The Lebanese Diaspora in Mexico dates back decades and is credited as one of the most successful and affluent diasporas the country currently hosts. Like many Lebanese immigrants before him, and many after him, Gaspar Henaine Pérez, more commonly known by his pseudonym Capulina, was a Mexican-Lebanese comedian, actor, singer, film producer, and screenwriter known for his talent and overall performing abilities.
Capulina was born in Chignahuapan, Puebla, son of Lebanese businessman Antonio Henaine Helú and Concepción Pérez de León. He and his family later moved to Mexico City. At the age of 10, he made his acting debut with a small parts in local films, and went on to study acting. His local fame skyrocketted at an early age when he was awarded the “best dramatic child actor” award bestowed by the academy he attended.
In parallel to his acting career, he started his musical career as one of the vocalists of the quartet Los Excéntricos del Ritmo. Later, in 1946, he joined the trio Los Trincas, which was hugely successful and toured Mexico and even made it to some cities of the United States.
Capulina became famous across Latin America alongside his longtime professional partner Marco Antonio Campos. They were known professionally as Viruta and Capulina. In 1951, they began officially filming together. The two comedians would go on to make twenty-six films together.
In the peak of their popularity, they had a television program called Cómicos y Canciones, where they alternated with other comedians and singers. Some of their sketches were written by then-unknown Roberto Gomez Bolaños, who later gained legendary fame as comedian Chespirito.
Capulina would go on to complete 84 films, 58 of which after separating from Viruta, and would also record 12 music albums in the process. The character of Capulina garnered popularity never attained by any before in Mexico and was even turned into a highly successful comic book series, with stories by comic artist Oscar González Guerrero and art by his son Oscar Gonzalez Loyo. The comic book ran between the 1970s and 1980s.
In 1989, Capulina made his last film Mi Compadre Capulina and also filmed a television series, Las Aventuras de Capulina, in the same year. He was later given the nickname “El Rey del Humorismo Blanco” (The King of White Humor), mostly attributed to his ability to successfully maintain his clean and innocent style of comedy throughout his career. Henaine died not too long ago, of complications with pneumonia and a gastric ulcer in September 2011.
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