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MANILA, Philippines—Actor Subas Herrero, best known for his longtime stint as part of the comedy ensemble of the TV show “Champoy,” passed away Friday, March 15 in the US due to complications from pneumonia. He was 69 years old and would have turned 70 on April 3.
Born Ricardo Wright Herrero in Manila, Herrero was of American and Mexican descent―his resulting features, along with a distinctive bodily heft and natural acting ability, serving him well in Philippine show business, of which he was an actor since 1970 up to 2000.
His filmography is filled with supporting character turns in comedy, drama, action and fantasy films, his willingness to play antagonist or fringe characters allowing him to work with an array of directors.
These include Ishmael Bernal (such as for the film “Pagdating sa Dulo”), Eddie Romero (for the blaxploitation flick “White Mama, Black Mama”), Fernando Poe Jr. (as Ronwaldo Reyes, for “Isang Bala Ka Lang Part II”), Peque Gallaga and Lore Reyes (for the “Ate” episode of “Shake, Rattle & Roll III”), Danny Zialcita (for the Nora Aunor-Vilma Santos starrer “T-Bird at Ako”), Johnny Manahan (“Ang TV Movie”), Marilou Diaz-Abaya (“Jose Rizal”) and more.
Consequently, just about every big-name actor or actress from the ’70s to the ’90s had shared screen time with the man.
But Herrero endeared himself the most to the general public via television.
His small-screen presence began with GMA 7’s mid-’70s adaptation of the Roni Santiago comic strip “Baltic & Co.” (which predated Ricky Gervais’ “The Office” by about two decades).
Yet it was through “Champoy” where Herrero became a full-blown household name. As part of a memorable, Laurel and Hardy-like tandem with fellow actor Noel Trinidad, and of a bigger comedic ensemble that included Tessie Tomas, Mitch Valdes, Cherie Gil and Gary Lising, “Champoy” was an every-Thursday gag show on RPN 9 that was a precursor to “Sic O’Clock News” and today’s “Bubble Gang”―and, in running from 1980 to 1985, was provided much-needed comic relief to the nation at large.
Herrero had two more major TV gigs: “Executive Champoy,” a resurrection of sorts of his old hit show, and the children’s program “Star Smile Factory.” Both programs aired on ABS-CBN in the first half of the ’90s.
Herrero’s last listed film gig is a US TV movie from 2000: the Roger Spottiswoode-directed “Noriega: God’s Favorite,” which starred American actor Bob Hoskins.
As the first EDSA Revolution was taking place in February 1986, Herrero was among the celebrities who went on camera during the takeover of Channel 4, inviting more people to join the protesters masses huddled between Camps Aguinaldo and Crame.
Despite having recovered from a stroke, Herrero went on to show up as well at the second EDSA Revolution in February 2001, which called for the ouster of fellow actor turned Philippine president Joseph Estrada. (Estrada was the lead star of 1973’s “Erap is My Guy” and 1975’s “Diligin Mo ang Uhaw na Lupa,” both of which also had Herrero as cast member.)
Among Herrero’s early 2000s ventures was a live-comedy show in Makati’s Greenbelt area with “Champoy” colleagues Tomas and Valdes. He is also said to have devoted time as a commentator during Catholic Masses, before eventually migrating to the US and settling in Rochester, New York.
Herrero had 5 children, including Cutuy Herrero, a former vocalist of the pop-acoustic band Chapter 2. ―Rappler.com
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