MEET MY FOLKS
My father was a Cuban singer;
my mother was a red-headed actress;
and, no, my name is not ‘Little Ricky Ricardo’.
I invite you to read about these amazing pioneers of Puerto Rican television who happen to be my folks.
VILMA CARBIA (1930-2000)
• The first-ever face to appear in color on Puerto Rican television, Vilma Carbia was a pioneering actress and MC in her country.
• With her then-husband Tony Chiroldes, Vilma appeared in the highly-rated variety shows Rambler Rendezvous, sponsored by the automaker Rambler; Rendezvous Nocturno; and Mediodía Circular, a live noontime game show.
• Vilma and Tony Sr. had two daughters -- Vilmarie and Glorimar -- and one son -- Tony (that's me!).
• Vilma performed in numerous advertising campaigns as well as radio programs with veteran producer/actor Tommy Muñiz.
• She also acted on two films: LIBERTAD PARA LA JUVENTUD with Arturo Correa, Chucho Avellanet and Rosa Haydeé and TRESPATINES EN ACCION with her second husband, the renowned Cuban comedian, Leopoldo Fernández (Pototo/ Trespatines).
•Vilma Carbia passed away in April of 2000 after a long battle with Alzheimer’s Disease.
TONY CHIROLDES, aka CHIROLDY (1919-1992)
• This Cuban singer met and married a (then) red-headed Puerto Rican actress, Vilma Carbia, in 1951.
• Chiroldes left his native Cuba in the late 1940s to pursue new horizons as a singer. He had recorded Pedro Junco’s renowned ‘bolero’ titled “Nosotros” among other hits like “La Bella Cubana” and “Recuerdos de Ipacaraí.”
• In the mid-1950s, Tony joined the many pioneers who were exploring a burgeoning, new industry named 'television'.
• During the next decades, Chiroldes showcased a myriad of international and boricua performers on programs and specials which – given their excellence – would leave a lasting mark in the television history of this tiny Caribbean island.
• Empresas Chiroldes (Chiroldes Enterprises) booked the likes of Benny Moré, Celia Cruz, La Lupe, Roberto Yanés, Rocío Dúrcal, Machito & His Afrocubans, Tongolele, Miguel Aceves Mejía, Joe Cuba & his Sextet; plus the orchestras of Tito Puente; Eddie Palmieri; Ray Barretto; and Mongo Santamaría.
• 1956 saw the birth of Rendezvous Nocturno, a nighttime variety show that -- in its many variations and change of titles -- would run until the mid-1970s. In it, Vilma Carbia and Carlos Rubén Ortiz presented a cavalcade of stars.
• In 1975, Chiroldes and Carbia divorced, ending too a professional relationship that lasted 23 years. Dad retired from TV and became a booking agent for private, corporate, and public presentations.
• Tony Chiroldes Sr. passed away on October of 1992.