Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Curtains down for Dolphy at 83


The Comedy King is dead.

Dolphy, or Rodolfo Quizon Sr., passed away Tuesday at 8:34 p.m., at the Makati Medical Center (MMC), thus ending one of the longest and most colorful lives and careers in Philippine show business history. He was 83 and about to turn 84 on July 25.

Eric Quizon, one of Dolphy's sons, gave the following statement to the news media at the MMC at about midnight:

"He lived a full life. He's at rest. He's at peace. He knew as he was going how much the country loved him. He knew how everyone was praying for him. And if he could, he would have stayed just so he could thank you personally. But where his spirit was strong, his body had so weakened. He had to go.

"Pray for his eternal repose and in his honor, please smile at the person standing next to you. Heaven is a happier place with him there. And for us whom he's left behind, comedy is dead but long live comedy," Eric added.

Dolphy receives from President Benigno Aquino III the Grand Collar of the Order of the Golden Heart, awarded to him at MalacaƱang in 2010. Ryan Lim
Dolphy starred in over 200 movies, including several reprising his lovable lead character in John en Marsha, a popular, long-running television show.

He is survived by 18 children by six different women.

Confusing tweets

After a flurry of confusing tweets Tuesday evening, his death was finally confirmed by a close family member, according to GMA News' State of the Nation.

The Makati Medical Center, in a statement issued to the news media gathered outside the hospital, said that Dolphy succumbed to "multiple organ failure secondary to complications brought about by severe pneumonia, chronic cbstructive pulmonary disease, and acute renal failure."

Dolphy was rushed to the Intensive Care Unit on Saturday, June 9, after complaining of difficulty in breathing. His potassium level had also dropped.

The Philippines' Comedy King underwent several dialysis treatments while in the hospital. He also had at least two bouts of pneumonia, with the last one occurring only recently.

Because of his age, Dolphy’s immune system had weakened.

A vaudeville beginning

Before entering the movies, Dolphy first made a name for himself during the World War II years as a vaudeville dancer along with the late Bayani Casimiro.

After the war, he got a job as a dancer and errand boy in Hong Kong as an early OFW.

From dancing, Dolphy got his break as an actor when he landed the role of a Chinese court witness in a theater play.

Dolphy’s antics in the play were a big hit and he became known as “Golay” – his first screen name.

In 1948, Dolphy was billed as Rodolfo Quizon in the movie “Dugo ng Bayan” (Nation’s Blood). He made a “guest appearance” in the movie which starred Fernando Poe Sr.

Dolphy’s big movie break came when Pancho Magalona brought him over to Sampaguita Pictures for the 1953 movie “Isang Sulyap Mo Tita” (A Single Glimps of you Tita).

In this movie, the name “Golay” was discarded for “Dolphy” which became a household name to this day.

From Tondo

Dolphy was born in Tondo, Manila on July 25, 1928. He was the eldest of 10 children: Corazon, Josefina (Josie), Melencio Jr. "Junior," Laura, Aurora (Auring), Jorge (Georgie), Jaime (Jimmy), Teresita and Jaime.

His father was Melencio Espinosa-Quizon, a ship mechanic, and his mother was Salud Vera Quizon.

The “puruntong shorts” (shorts with comically long pant-legs) were made famous by Dolphy’s character, John Puruntong, in the hit TV sitcom “John en Marsha.”

Dolphy (with Casimiro) worked as a dancer in Hong Kong and Japan, signing six-month contracts for the jobs. Dolphy saw himself as one of the first overseas Filipino workers.

Dolphy had 18 children by six different women: Six children with Grace Dominguez, four with Gloria Smith, four with Baby Smith, one with Vangie Tagulao, one with Alma Moreno, and two – of which one was adopted – with Zsa Zsa Padilla. Several of his children entered show business themselves, including actor-director Eric Quizon who was the most visible child in the last several weeks as the family spokesperson on Dolphy's condition.

Dolphy never married any of the women he was with, which he said was one of his life’s frustrations.

Dolphy and Zsa Zsa had planned to marry, but the plan fell through as Zsa Zsa’s annulment proceedings with her first husband were taking too long.

Dolphy had many loves but never married.

The producer

It was in the 1960’s when Dolphy established his production company, RVQ Productions. Its first project was a film adaptation of the hit TV sitcom “Buhay Artista” (An Actor’s Life).

Dolphy’s last movie was entered in the 2010 Metro Manila Film Festival, “Father Jejemon.” He had a “special appearance” in “Rosario,” another 2010 MMFF entry.

On his 80th birthday in 2008, his biography “Dolphy, Hindi Ko Ito Narating Mag-isa” (Dolphy, I Didn’t Get Here On My Own) was launched. Proceeds from the book were given to a foundation that assists OFWs.

In 2008 Dolphy and Vic Sotto, known as the Comedy Prince, did a movie together called “Dobol Trobol.”

Dolphy is also famous for playing gay characters in movies like “Facifica Falayfay” (1969), “Fefita Fofongay, Sarhento Fofongay” (1973), “A... Ewan” (Oh…I Don’t Know) (1974), “Ang Tatay Kong Nanay” (My Dad The Mom) (1978), and “Markova: Comfort Gay” (2001).

Dolphy received his FAMAS Best Actor award in 1978 for his role in the movie “Omeng Satanasia,” which was produced by RVQ Productions.

For their roles in “Markova: Comfort Gay”, Dolphy and his children Eric and Jeffrey Quizon received the Prix de la Meilleure Interpretation award – the equivalent of a Best Actor Award – in Brussels, Belgium.

Controversy over National Artist debate

In the weeks before his death, there was intense lobbying by influential supporters for Dolphy to be conferred the title of National Artist, usually the result of an arduous government-sponsored process by a committee of experts.

Controversy ensued after National Artist for Theater Cecile Guidote-Alvarez revealed that a previous effort in 2009 to honor Dolphy with the title was blocked by Nicanor Tiongson, former president of the Cultural Center of the Philippines.

Tiongson struck back in a letter to the editor in the Philippine Daily Inquirer on Monday, denouncing Alvarez for violating the confidentiality of the deliberations and denying that he was a decisive factor. But he acknowledged that he had opposed the recognition for Dolphy.

“I believed that the two icons he created for film and TV – the screaming gay and the happy-go-lucky poor man – have, in the majority of his movies, equated gayness with abnormality and mindless frivolity on the one hand, and romanticized or deodorized poverty on the other,” Tiongson, a respected cultural scholar, said in his letter.

For millions of others, Dolphy was simply a man who made them laugh and made many a heavy day so much lighter.

In 2010, President Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III awarded Dolphy the Grand Collar of the Order of the Golden Heart – the highest civilian award that a President can give – for his contributions to the entertainment industry and for his humanitarian efforts. — with Agence France Presse/Fidel Jimenez and Amanda Fernandez/Amanda Lago/KG/DVM/VS/ELR/HS, GMA News


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