Shirley Gorospe, the glamorous leading lady of Philippine cinema in the 50s and 60s, succumbed on July 9 to brain tumor and lung cancer complication at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles, California. She was 73.
Gorospe, whose father was an Ilocano from Sta. Catalina, Ilocos Sur and whose mother was a Portuguese, grew up in California and was Miss Philippines-California in 1956.
She was actually an American citizen having been born in Hawaii.
As a beauty queen, she came to Manila as part of her prize. It was during this first visit to Manila that she met Zaldy Zshornack with other stars and the producer of Premier Productions, Cirio Santiago.
Gorospe and husband Zaldy Zshornack were the top love teams of Philippine movies in the late 50s and 60s. Gorospe also appeared in movies with the late Fernando Poe Jr.
Shirley and Zaldy’s loveteam appeared in movies produced by Premiere Productions. Their counterpart in other studies were Susan Roces and Eddie Gutierrez, and Romeo Vasquez and Amalia Fuentes of Sampaguita Pictures and Luz Valdez and Robert Campos at LVN Pictures. .
Zshornack, who married Gorospe in 1958, died at the age of 64 in 2002 due to complications from diabetes.
Among her movies with Zshornack were “Sweethearts” and “Shirley, My Darling.”
Gorospe used to stay at the BF Homes Executive Village in Parañaque City before she went back to the US after her husband’s death. When her husband was alive, their home was Ayala Alabang in Muntinlupa City.
Gorospe went back to California after her Manila visit as a beauty queen and worked with Bank of America.
She became a star of Premiere Productions when the outfit shot parts of a movie entitled “Sweethearts” directed by Gerry de Leon in Disneyland.
Gorospe stayed in the movies for 15 years. Her other movies were Be My Love, You’re My Everything, Outside the Kulambo, Tipin, Basta Pinoy, Pitong Gatang, Ang Kanyang Kamahalan and Sa Bawat Patak ng Dugo.
Her last movie was Honey & West with the late Bernard Belleza. Her other leading man was Pancho Magalona. I even did a movie with Gloria Romero; it was called Honeymoon.”