Estrella Kuenzler takes final bowBy Bayani San Diego Jr.
Philippine Daily Inquirer
Character actress Estrella Kuenzler, who worked on stage, radio, TV and movies, passed away on Aug. 1 after a lingering illness. She was 87.
Her granddaughter, Mary Grace Antonio, said Kuenzler died of pneumonia.
“She worked in radio serials and was a dubbing master,” said actress Odette Khan. “She was an unsung heroine in local show biz.”
“We worked on the TV show ‘Biglang Sibol,’ veteran actress Delia Razon recalled. “She was a leading lady in stage shows, working with the likes of Panchito, Bayani Casimiro and Dolphy. She was a German mestiza.”
“She was a good fortune-teller, too,” recounted actress Perla Bautista. “Between takes, she read my cards. I worked with her in the old soap opera ‘Ilaw ng Tahanan’ in the 1970s.”
“She was a favorite of [the late National Artist for Film] Lino Brocka,” veteran actress Anita Linda said.
Kuenzler appeared in some of Brocka’s best films like “Tinimbang Ka Ngunit Kulang,” “Angela Markado,” “PX,” “Stardoom” and the “Hellow Soldier” episode of “Tatlo, Dalawa, Isa,” which top billed Linda.
A real beauty
Younger moviegoers may remember Kuenzler as the sickly, slum-dwelling granny perennially clad in a daster, but Kuenzler was a beauty in her prime, Linda said.
“But she had a sad life,” said Mona Lisa, another Brocka favorite.
Khan said Kuenzler stayed in a home for the aged run by nuns in Pasay City a few months before she died.
“Tita Alice (Linda) and I were supposed to visit her, but we were told that her relatives had checked her out of the institution,” Khan said.
Casting coordinator Anthony Roquel worked with Kuenzler in the latter’s last movie, the Topel Lee thriller “Sundo,” in 2009. “She was already weak,” said Roquel.
Kuenzler’s body lies at the St. Peter’s Chapel on Quezon Avenue, Quezon City. Interment is tentatively set on Sunday.
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