De Alba on De Carlo 

By Entertainer David de Alba*

  When I see the name René de Carlo I immediately think "International Dancing Star".   I visualize beautiful costumes and many lovely wigs that I had the pleasure of styling for him René De Carlo 
 David de Albaduring my run at Finocchio's in San Francisco.   I remember the great transformation that took place in his dressing room.   I also recall with nostalgia that he would affectionately call me "Chula" (pretty girl) or "Tómbola" (one of my signature songs at the Club).   It is with great pleasure that I offer to my Cyberspace audience, a brief insight into this great talent.   As I often announced from the Finocchio Club stage, "I now present to you the International Dancing Star, Mr. René de Carlo!"   (NOTE: To accomodate the artist, the following interview is a literal translation from Spanish to English by David de Alba.)

Juan José with René 
 late 1960's

David:  René dear, where were you born and where did you spend most of your youth?

René:  I was born and raised in Mexico City.

David:  Do you remember your first paid dancing performance?

René:  Yes, it was in "La Legión de Madrugadores" (The Legion of Early Risers) which was a program for teenagers on XEQ Radio.

David:  As a young child were you encouraged by your family to take classic dancing lessons, or was it your own idea?

René:  Actually my family influenced me but it was due to my own enthusiasm when I was 10 years old.

David:  How did you hear about Finocchio's?   Where were you living at the time, and did you have to audition to get the job?

René:  I first heard about Finocchio's when I was performing in Mexicali in a place called "Caliente Tur Club".   I went to San Francisco to negotiate a contract with a night spot called "Sinaloa Club".   I was touring in 1958, and went to see the female impersonator show at Finocchio's.

In 1963, after touring all those years, I returned to the Sinaloa Club where I heard about an opening for an Impersonator at Finocchio's.   They liked my audition and I started in June of 1964 but actually signed my contract in November.   At that time we belonged to the AGVA Union.

The Tarantela Parade of the 
 Wooden Soldiers

David:  Do you keep in your heart any happy or funny memories from your time at Finocchio's that you could share with us?

René:  One funny anecdote I remember is in one of the production numbers, Harem Slave Girls, a comedian by the name of Elton Paris would always step on the hem of my dress.   Maybe he did it to tease me, but it just made me laugh!   I have an infinite number of pleasant anecdotes from my time there.

David:  The beautiful costumes that you wore on stage . . . who designed them for you?

René:  Some were done by Julio Chavés, a famous wardrobe designer of Stars in Mexico.   He designed many outfits for María Victoria, a famous singer in our country.   Some of my other costumes were designed for me in San Francisco.

David:  When your contract was not renewed after so many years working in the same place, was it a great shock for you or were you prepared for it?

René:  Yes, it did feel strange, but it wasn't too hard on me because I was already older and was ready to leave the path open to a younger performer.

David:  What are you doing nowadays and where are you living now?

René:  I am enjoying my retirement because I had worked for many years.   I own a home in Mexico City where I live.   From time to time I put on a show with my friends at private parties just to have fun.

David:  Would you consider making an occasional guest appearance in the wonderful revue that our dear friend and co-worker from Finocchio's, Marlo Adame directs?

Can Can

René:  For sure I would love to participate [in Marlo's revue] and re-live old times, but it would have to be a very special routine, because today's young audience only wants to see youth on the stage.

David:  Do you plan to return to the U.S.A. one of these days to visit family members and friends that are still here?

René:  Yes, I do go quite often to Mayfield, Texas.   That is my place of residence in the U.S.A., where my brother lives.

David:  Do you have a hobby or other interest that occupies your time nowadays?

René:  For sure I could call it a hobby, because I dedicate my free time for fun to visit museums, parks, and other places of interest right here [in Mexico].

René De Carlo 
 as himself

David:  Would you like to write an autobiography as many of our artist friends are doing?

René:  Yes, I would like to, although I don't think I have the ability for it.

David:  If you could re-live a little piece of your long theatrical past that would bring you fond memories, what would that be?

René:  I would love to re-live those moments in which we were together, so many Latin-American co-workers, with whom I spent such marvelous times!

It has been a great pleasure for me to renew communication with you after so many years.   Of all of my Showbiz co-workers you are the one that stands out the most.   I do appreciate that you took your time to interview me (and Marlo Adame).   This shows your dedication and love for Showbiz.   I will remember you and Paul with much love forever.     René

* Cuban/American entertainer David de Alba (also known as "Heri, Hairstylist of the Stars") is known for his live singing impressions as a concert artist since 1965.   He has worked at the world famous Finocchio Club of San Francisco (USA) for many years.   Visit the award winning Web Site "David de Alba’s Theatrical Arts & Tributes" at and you can e-mail him c/o