Sunday, March 22, 2009

Awilda Carbia 1938-2009

The Dame of Puertorrican comedy, Awilda Carbia, passed away today. She was 71.

Awilda started her acting career as a 7-year-old child, without ever suspecting that later in her acting career, 1970s, she would portray a children's television show host that was called: Estrella Galaxia, (Galaxy Star), broadcast by WAPA-TV. Later, she abandoned the show, and her daughter, Puerto Rican television host, Mirayda Chávez, took over, and characterized "Estrellita Galaxia", (Little Galaxy Star).

During the 1960s, Carbia, performed as a comedian in several television shows, such as: Rendezvous Nocturno, produced by the late Cuban television producer: Tony Chiroldes, and El Show del Mediodía, (The Mid-day Show), produced by the Puerto Rican producer, Tommy Muñiz. Later, she became part of the cast of television sitcoms in WAPA-TV in Puerto Rico, such as: Ja, ja, ji, ji, jo, jo, (Ha, ha, he, he, ho, ho), with the late Puerto Rican comedian José Miguel Agrelot, "Don Cholito", to whom the new Puerto Rican Coliseum, in Hato Rey, has recently been named after him.

In 1971, making a short turnabout in her career as a comedian, Carbia became the leading lady of the telenovela broadcast by WAPA-TV El Silencio Nos Condena, (Silence Condemns Us), opposite Cuban leading man Eliseo Pereira. As the 1970s came about, there was an actors' strike in WAPA-TV, and the whole cast of comedians of Tommy Muñiz Productions, to which Awilda used to belong, created a new company, called "ASTRA". Together, they produced a different television comedy series called Ahí Va Eso, (There it Goes), this time telecast by Rikavision, channel 7, then WRIK-TV.
Later, Awilda, moved to Telemundo, and became the leading lady of her own television show inside the legendary music and comedy series that aired for 40 consecutive years, El Show de las 12, (The 12 o'clock show). She was also featured in two comedy series: La Encubierta Descubierta, (The Discovered Cover Up) and Awilda lo Divierte, (Awilda Entertains You), as well as being a member of the comedy cast for El Show de Chucho, (Chucho's Show). The latter was the #1 television show for many years.
Later, when Chucho Avellanet abandoned the show, Awilda Carbia, alongside Otilio Warrington, (Bizcocho) and Juan Manuel Lebrón, took over the show, and from being the stars of the comedy cast, they became the stars of the show, then called Estudio Alegre, (Cheerful Studio) and later, Musicomedia, (Musicomedy). She also starred, opposite Juan Manuel Lebrón, Benito Mateo and Rosita Velázquez in the hit Sunday prime-time TV sitcom, En Casa de Juanma y Wiwi (At Juanma and Wiwi's House). She also starred in the celebrated Puerto Rican Spanish-language production of the musical comedy Gentlemen Prefer Blondes, titled 40 Kilates (40 Karats).
Awilda Carbia, starred in a new concept series of a one woman comedy act, titled Desconcierto. (Desconcierto, in the Spanish language is literally the antonym of the word: "Concert"). She impersonated Puerto Rican celebrities such as Myrta Silva, Carmita Jiménez, Lucecita Benítez, Yolandita Monge, & Nydia Caro, among many others. Carbia's series of "Desconciertos", made their debut at the Tapia Theater in San Juan, and were performed in various theaters and night clubs of Puerto Rico such as: Caribe Hilton Hotel, the Centro de Bellas Artes Luis A. Ferré in Santurce and, most notably, 105 performances at the legendary Tapia Theater in Old San Juan. Desconcierto kept running on stage for 15 consecutive years, in two-month seasons.
Then, in the late 1980s, Awilda Carbia, signed an exclusivity contract with WQII-TV, TeleOnce, and she produced her own weekly comedy series: Soy Awilda, (I'm Awilda). It aired for three consecutive years.
Later, Carbia, accepted an offer from the late actress and producer: Lucy Boscana, to perform opposite her, in a dramatic television mini-series, in a leading role. It was filmed between Argentina & Puerto Rico, and it's titled: Cita en Buenos Aires, (A Date in Buenos Aires).

On-Stage, she's performed the leading lady in many "Zarzuelas' (Spanish operettas), comedies and musicals. She starred as Miss Adelaide in the 1991 Puerto Rican revival of Guys & Dolls, opposite Ivan Rodríguez as Nathan Detroit, Osvaldo Ríos as Sky Masterson, and Cristina Arzuaga as Sarah Brown. The English-language production played at the Luis A. Ferré Performing Arts Center in San Juan. Carbia also joined her daughter Myraida Chavez in an original theater production staged throughout various locations around the island called, Dos Mujeres de mi Tierra {Two Women of my Land), acknowledging the poetry of Julia de Burgos, and the music of Sylvia Rexach.
In 1998, she performed the multiple leading roles of the Puerto Rican comedy play Lo Mejor está por Venir, (The Best is yet to Come) where she portrayed three different women characters.
Al derecho y al revés, (Upright and the other way round), Salvemos los delfines, (Save the dolphins), Cosas de papi y mami, (Daddy & Mommy's things), Teatruras de gala, (Gala Ball of theater belongings), Morisquetas, (Grimaces) & Nacionalmente correcta (Nationally correct) were among the theater productions Carbia performed as the leading lady.
In 1999, she returned to television, through Telemundo, Channel 2, starring in a new sit-com called Los Seijo Díaz, (The Seijo Diaz family), again opposite Juan Manuel Lebrón. It aired through 2003.

In 2005, she performed one of the leading roles, in the Puerto Rican film El Sueño del Regreso, (The Dream of a Come Back) produced and directed by the Puerto Rican film director Luis Molina Casanova. Also, she performed on stage, as a serious actress, portraying Helen Keller, in a drama stage production at the Raúl Juliá Theater, in Santurce.
Then, in 2007, she starred in the Puerto Rican musical Fuego a la Lata, (Fire Blast) at the Angel O. Berríos Performing Arts Center in Caguas, Puerto Rico.
Carbia served in her last days as the guest comedy star of the daily television talk show Contigo, (With you) broadcast by Tu Universo Television, WIPR-TV, channel 6, where the leading host is her daughter "Myraida Chavez". In addition to her guest appearances, she hosted her own daily talk show on radio station 940-AM.
On October 28, 2008 she was honored by San Juan, Puerto Rico Mayor Jorge Santini during the gala held to reopen the Tapia Theater in Old San Juan, which included a star-studded concert with Danny Rivera, Chucho Avellanet, Andy Montañez and Jackie Capó, the daughter of Bobby Capó. Carbia, who was ill, was accompanied by all her children, as well as other celebrities, such as astrologer Walter Mercado[1]. The next day, Santini honored her by dedicating the "Awilda Carbia Theater Café".

She passed away from Pneumonia at Ashford Presbyterian Hospital this afternoon.

She was a good friend to my family and I used to date Myraida in college. This is really a sad loss.

Here are some videos of her comedy routines.

Farewell, Doña Awilda. You will be missed!

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