MANILA, Philippines—Veteran actor-comedian Rodolfo “Dolphy” Quizon passed away Tuesday evening, his son Eric Quizon announced.
Dolphy died a few days before he would have celebrated his 84th birthday on July 25.
His remains now lie at the Heritage Park in Taguig City.
Dolphy was taken to the Makati Medical Center last June 9 due to chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and has been confined since then at the intensive care unit.
Dolphy’s children, grandchildren, and other relatives stayed with Dolphy until his very last.
Among his visitors were co-stars Maricel Soriano, Nova Villa, Ai-Ai delas Alas, Nora Aunor, Charo Santos, Edgar Mortiz, Bentong, Smokey Manaloto, LVN Star Mila del Sol, “John and Marsha” co-star Madel de Leon, as well as healing priest Fr. Sonny Ramirez, who offered prayers.
Son Eric Quizon said those who dropped by recently were comedian-TV host Vic Sotto, (producer) Antonio Tuviera, Senator Manuel Villar and (actress) Eula Valdes (who has a son with Ronnie Quizon).
Dolphy’s career in entertainment as a comedian—on stage, radio, television, and movies—lasted for more than six decades. He is survived by Padilla and his 18 children.
‘Humble, honest, and helpful’
President Benigno Aquino led the nation in paying tribute to Dolphy, calling him the embodiment of the “humble, honest, and helpful” Filipino, who made life easier for his friends and followers in the face of daunting challenges.
“He changed not just his industry, but also the national consciousness,” Aquino said in a statement.
“Through his art, he widened our outlook, he gave us the power to find and cherish happiness in our daily lives.”
‘King of Comedy’
Dolphy was widely regarded as the country’s “King of Comedy” in a career that spanned seven decades playing colorful comedic roles, from a cross-dressing homosexual to a poor jack of all trades.
His passing was announced by ABS-CBN television, which aired his hit sitcom “Home Along Da Riles” in the 1990s about a poor widower struggling to raise his children in the slums.
ABS-CBN said Dolphy’s passing was confirmed by his partner Zsa Zsa Padilla, an actress also employed by the station, and other relatives.
Dolphy made millions laugh even during the Philippines’ darkest moments, including the brutal 20-year rule of the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos, which ended in 1986.
In the 1970s sitcom “John and Marsha,” he played the poor husband to a rich wife, who poked fun at his loud-mouthed mother-in-law, giving comedic relief during Marcos’ martial law regime that left thousands dead and missing.
It was a slapstick brand of comedy that steered clear of politics or criticism of Marcos.
The show was so popular that it was revived in the form of at least eight movies over the last two decades, introducing younger generations to Filipino humor.
Bob Hope of the Philippines
Movie critics branded Dolphy the Bob Hope of the Philippines, and his philanthropic work helping the poor and unemployed actors was also well known.
Politicians looking to exploit Dolphy’s mass appeal for years unsuccessfully tried to lure him into running for public office.
Social media tributes
News of Dolphy’s death sent shockwaves across social networking sites, with many of his fans and colleagues paying tribute to him.
“RIP Dolphy. Kevin Cosme really gave so much laughter to my childhood,” tweeted Andreo Calonzo, referring to one of Dolphy’s most memorable television characters.
Former president Joseph Estrada, an ex-movie action star and a long-time friend of Dolphy, said he joined millions in mourning for a “national artist.”
“His memory will live forever. He was the kindest, funniest, most helpful man I know,” Estrada told AFP.
“He made life bearable for the masses, and his roles sympathized with the plight of the millions of poor Filipinos.”
Movie industry icon
While he never married, Dolphy was a known ladies’ man who fathered at least 17 children with various women, some of whom also went on to enter the showbiz industry.
President Aquino rallied Filipinos while Dolphy was on his death bed, calling the actor a “revered icon of the Philippine movie industry”.
A heart bypass 15 years ago had left him perennially weak. With reports from Bayani San Diego, PDI; and Agence France-Presse
Originally posted: July 10, 2012 | 9:16 pm