Monday, March 12, 2012
Dolphy was born on P. Herrera St. (Calle Padre Herrera) in Tondo district of Manila to Melencio Espinosa-Quizon, a ship mechanic, and Salud Vera Quizon (1904–1986), a home-based tailor, in 1928. He is the second of ten children. His siblings are Corazon, Josefina (Josie), Melencio Jr. "Junior" (1932–1969), Laura, Aurora (Auring), Jorge (Georgie), Jaime (Jimmy), Teresita and Jaime.
He started education in a public Grade School at the age of six. His favorite subjects were History and Arithmetic.
His exposure to movies started while as a young person, he worked inside the theater selling peanuts, watermelon seeds and jicama snacks, thereby he could watch limitless movies for free. Gone with the Wind was the first color motion picture film he saw.
Dolphy established RVQ Productions in 1965. His first venture was Buhay Artista (Actor's Life), released in 1967, with Panchito, Susan Roces and Ronaldo Valdez whom he discovered. For Pepe en Pilar (1966), his picture with Susan, they wanted a new face as Susan’s partner. He saw Ronaldo in a basketball court and brought him to the press conference so Susan could see him. “Wala bang iba? (Aren't there anyone else?)” Susan responded. He brought Ronaldo to a barber shop, bought him a pair of boots at Glenmore and lent him his suit. When Dolphy presented him to Susan again, she said, “Iyan pa. (I prefer him more)” She didn’t know that he was the same guy introduced to her earlier. Then Dolphy changed his name to Ronaldo Valdez.
When secret agent movies became the fad, he also made movies as secret agent, first in Dolpinger (1965) as Agent 1-2-3 (a spoof of the James Bond movie Goldfinger with Agent 007). Chiquito, another Filipino comedian played Agent 0-2-10 in his movies.
In 1969, one of his biggest hit was when he first starred in as a gay leading character in 1969 for Facifica Falayfay, directed by Luciano “Chaning” Carlos with whom he worked in 23 of his movies. It was followed by Fefita Fofongay (Viuda de Falayfay) in 1973 and Sarhento Fofongay A...ewan in 1974.
It's sheer talent, and the respect he earned not only from the audience he mesmerized out of their daily toils, but also the peers he never failed to touch with his generosity and humility.
But the best testament to his incredible stature as a public figure, showbiz personality and comic is the respect and admiration from his co-actors and directors he worked with through the years.
These legends have revealed in my short chats with them how Dolphy brings it on and succeeds in his craft.
Direk Peque Gallaga, who once worked with Dolphy in a film called "Once Upon A Time," reveals that Dolphy's appeal rests on his being relatable to the everyday man.
"Nobody is funnier, especially when he holds a mirror to our weaknesses and foibles. Filipinos love him because he can be totally ridiculous, but still maintain an ineffable touch of gentleness in everything he does. We get the feeling that we are going to be confronted but never harmed."
Gloria Romero, on the other hand, bares that Dolphy is really "not a clown in real life" but transforms into a side-splitting comic when the camera is rolling.
"When we shot our old Sampaguita movies, there was no such thing as take one with Dolphy because he always made me laugh in the middle of a scene," Gloria says. "And then on the second take, he would do something different and surprising that I'd laugh again. He is gifted and lovable."
Susan Roces, who also worked with Dolphy in Sampaguita, notes the reason behind his time-transcending success.