In Memoriam 2017

MANILA, Philippines – The year 2017 saw the demise of many veteran showbiz personalities and unexpected deaths. 

In the international scene, we bid goodbye to Batman star Adam West, singers Chris Cornell, Chester Bennington, James Bond star Roger Moore, The Sound of Music actress Heather Menzies-Urich, and many others. (READ: Newsmakers who died in 2017)

We now pay tribute to those who have gone before us in the local entertainment scene.

 Screengrab from  YouTube/Taumbahay EBC

One half of Golden Lion Films' power couple, Donna Villa, producer, wife of director and komiks artist / director  Carlo J Caparas died in January, following a battle with cancer. She was the woman behind movies such as The Vizconde Massacre, The Myrna Diones Story (Lord, Have Mercy), and The Lilian Velez Story: Till Death Do Us Part.


Screengrab from Instagram/pepsiherrera

Top fashion designer to the stars Pepsi Herrera died in February reportedly of cardiac arrest. He has dressed personalities such as Kim Chiu, Coleen Garcia, Julia Montes, and Billy Crawford among others.


Photo from Cornelia Lee Facebook page

Cornelia "Angge" Lee, who managed the likes of Sylvia Sanchez and Smokey Manaloto died in March. She suffered a heart attack in 2016 and was initially pronounced dead on arrival but revived later on. 


Willy Cruz

File photo by Rob Reyes/Rappler

Willy Cruz, one of OPM's top songwriters who was behind hit songs such as "Bituin Walang Ningning" and "Sana'y Wala ng Wakas" died at the age of 70 in April. His niece Cheska Africa confirmed that he died due to heart failure from kidney problems.

Before his death, Cruz was honored with an Eastwood Walk of Fame award in 2016.


Gil Portes

File photo by Rob Reyes/Rappler

Veteran director Gil Portes, who directed movies such as Ang Hapis at Himagsik ni Hermano Puli and Moonlight Over Baler died at the age of 71 in May. His movies such as Mga Munting Tinig , Saranggola, and Gatas sa Dibdib ng Kaaway were submitted as official entries of the Philippines in the foreign language film category of the Oscars. 


Soxie Topacio

Photo from Soxy Topacio Facebook page

Actor, movie and theater director and comedian Soxie Topacio passed away at the age of 65 years old in July. It was reported that Soxie, who directed films such as Ded na si Lolo and productions in PETA  succumbed to lung cancer.


Eugene Villaluz

Photo from Eugene Villaluz Facebook page

Singer Eugene Villaluz, who became popular with his stint with  the group the New Minstrels in the '70s died in June after battling prostate cancer. He was 70 years old.

Eugene was known for his duet with Louie Reyes for the song "Nothing I Want More," and the song "Gulong ng Palad."


Romeo Vasquez

#LoloBobby April 9, 1939- May 2, 2017 A post shared by Alyanna Martinez (@alyannamartinez) on May 2, 2017 at 6:02pm PDT

Veteran actor Romero Vasquez died in May. The actor was married to actress Amalia Fuentes. The two had a daughter, Liezl who died in 2015. 


Alfie Lorenzo

Screengrab from Instagram/itsjeffcarpio

Veteran talent manager and showbiz columnist Alfie Lorenzo died in August after a heart attack at the age of 78 years old.

Alfie managed the careers of Judy Ann Santos and Sunshine Cruz. It was in April when Judy Ann confirmed that she and Alfie have parted amicably.


Zeny Zabala

Photo from  Zeny Zabala Facebook page

Zeny Zabala, one of local showbiz's top kontrabida of her time died on August 8 at the age of 80 years old due to kidney failure.

The actress has worked with actresses like Susan Roces, Gloria Romero, and Barbara Perez.

Emmanuel 'Maning' Borlaza

File photo by Rob Reyes/Rappler

Another veteran director, Emmanuel "Maning" Borlaza died in October at the age of 81 due to a heart attack. Maning directed a number of films, including Dyesebel and Bituin Walang Ningning.

Chinggoy Alonso

Photo from Chinggoy Alonso Facebook page

The theatre community mourned the death of Chinggoy Alonso in October. Chinggoy, known for his roles in My Fair Lady, A Christmas Carol, and Encantadia battled lung cancer. 

Isabel Granada 

Screengrab from Instagram/@isabelgranada21

The death of actress Isabel Granada took the local showbiz industry by surprise. A health buff, Isabel collapsed during an event in Qatar due to aneurysm. She was in a coma for days before she passed away on November 4 at the age of 41 years old.

Franco Hernandez

 Screengrab from Instagram/@janicanam

Hashtag member Franco Hernandez's death due to a drowning accident also sent shockwaves on social media. His friends from the group grieved his death.

Franco's girlfriend Janica Floresca also released a video of their last moment before the accident happened. 

Others who have left the industry include movie critic and Manunuri ng Pelikulang Pilipino member Mario Hernando, Herminio Bautista, father of Quezon City mayor Herbert Bautista, and former action star and stunts / fight director Baldo Marro.–