Romeo Vasquez; 78
Actor Romeo Vasquez died early Wednesday morning in a Los Angeles hospital, according to his son-in-law, actor Albert Martinez.
Vasquez was 78.
In the 1960s, Vasquez was married to movie queen Amalia Fuentes and they had a daughter, Liezl Sumilang-Martinez, who passed away in 2015.
Vasquez, who was based in the United States, traveled back to Manila to attend his daughter’s wake and interment two years ago.
Martinez described Vasquez as a “good man.” “My kids (Alyanna, Alfonso and Alissa) are saddened by the loss of their grandfather.”
Vasquez shared the screen with Fuentes in several movies produced by Sampaguita Pictures in the 1950s and 1960s: “Pretty Boy,” “Bobby,” and “Bilanggong Birhen.”
AApart from Fuentes, Vasquez was also paired with movie queens Susan Roces in the 1950s and 1960s and Vilma Santos in the 1970s and 1980s.
Among his movies with Roces were “Debutante,” “Prinsesa Gusgusin” and “Maruja.” With Santos, he starred in films like “Apoy sa Ilalim, Apoy sa Ibabaw,” “Pinagbuklod ng Pag-Ibig,” “Swing It… Baby!” and “Ayaw Kong Maging Kerida.”
Actress Boots Anson-Roa related that when she was 12 years old, she used to tag along with her father Oscar Moreno to the Sampaguita compound. “So I could watch Bobby (Romeo’s nickname) at shootings. He was the ultimate crush ng bayan.” Anson-Roa later costarred with Vasquez and Fuentes in “Rowena,” produced by Lea Productions in 1969.
In 1958, Vasquez was named best actor, receiving the Golden Harvest award from the Asia Film Festival for his work in “Ako ang May Sala,” recounted filmmaker Elwood Perez.
Anson-Roa, who was a principal sponsor in the wedding of the Martinezes in the 1990s, looked back: “We got to chat at Liezl’s wake. He was still good-looking and amiable, brimming with his characteristic zest for life.” Perez pointed out: “There are many good Filipino actors, but not quite as stellar as Romeo.”
“In an era when James Dean was the juvenile king of Hollywood, Romeo was the biggest young male star in the Sampaguita studios. He was occasionally assigned roles in ‘Rebel Without a Cause’ type of films,” recounted Perez, who eventually directed Vasquez and Fuentes in the 1976 hit movie “Puwede Ako, Puwede Ka Pa Ba?”
Sampaguita scion and movie producer Marichu Maceda pointed out: “Romeo had an intense passion for his craft. He is a big loss to those who love him.”
In 1993 and 1994, Vasquez portrayed the late Lauro Vizconde in two movies on the murder of the latter’s family: “The Vizconde Massacre: God, Help Us!” and “The Untold Story: Vizconde Massacre II: May the Lord Be With Us!” JE