By JO ERLINDA G. NEBRES
MANILA – Filipino movie, stage and television icon Dolphy is dead. He passed away at the Makati Medical Center at 8:40 p.m. on July 10, 15 days before he was to turn 84.
His colleagues in the showbusiness industry, the country’s leaders and his legions of fans expressed sadness over his passing away after more than a month battling for his life at the intensive care unit of the hospital.
Dolphy was a pillar of the Philippine showbusiness industry having been in over 300 movies and television shows in over 60 years. With a career that spanned the stage, the movies and television, Dolphy left behind a legacy of professionalism, dedication and love for his craft.
President Benigno Aquino III mourned for the comedy king as he extended his condolences and paid tribute to Dolphy as the embodiment of hope amid trials.
The President said that Dolphy was a good man. “Mabuting tao si Dolphy, at kinatawan niya ang karaniwang Pilipino: malalim magmahal, masayahin, may respeto sa kapwa, at handang harapin ang mga hamon ng tadhana. Nagmula siya sa isang henerasyong dumaan sa maraming pagsubok—at sa pakikipagsapalaran ay natutong maging mapagpakumbaba, matapat, at matulungin. Hindi kailanman niya tinalikuran ang mga kaibigan, at ang sambayanang naging bukal ng kanyang mga tagumpay. “
The President added: “Sa loob ng mahabang panahon, ipinakita sa atin ni Dolphy na anumang pagsubok ay may katuwang na pag-asa at ligaya; mulat siyang anumang problema ay mapangingibabawan ng positibong pagtanaw sa kapalaran. [For a long time, Dolphy showed us that we can surpass trials. He was aware of hardships but taught all of us to always look at the brighter side.”
Aquino said in a statement released by Malacanang that Dolphy changed not only the movie industry.
“Binago niya hindi lamang ang kaniyang industriya, kundi maging ang pambansang kamalayan: sa pamamagitan ng kaniyang sining, pinalawak ni Dolphy ang ating pananaw, at binigyan tayo ng kakayahang suriin, pahalagahan, at hanapan ng ngiti ang mga pang-araw-araw na pangyayari sa buhay ng bawat Pilipino,” Aquino said.
The President added that the good-hearted Dolphy symbolized a typical Filipino: joyful, one who loves well, who knows how to respect others, and knows how to face trials.
“Nagmula siya sa isang henerasyong dumaan sa maraming pagsubok—at sa pakikipagsapalaran ay natutong maging mapagpakumbaba, matapat, at matulungin. Hindi kailanman niya tinalikuran ang mga kaibigan, at ang sambayanang naging bukal ng kanyang mga tagumpay,” he added.
“Nakikiisa ako at ang aking pamilya, sampu ng ating mga kasamahan sa gobyerno, sa pagluluksa ng Pamilya Quizon ngayong gabi. Ang pagpanaw ni Rodolfo Quizon Sr.—ang nag-iisang Hari ng Komedya—ay tiyak na nagdudulot ng lumbay sa isang bansang matagal niyang pinasaya,” the President said.
Senate President Protempore Jose “Jinggoy” Estrada, who is also an actor, expressed sadness over the death of Dolphy. His father, former President Joseph Estrada, earlier visited the comedy king at the hospital.
Estrada, along with Senator Manuel Villar Jr. and other Congress leaders, had earlier batted for the conferment of National Artist Award to Dolphy.
Dolphy, like the elder Estrada, was born in Tondo, Manila.
President Aquinoissued Thursday Proclamation 433 declaring July 13, 2012 a National Day of Remembrance to honor the memory of the late Rodolfo Vera Quizon, Sr. or Dolphy.
Deputy presidential spokeswoman Abigail Valte said the President, in signing Proclamation 433, recognizes how the country “deeply feels the passing of Dolphy.”
Aquino awarded Dolphy the Order of the Golden Heart rank of Grand Collar in November 2010. The only other recipient of the award was Helen Keller.
“The President issued the proclamation in recognition of how the nation deeply feels the passing of Dolphy. In the proclamation, the President cited Dolphy as a man who will live on in Philippine cultural history—and in the hearts of many of his countrymen,” Valte said.
In the proclamation, the President cited Dolphy as a man who will live on in Philippine cultural history, and in the hearts of many of his countrymen.
“President Aquino in his proclamation said that every milestone that Dolphy marked in a career that spanned decades, raised the standards of the entertainment industry, and strengthened our cultural identity, giving innumerable aspirants an example to look up to,” Valte said.
The President cited Dolphy as a philanthropist, whose encouragement of charitable causes was driven by a deep-rooted genuine generosity.
The President said in the proclamation that it is appropriate to mark the memory of Quizon’s contributions to Philippine culture, arts, and entertainment even as the country grieves the loss of the cultural icon.
On the Day of National Remembrance, the President asked all Filipinos to reflect on the art and artistry, the personal kindness and generosity, and deep patriotism of Quizon, and the manner he exemplified in his works the positive values of the Filipino people, Valte said
The proclamation recognized Dolphy’s contributions to Philippine culture, arts, and entertainment. It said that Filipinos should never forget how he made generations of Filipinos laugh.
It was the wish of the late comedian to be remembered not with sadness but with the same warmth and joy that he has brought to the lives of millions throughout his career.
Aquino paid his respects to Dolphy Thursday afternoon after attending an event at the Mall of Asia complex in Pasay City.
The President arrived at the Heritage Memorial Park in Taguig City around 5:30 p.m. and was met by Dolphy’s partner Zsa Zsa Padilla and his son Epi Quizon.
Meanwhile, the National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA), in a statement posted on its Facebook page, said Dolphy is “a true gem of the film and television industry” but, like other nominees, he must pass through the screening process.
“While the NCCA recognizes the clamor for the conferment of the National Artist Award to him, the policy stands that any nominee should go through the process of selection, which we have earlier explained to the public,” the NCCA said.
The NCCA clarified that the nomination process for the upcoming batch of awardees has not begun but Dolphy is automatically nominated because he was one of the nominees in 2009.
Dolphy failed to pass the second level of screening for the 2009 batch of national artists.
Nominations for the Order of National Artists may be submitted by government and non-government cultural organizations and educational institutions, as well as private foundations and councils.
If he hurdles the vetting process, Dolphy will join the King of Philippine movies Fernando Poe Jr. (Ronald Allan K. Poe), Lino Brocka, Ishmael Bernal, Gerardo de Leon, and Eddie S. Romero among the national artists for cinema.
Former first lady and now Ilocos Norte Rep. Imelda Marcos, Sen. Manuel “Lito” Lapid and former Quezon City Councilor Anthony Castelo were among the first to visit Dolphy at the Heritage Park when public viewing was allowed.
Bulacan Gov. Wilhelmino Sy-Alvarado and actor Bembol Roco arrived in the afternoon.
Alvarado said Bulacan has passed a resolution showing that the province was one with the nation in mourning the death of Dolphy who spent his youth in Wawa in Balagtas, Bulacan.
Dolphy, whose real name is Rodolfo Vera Quizon, succumbed to multiple organ failure brought about by severe pneumonia, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and acute renal failure,” according to Dr.Jake Marte of the Makati Medical Center.
The remains Dolphy was brought to his house at the Marina Bay in Paranaque City accompanied by long-time partner Zsa Zsa Padilla and Dolphy’s children and then at the Dolphy theatre of the ABS-CBN where a tribute was held.
From the network, his body was brought to the Heritage Park in Taguig City where it was opened for public viewing from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Dolphy was laid in bronze casket wearing his favorite white ensemble with white suit, polo, pants, tie and shoes.
Doctors at the MMC where the actor was confined for a month said Dolphy died due to multiple organ failure, secondary to complications brought about by severe pneumonia, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and acute renal failure.
He was diagnosed with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease in 2009.
Aside from Zsa Zsa, Dolphy is survived by his 18 children, prominent of whom are actors Eric Quizon, Rolly Quizon and Vandolph. Many of his children flew from the United States to be at his side while in the hospital.
Dolphy’s chiildren are Manny (Manny Boy), Salud (Sahlee), Rodolfo Jr. (Dolphy Jr.), Freddie (Baby), Edgar, and Raul (Rolly) with Engracia (Gracia) Dominguez; Mariquita (Kaye), Carlos, Geraldino (Dino), and Edwin with Gloria Smith; Ronaldo (Ronnie), Enrico (Eric), Madonna (Dana), and Jeffrey (Epi) with Pamela Ponti; Rommel with Evangeline Tugalao; Vandolph with Alma Moreno; and Nicole and Zia with Zsazsa Padilla.
His funeral interment will take place on Sunday. The family did not specify the time and place as of press time.
Dolphy starred in more than 200 films in his 66-year career, starting with a 1946 movie at 19 years old with Fernando Poe Sr., “Dugo at Bayan 1 (I Remember Bataan).”
Dolphy received the Grand Collar of the Order of the Golden Heart awarded to him by President Benigno Aquino III in 2010.
Dolphy’s wish to “go home” after over a month of critical care at a hospital was granted three times when he passed away on Tuesday evening, his son Eric Quizon said.
Quizon on Wednesday thanked ABS-CBN that served as his father’s second home for over 40 years.
During ABS-CBN’s tribute to the film icon held at the Dolphy Theater, Quizon recounted his father’s first days with the Kapamilya network, when then chairman emeritus Eugenio Lopez, Jr. “sought” the veteran actor.
“I’d like to thank ABS-CBN for the tribute and to all the way back when Mr. Eugenio Lopez, Jr. first sought my dad, a moment remembered in his book, with this line –
‘Magaling na kausap si Geny, nagkamay kami. Kung anong sinabi niya sa una naming usapan, pinangatawanan niya ‘yun. Wala siyang ‘kasi-kasi, akala ko.’ Kinuha niya ako for the radio and television,’” Quizon said, lifting an excerpt from Dolphy’s biographical book written by screenwriter Bibeth Orteza.
Dolphy’s conversation with Lopez, this time in 1992, would lead to his television comeback, the film icon’s long-time partner singer Zsa Zsa Padilla recounted in a separate speech at the tribute.
“Salamat sa ABS-CBN na sumugal kay Dolphy nung 1992, para makabalik siya sa pinakamamahal niyang telebisyon. Maraming salamat, ABS-CBN, for taking care of his legacy, preserving his body of works for generations of Filipinos to enjoy in perpetuity,” Padilla said.
“I know that this service will make Dolphy so happy dahil mula pa sa panahon ni Kapitan Geny Lopez, si Dolphy sa buhay, kamatayan at sa langit ay isang tunay na Kapamilya,” she added.
Dolphy’s decades-long stay with ABS-CBN has made the network his second home, Quizon said.
When the veteran actor would mouth his wish to go home as he remained confined in an intensive care unit, Quizon said his family knew the wish would be granted three-fold.
“My dad kept on saying, ‘Uwi na ako.’ That was the phrase he kept on saying sa aming lahat, ‘uwi na ako.’ His wish was granted.
“Today, we brought him home to Marina (their private residence), and then we brought him here to his family, his Kapamilya, and now he’s home with his Creator,” he said.
Fans and supporters flocked to the MMC, ABS-CBN and then at the Heritage Park when they learned that the Comedy King’s remains would be brought there.
Several Catholic prelates have offered prayers for the eternal repose of the soul of Philippine cinema’s Comedy King, Dolphy, who succumbed to multiple organ failure Tuesday night at the age of 83.
Sorsogon Bishop Arturo Bastes said many members of the clergy were saddened on the death of Dolphy, Rodolfo Vera Quizon Sr. in real life.
“We pray that the Lord will bring him soon to his kingdom,” Bastes said.
He also prayed for the Lord to appoint Dolphy as His court jester to make Heaven a merrier state.
For his part, Lipa Archbishop Ramon Arguelles said may the late actor find true happiness “in God’s house, our home.”
“Eternal rest grant unto Dolphy, oh Lord, and let perpetual light shine upon him, may he rest in peace. Amen,” Arguelles said.
Cubao Bishop Honesto Ongtioco said that Dolphy has lived a meaningful life and his death remind people that there is an end to one’s mortal existence.
“It is important that we discover and develop the talents the Lord has given us for the service of others and to thank the giver of blessings and talents,” Ongtioco said.
Archbishop of Iloilo Angel Lagdameo thanked God for the gift of Dolphy, whom he called a classic entertainer.
“Dolphy, who served the country with his more than 200 films making all kinds of viewers cry and laugh through their shared experiences in life. May he rest in peace,” Lagdameo said.
Senators have joined the nation in mourning the death of the Philippines’ King of Comedy, Dolphy, an inspiration to many whose demise is a big loss to the nation specially in the entertainment industry.
Senator Loren Legarda remembers Dolphy as the man who redefined Filipino comedy.
“He was the actor who catered to all and he was the best at finding humor in even the simplest of situations. Of course he was talented, but it was his genuinely unique outlook and ability to empathize that set him apart and allowed him to redefine the industry,” she said.
Senator Manny Villar said his entire family is expressing deep sympathy to the family of Dolphy who endorsed Villar’s failed presidential bid in the 2010 elections.
”We will never forget Dolphy. His talent and compassion for those who have less in life will always make a Filipino proud. My family will forever be indebted to Dolphy for his friendship and for bringing laughter to our lives. He will always be our idol,” Villar said.
Villar’s wife former Las Pinas congresswoman Cynthia Villar said the death of Dolphy is a big loss to the entertainment industry “because of his unique way of making the people laugh.”
”We will all surely miss him. We want to thank him for the joy and laughter that we will treasure forever,” Cynthia said.
Senator Ferdinand ‘Bongbong’ Marcos got to know Dolphy personally in the 2010 election campaign but vividly and fondly remembers the late comedian through one of his popular television shows.
“In millions of other homes, from when I was a young boy, he came into our living-room through the tube and almost magically, all other activity in the household came to a standstill for the duration of “Buhay Artista” and would resume normal activity only when the show had ended,” he said.
”It guaranteed I would have finished my school homework early on that day. And as I grew older and had gotten to meet him and know him, he always managed to bring an instant grin to my face the minute I saw him, whether in or out of the tube,” Marcos said.
Marcos said Dolphy really deserved to be called the “King of Comedy.”
”His was a funny act as it is a hard act to beat. I’ve watched this man continually hone his craft as an artist but it is not only the comedian that I will miss, but the man I have also come to know as genuine, generous, humble, sincere, and a fine gentleman to boot. His demise is a loss to the entire nation and a personal sadness for me,” Marcos said.
The senator said he cannot help but grin with even the mention of Dolphy’s name as he remembers the late comedian’s antics all through these years.
“Precisely because that was his magic — that at the mention of his name or the sight of him, he put an instant smile in all our faces. As an artist, as a Filipino, and as a human being, I give him a crisp salute; and as a friend, a big hug. He will be missed,” Marcos said.
Aurora Rep. Juan Edgardo “Sonny” Angara said that if we hear the angels in heaven rollicking with laughter, then we know that Dolphy has brought his act there.
“In life, Dolphy has given us tears of laughter with his portrayal of the ‘Pinoy Everyman,’ but with his passing, the tears are now for the grief that he will never make us laugh again,” he said.
“But more than that, this national artist gave us a national slogan which will ring true for ages – ‘Kaya Juan, magsumikap ka!’ And we will be better off heeding it,” Angara said, stressing the fact that with hard work, a person can be the best he or she can be.
Western Samar Rep. Mel Senen Sarmiento said the death of the “King of Comedy” is a big loss to Philippine cinema and the world of art.
“Dolphy was and is a true actor who acts from his heart. He is a legend and an artist whose works will live through generations and serve as a yardstick for professionalism and dedication. He made laughter a serious art,” he said.
Iloilo Rep. Jerry Treñas said that “Dolphy’s entire professional life gave many Filipinos the reason to hope despite hardships, as portrayed by his undying sitcom John en Marsha and other cinematic masterpieces that really tickled the hearts of his audiences, both young and old, from all walks or life.”
Davao City Rep. Karlo Alexie Nograles said that Dolphy’s death was a big loss to Philippine entertainment world but his works have become a strong foundation for the efforts to raise the quality and professionalism in the entire industry.
“Dolphy is a personification of humility, industry, determination and professionalism. His place in the history of the country’s entertainment industry will stand the test of time for his uniqueness as a performer and entertainer,” he said.
For his part Ang Kasangga Partylist Rep. Teodorico Haresco said that the nation owes a debt of gratitude to the “King of Comedy” for his immeasurable contributions in uplifting the Filipino condition through laughter and the arts.
“Dolphy is rightfully the King of Comedy. His life and works were a real comic relief for many Filipinos who identify with him. His works came so naturally, so ordinary that they became extraordinarily a work of Filipino artistic ingenuity that merit everyone’s adoration,” he said.
It was Zsa Zsa who confirmed with sadness Dolphy’s death. Zsa Zsa earlier has requested that the Comedy King’s remains be brought to ABS-CBN’s Dolphy Theater for one day. She also bought a lot at Heritage Memorial Park.
Among the comedy king’s visitors while confined at the hospital were former President Joseph Estrada, Manila Vice Mayor Iskho Moreno, and Dolphy’s co-stars Maricel Soriano, Nova Villa, Ai-Ai delas Alas, Nora Aunor, Charo Santos, Edgar Mortiz, Bentong, and Smokey Manaloto.
Fr. Sonny Ramirez was also there and offered prayers.
Dolphy’s career in entertainment as a comedian on stage, radio, television, and movies lasted for more than six decades. He also put up his own RVQ Productions which produced some of his movies. He had appeared with other top actors and actresses in movies and television shows.
Aside from Zsa Zsa, Dolphy is survived by his 18 children, prominent of whom are actors Eric Quizon, Rolly Quizon and Vandolph. Many of his children flew from the United States to be at his side while in the hospital.
Showbiz authority, columnist and television host Ricky Lo wrote: “Even if he was not conferred the honor as National Artist, notwithstanding his great contribution to the entertainment industry, Dolphy left behind a legacy of laughter that has influenced generations of Filipinos during a colorful career that spanned more than half a century and that covered the stage, radio, television and film.”
According to Ricky Lo, Dolphy was 13 when World War II broke out. He helped the family make ends meet by doing odd jobs like shining shoes, attaching buttons at a pants factory, stevedoring at the pier and driving a horse-drawn buggy. He passed his free time watching his idols Pugo and Togo (for comedy) and Benny Mack and Bayani Casimiro (for dance) in stage shows at the Life Theater and Avenue Theater in Manila.
Dolphy started as a stage performer during the Japanese occupation when Benny Mack got him as a chorus dancer, alternating between Life and Avenue, using the stage name Golay, later changed to Dolphy.
At 19, he did his first movie, “Dugo At Bayan (I Remember Bataan),” with Fernando Poe Sr., who first gave Dolphy breaks as a character actor.
In the late 1940s, Dolphy ventured into radio with the help of Conde Ubaldo, a popular radio writer, joining Pacho Magalona, Tessie Quintana and Baby Jane. It was Pancho, father of the late Francis Magalona, who recommended Dolphy to Starmaker Dr. Jose R. Perez of Sampaguita Pictures where Dolphy was groomed as a comedian initially playing gay characters (“Jack en Jill,” etc.) that he continued to portray in movies that he produced under his own company RVQ Productions, including such classics as “Facifica Falayfay,” “Fefita Fofonggay” and “Karioka Etchos de Amerika.
Dolphy was awarded the Grand Order of the Golden Heart by Aquino in November 2010 for his contributions to art and culture.
While a vendor at the stage and theaters in Manila, he learned to act and started performing at 17. His first assignment was as a chorus dancer at Avenue Theater in Manila.
Dolphy was first known as Golay in the stage.
His first ABS-CBN show was the highly-successful series “Buhay Artista” with the late comedian Panchito.
He was also known for the long-running “John en Marsha,” a family-oriented prime time sitcom on Channel 9 which depicted a poor yet happy family. He he starred with the late Nida Blanca and Maricel Soriano in that series which was also made into a movie. He was also known for his gay roles in movies.
Dolphy won the FAMAS Best Actor for a dual role depicting good and evil in the movie “Omeng Satanasia.”
Dolphy had received Lifetime Achievement Awards from the Gawad Urian, the Cinemanila International Film Festival, PMPC Star Awards for TV and the Metro Manila Film Festival.
The Guillermo Mendoza Foundation Awards named him Box-Office King together with his apparent successor Vic Sotto in 2009.
Dolphy won Best Comedy at the PMPC Star Awards for TV for “Home Along Da Riles,” “John En Marsha” and “John En Shirley.”
He won the Best Actor award for “Father Jejemon” at the Film Academy of the Philippines’ Luna Awards in 2011. He also won Best Supporting Actor at the 2011 Metro Manila Film Festival for the film “Rosario.”
In an interview with Ricky Lo two years ago done at his home while he attached to an oxygen tank, Dolphy said when asked what he was proud of as an actor, “I’m proud of what I have achieved. Palagay ko maski mamatay ako at nabuhay uli, I will still love to be an actor. My life as an actor is full of happiness. Ang dami ko na ring awards.”
And aside from making people laugh, what did he think was the best legacy that he would be leaving behind?
“Kapag naaalala ko kung tumatawa ang tao, masaya na ako,” he told Ricky Lo with a smile.
ABS-CBN issued a statement on Dolphy.
“ABS-CBN mourns the passing of Rodolfo Vera Quizon, Sr., known to all as “Dolphy”, the one and only King of Filipino Comedy.
Remembered as John Puruntong, Kevin Cosme and Pidol among many other names, he remains the symbol of every Juan de la Cruz who loves his children and can make light of life’s trials.
From being a peanut and “butong pakwan” vendor in a movie house to becoming one of the country’s biggest stars, many knew that Dolphy stayed humble and approachable. That is why his life, not just his roles, has been an inspiration to millions.
Dolphy’s first starring tv role was in Buhay Artista produced by ABS-CBN in the 1960s. He became a close and true friend of ABS-CBN’s Chairman Emeritus Eugenio “Geny” Lopez Jr. He would later on become a Kapamilya for more than 40 years.
Today, everyone at ABS-CBN joins his family and the whole nation in remembering his great life and career. Most of his works were huge box office successes, many were award-winning and all are now immortal in the hearts of Filipinos.
We will miss “Tito Dolphy”, an idol, a friend, and already a legend even while he lived.”