Curtains down for Dolphy at 83

The Comedy King is dead.


Dolphy, or Rodolfo Vera Quizon Sr., passed away Tuesday at 8:34 p.m., at the Makati Medical Center, thus ending one of the longest and most colorful lives and careers in Philippine show business history. He was 83 and about to turn 84 on July 25.

He is survived by 18 children by six different women.

After a flurry of confusing tweets Tuesday evening, his death was finally confirmed by a close family member, according to GMA News’ State of the Nation. Dolphy died of cchronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), a condition which limits the amount of air that enters the lungs. He also suffered from kidney ailments.

Dolphy was rushed to the Intensive Care Unit on Saturday, June 9, after complaining of difficulty in breathing.  His potassium level had also dropped.

The Philippines’ Comedy King underwent several dialysis treatments while in the hospital. He also had at least two bouts of pneumonia, with the last one occurring only recently.


“Simple phlegm can kill him. Kasi nga, nagbabara sa lungs niya. Basically that’s what COPD does to you,” he explained.


Because of his age, Dolphy’s immune system had weakened.


A vaudeville beginning

Dolphy starred in over 100 movies, including several reprising his lovable lead character in John en Marsha, a long-running television show.


Before entering the movies, Dolphy first made a name for himself during the World War II years as a vaudeville dancer along with the late Bayani Casimiro.


From dancing, Dolphy got his break as an actor when he landed the role of a Chinese court witness in a theater play.


Dolphy’s antics in the play were a big hit and he became known as “Golay” – his first screen name.


In 1948, Dolphy was billed as Rodolfo Quizon in the movie “Dugo ng Bayan” (Nation’s Blood). He made a “guest appearance” in the movie which starred Fernando Poe Sr.


Dolphy’s big movie break came when Pancho Magalona brought him over to Sampaguita Pictures for the 1953 movie “Isang Sulyap Mo Tita” (A Single Glimps of you Tita).


In this movie, the name “Golay” was discarded for “Dolphy” which became a household name to this day.


From Tondo


Dolphy was born in Tondo, Manila on July 25, 1928. He was the eldest of 10 children: Corazon, Josefina (Josie), Melencio Jr. “Junior,” Laura, Aurora (Auring), Jorge (Georgie), Jaime (Jimmy), Teresita and Jaime.


His father was Melencio Espinosa-Quizon, a ship mechanic, and his mother was Salud Vera Quizon.


The “puruntong shorts” (shorts with comically long pant-legs) were made famous by Dolphy’s character, John Purontong, in the hit TV sitcom “John en Marsha.”


Dolphy (with Casimiro) worked as a dancer in Hong Kong and Japan, signing six-month contracts for the jobs. Dolphy saw himself as one of the first overseas Filipino workers.


Dolphy had 18 children with six different women: Six children with Grace Dominguez,  four with Gloria Smith, four with Baby Smith, one with Vangie Tagulao, one with Alma Moreno, and two – of which one was adopted – with Zsa Zsa Padilla.


Dolphy never married any of the six women he was with, which, he says, was one of his life’s frustrations.


Dolphy and Zsa Zsa had planned to marry, but the plan fell through as Zsa Zsa’s annulment proceedings with her first husband were taking too long.


The producer


It was in the 1960’s when Dolphy established his production company, RVQ Productions. Its first project was a film adaptation of the hit TV sitcom “Buhay Artista” (An Actor’s Life).


Dolphy’s last movie was entered in the 2010 Metro Manila Film Festival, “Father Jejemon.” He had a “special appearance” in “Rosario,” another 2010 MMFF entry.


In 2010, President Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III awarded Dolphy the Grand Collar of the Order of the Golden Heart – the highest civilian award that a President can give – for his contributions to the entertainment industry and for his humanitarian efforts.


On his 80th birthday in 2008, his biography “Dolphy, Hindi Ko Ito Narating Mag-isa” (Dolphy, I Didn’t Get Here On My Own) was launched. Proceeds from the book were given to a foundation that assists OFWs.


In 2008 Dolphy and Vic Sotto, known as the Comedy Prince, did a movie together called “Dobol Trobol.”


Dolphy is also famous for playing gay characters in movies like “Facifica Falayfay” (1969), “Fefita Fofongay, Sarhento Fofongay” (1973), “A… Ewan” (Oh…I Don’t Know) (1974), “Ang Tatay Kong Nanay” (My Dad The Mom) (1978), and “Markova: Comfort Gay” (2001).


Dolphy received his FAMAS Best Actor award in 1978 for his role in the movie “Omeng Satanasia,” which was produced by RVQ Productions.

For their roles in “Markova: Comfort Gay”, Dolphy and his children Eric and Jeffrey Quizon received the Prix de la Meilleure Interpretation award–the equivalent of a Best Actor Award–in Brussels, Belgium. — Fidel Jimenez and Amanda Fernandez/Amanda Lago/KG/DVM/VS/ELR/HS, GMA News


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