The king is dead, long live his kingdom

THE Philippine movie industry lost a pillar and a legend following the death of Dolphy early this week.

Like the millions of Filipinos, I felt like I have lost someone really close when I learned of the passing of the King of Comedy, Rodolfo Vera Quizon Sr. in real life. His death is a national tragedy of sort. Perhaps this is due to the bitter-sweet memories that all Dolphy movies evoked in everyone.

Together with my late parents and sometimes my cousins, I have seen several movies of the Comedy King in the late 60’s and throughout the 70’s and 80’s in downtown Avenida Rizal (now Rizal Avenue) in Manila and Cubao, Quezon City.

Aside from his movies, I am also an avid follower of his popular te-levision sitcom “John en Marsha.”

I remember at least five Dolphy movies that really struck me because of the empathy I felt for the characters he played in these films — “Facifica Falayfay,” “Fefita Fofongay viuda de Falayfay,” “Kalabog en Bosyo,” and “Markova (which I just recently watched as a rerun in a cable network).”

But the most impressive Dolphy film for me is “Ang Tatay kong Nanay” where he played a gay father and mother to the child star Nino Mulach.

This is so memorable because aside from the sympathy I felt for his character this is the first time he made me cry. Yes that is right, not only did Dolphy make me laugh, he also made me cry.

This I believe is why Dolphy is an actor in the true sense of the word. How many movie stars of today have the natural ability to make us laugh and cry all in one movie?

The King of Comedy, unknown to a lot, has a golden heart and was able to help many mendicant Filipino families (most of them street vendors) but especially those from the movie industry.

He made sure that some of his lesser known friend actors or actresses or those who are past their prime due to age are included in his projects.

But the real reason that I admire and respect Dolphy is because of the strength of his character. For several instances he was asked by politicians to participate in the political circus as a senatorial candidate, which he could have easily won, but in the same number of instances he refused because he said he would not know what to do if he won. He stressed that his vocation is acting to make people smile or laugh.

Dolphy took care of his name and he never gambled with it. Unlike some movie stars who, despite their ignorance on matters of governance, immediately run for office after reaching certain degree of fame, Dolphy remained true to his calling.

For that I salute you sir.

It is a pity that the National Commission for Culture and the Arts failed to recognize Dolphy’s genius and honesty as an artist and a man when he is still alive. That recognition,

I am sure, would be greatly appreciated by him.

We have an apt saying for this instance – “Aaanhin pa ang damo kung patay na ang kabayo?” (Of what use is the grass if the horse is already dead?)

To the NCCA take your award and shove it in your ______.

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