By By Pablo A. Tariman
REMEMBERING A GREAT BICOLANO ACTOR
posted 1-Jul-2019  ·  
567 views  ·   0 comments  ·  
The late Eddie Garcia with the columnist.

While fighting for his life in the hospital Tuesday last week, Eddie Garcia won one more Best Actor trophy at the 42nd Gawad Urian last night for his role in the film,"ML" (Martial Law).

Afternoon of June 20, he died at 4: 55 p.m. He was 90.

Eddie fell into a coma last June 8 after suffering from neck injury while taping for his GMA teleserye Rosang Agimat.

How do I remember the actor?

Oragon is an understatement.

Everything about him embodied what he had been known for in showbiz in the last 70years — well-groomed, punctual, relaxed, the epitome of Mr. Cool and a gentleman of the first order.

In his last Cine Malaya film, he had time to recall his boyhood days and admitted he had true-to-life gay encounter in the forest of Juban, his hometown in Sorsogon. “I was 16 then and innocent,” he jokingly told media persons. In his youth, he would cross Juban rivers naked with his clothes up the air on his one hand for a night of dancing.

Experience teaches one to become better actors, he rued and one surmised, this is the reason he shines even in gay roles.

He was a gay businessman in Lino Brocka’s Tubog Sa Ginto in 1971. He won another acting trophy for his role as the retired, aging gay in Bwakaw.

In my last encounter with the veteran actor, I told him I had a good laugh when he delivered a line that only Bicolanos would understand, "Anak ng tungao."

He told me he had many Bicol adlibs in the top-rating teleserye FPJ’s Ang Probinsyano but Coco Martin edited them out."Nakahalata may double meaning," he grinned.

In his acting lifetime, he has played swashbuckling priest, closet father, gay director, aggrieved police officer and a small-town priest on Darna.

To be sure, his joining the movies came by accident.

In 1949, he was with the Philippine Scouts with stints in Okinawa and was about to go on another assignment with the US Army when his aunt told him Sampaguita Pictures was looking for new actors.

Recalled the actor: “The movie was Siete Infantes de Lara and they needed seven guys for the part. There were 40 of us who applied and I got one of the seven parts.”

That successful movie audition ended his tenure as Philippine Scout where he worked for close to three years. For his first movie role, he was paid P300.

“Of course, I had ambitions to work behind the camera but I told myself I’d spend 15 years as an actor and then turn to movie directing later. It came sooner than I thought after 12 years in 1961 — when I directed Mario Montenegro, Rita Gomez and Marlene Dauden in Karugtong Ng Kahapon.”

For that first directorial chore, he was paid P5,000.

Born a Taurus (May 2), Eddie recalled there was nothing earth-shaking about his life worth exploring for movie projects. “People born under the sign of Taurus are probably the most passive people on earth,” he pointed out earlier.

At age 90, Eddie had no set formula for active and healthy living except the ones he does to this day. “I exercise regularly, I stick to a diet of fish and vegetables and of course I take some supplemental vitamins.”

An autobiography is out of the question and even suggestions of the important highlights in his life and career the actor tosses to the wind. “Let other people decide what makes my life interesting,” he intimated earlier.

In my last interview with him, he talked of living all over again and trying another life. “If a new life is offered to me, I’d probably explore a full military officer’s life interrupted in my younger days by a movie career.”


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