Dolphy, the undisputed King of Comedy in the Philippines, passed away last night after a long battle against pneumonia. He was 83.
News of his death sent a shockwave not just among his colleagues within the entertainment industry in the Philippines, but among Filipinos all over the world.
An Actor Shared by Generations
Dolphy (Rodolfo Vera Quizon Sr. in real life) was one of the few Filipino actors watched by three generations of my family. I remember my grandmother watching his early films with Sampaguita Pictures being shown on television with a hint of nostalgia in her face. As a kid, I remember evenings when me, my mom, aunt, and uncle would gather around the TV and watch John en Marsha–the longest running sitcom in the Philippines.
More than the King of Comedy
Although he earned the title as the King of Comedy in the Philippines, Dolphy was more than that. His uncanny talent for acting can make you laugh one minute, and then suddenly depict a scene that would just grip your heart and shed a tear the next. Part of this lies with the choice of roles he portrayed. Most of them were situations in real life that the ordinary Filipino faces on a daily basis, whether it was dealing with a notorious loud-mouth mother-in-law or being a father bringing up his children amidst the poverty that surrounded them while living by the side of the railroad.
Dolphy also served as a source of inspiration for many Filipinos. He was a man from humble beginnings, doing odd jobs at a young age from shining shoes to a factory worker and even a horse and buggy driver. During his spare time, he would watch his favorite actors perform onstage (movies were still not rampant then) and would imitate them, perhaps dreaming that one day, he would follow their footsteps. His story from rags to riches inspired the average Filipino to chase after their dreams, regardless of their circumstance. This, is one of the greatest legacies he has left behind.
A World without Dolphy
Dolphy may not have been an actor with the same stature as those great names in Hollywood. But for the millions of Filipinos that grew up watching his movies and television shows, Dolphy was an icon that had touched their hearts. His acting prowess put a smile on the faces of Filipinos even in the darkest times, and give them some diversion to their cares and worries, even if it was just for a brief moment. His ability to make light of even the most dire situations brought hope to his viewers, indirectly telling them that there is always a brighter side through it all.
With his passing, Dolphy left a huge hole in the Philippine entertainment industry that is hard to fill. Although there are many Filipino comedians now rising and bringing smiles on our faces, there can only be one Dolphy. Only one undisputed King of Comedy in the Philippines.
Farewell Dolphy! Thank you for the laughs and the tears. You will be sorely missed.