Manolo Villaverde played the role of Abuelo on Gullah Gullah Island and a lead role in the television show, “Que Pasa, U.S.A.?” His character was named Pepe. At the time, “Que Pasa, U.S.A.?” was the only bilingual television show on TV. The show took place in Little Havana, a neighborhood located in Miami, Florida. The show followed the Pena family and their experience with the Cuban American experience. This was a three generation family living under one roof (Jory). There was a certain identity crisis within the family as they dealt with how to bring two cultures together. The elders maintained a pull towards their Cuban roots. They wanted to portray their cultural values and traditions. The entire show was bilingual, Spanish was spoken at home while English was always spoken at the schools and supermarkets. The immersion into both languages created the common “Spanglish.” This is often heard in Cuban-American neighborhood. “Que Pasa, USA?” was considered a hilarious and heartwarming series, showing a realistic depiction of bringing a culture into the established American culture. The television show was created jointly by Miami’s WBPT, and Community Action and Research Inc. The studio intended to create a show that deconstructed some assumptions and stereotypes that were in place in society. The scripts were carefully balanced with English in Spanish, in order to make it understandable to both communities who spoke only one of the two languages. Because there are two languages being used, the actors had to heavily rely on expression. The cast, Villaverde included, worked hard to not “over-act.” Manolo Villaverde and the other cast members were chosen for the show specifically because of their vast experience in theater in both Cuba and America.'
Manolo Villaverde became an Emmy Award winner due to his performance in this television show. The 1978 Second Annual regional Emmy Awards were boycotted by one and a half of Miami’s television stations. However, the award show still went on as planned. “Que Pasa, U.S.A.?” was one of the night’s big winners. This year’s Emmys put an emphasis on individual achievement, rather than stations as a whole. Behind the scenes, “Que Pasa, U.S.A.?” won awards in the programming category. Manolo Villaverde was one of the cast member winners, as well as Ana Martinez, Margarita Casado, and Luis Oquendo. In addition, Bernard Lechowick won an Emmy for directing, and Luis Santeiro won an Emmy for writing. Channel 2’s Jose Bahamonde, a producer, also won an Emmy for the show.
Other Television Experience Edit
Villaverde played the character “Rafael” in “Amores y Amorios” on August 7, 1966. On this Sunday, Reddy Kilowatt presented this show at 8:00pm at Teatro Dominical de Gala in San Juan, Costa Rica. This was a comedy created by the Alvarez Quintero brothers, sponsored by Radio Monumental. Fellow cast members included Minin Bujones, Alberto Gonzalez Rubio, and Herminia de la Fuente. Villaverde also played “Abuelo” in the show called, “Gullah Gullah Island.” This was a children’s show on television, on Nickelodeon. This show was one of the 10 best children’s shows by TB guide. In 1998 the show was nominated for a daytime Emmy. The show was nominated twice for the NAACP Image Award, and two Parents’ Choice Awards
Personal Life Edit
According an “Actor Update” section from 2008 written on the Facebook page dedicated to “Que Pasa, U.S.A?,” Villaverde is currently a resident in South Florida. He spent time working on an historical novel about classical music composers. As hobbies, Villaverde enjoyed painting, keeping a vast book and film collection, and traveling