Philippine theater

Theater icon Celia Diaz Laurel dies at 93

Theater icon Celia Diaz Laurel dies at 93

Celia Diaz Laurel's Facebook

The theater icon is remembered for her contributions to the performing arts

Local theater stage icon Celia Diaz Laurel died on Monday, July 12, at the age of 93, due to complications from a stroke.

On Tuesday, July 13, Laurel’s family announced her passing in a post on her Facebook page, saying that her life “deserves to be etched into our memory forever.”

“Our star is home where she rightfully belongs. It is with profound sorrow that we announce the passing of our beloved CELIA DIAZ LAUREL yesterday, July 12, 2021, at 8:30 pm,” the post read.

Singer-songwriter Nicole Laurel Asensio took to social media to pay tribute to her grandmother, and said their “brightest star now shines in heaven.” 

“Life with you, Lola is beautiful simply because you are in it, your smile, laughter, beauty, kindness, wisdom, love for the arts, love for life, grace, and warm embrace are like no other,” the Nicole, the frontwoman of General Luna, wrote in her post.

“Thank you, Lord, for allowing us time with our Lola, for allowing us to see her the last few days and make the most of her soft embrace. Your heart forever lives on in all of us who love you very much. See you again one day,” she added.

Celia was married to the late former Vice President and lawyer Salvador “Doy” Laurel, who served under the Corazon Aquino administration.

The veteran stage actor and Repertory Philippines mainstay was honored with a Natatanging Gawad Award in 2016 by the Gawad Buhay Awards.

Her last play for Repertory was The Cemetery Club in 1992. She then retired from on-stage roles and worked on costume and production design for various plays and musicals, including South Pacific and Evita, among others. According to Repertory Philippines, Celia manned the production design of over 70 plays.

In May 2021, Celia launched her book My Lives Behind the Proscenium, where she detailed and chronicled her life experiences on stage and behind the theater curtains.

Celia was born on May 29, 1928, in Talisay, Negros Occidental. She is survived by her six children – Suzie, Lynnie, Cocoy, David, Larry, and Iwi. 

Details about her funeral have yet to be announced by the family. – with reports from Paolo Alejandrino/

Paolo Alejandrino is a Rappler intern.

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