos mujeres en mi tierra (about Julia de Burgos and Sylvia Rexach and co-starring her daughter Myraida Chávez), Al derecho y al revés, Salvemos los delfines, Cosas de papi y mami, Teatruras de gala, Morisquetas and Nacionalmente correcta. In addition, she was also a radio host.

When the Tapia Theater was reopened in Old San Juan, Puerto Rico, San Juan mayor Jorge Santini dedicated the theater café in her name. She passed away after a bout of pneumonia. Her nephew is the Broadway actor (and HOLA member) Tony Chiroldes.

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Miguelángel Suárez (5 July 1939 - 1 April 2009) had his film debut in the Woody Allen film Bananas. Other credits include Stir Crazy (directed by Sidney Poitier starring Richard Pryor and Gene Wilder), Isabel la Negra (with Miriam Colón and Raúl Juliá), Havana (produced by Sidney Pollack), Illegal Tender and Under Suspicion (with Gene Hackman, Morgan Freeman, and Nydia Caro). His last two film roles were in the Jacobo Morales' film Ángel and the Steven Soderbergh film Che (with Benicio del Toro).

When he was a child, he went with his mother to see a play. He was so impressed with his first experience with the theater, that when the curtains rose and the actors did their show, he knew then that he wanted to become an actor.

His father worked at a supermarket which was located next to the radio station "Radio El Mundo." Manuel Méndez Ballester, a well known playwright, who worked as a writer for the radio station, would frequently visit the supermarket. Suárez's father, soon became friends with Ballester. One day, in 1947, Ballester told the elder Saurez that he was in need of an 8-year-old for the protagonist role in a play that he wrote, because the person he had in mind didn't pass the audition. When the elder Suárez realized that the "part" paid more than what he was making working in the supermarket, he took his son to the audition the next day and that was the beginning of Suárez's acting career.

A gifted actor, writer, producer and director, he had an extensive resume of stage work. His last appearance was a production of two one-acts in which he directed both and appeared in one. The one-act he appeared in was the Edward Albee play The Zoo Story. On TV, his credits included the soap operas Amor gitano, Corazon de diamante, Laura Benson, Vivir para ti and Señora Tentación.

Suárez had been fighting esophageal cancer to which he succumbed after a bout with pneumonia. He leaves behind his wife, actress (and former HOLA member) Amneris Morales, daughter Alondra Suárez and stepdaughter (and former HOLA member) Belange Rodríguez.

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For more information on these actors, look up their respective entries in the Internet Movie Database ( or Wikipedia ( Que descansen en paz.

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