Dolphy is dead at 83

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(2nd UPDATE) The Philippine King of Comedy succumbs to a chronic lung disease

BYE FOR NOW, JOHN. Dolphy — John Puruntong or Kevin Cosme, depending on your generation — has gone ahead. Love, light and prayers to his family. Screen grab from YouTube

MANILA, Philippines (2nd UPDATE) – The Philippines’ King of Comedy, Dolphy ‘aka Rodolfo Vera Quizon Sr’, passed away Tuesday, July 10, confirmed his partner Zsa-Zsa Padilla. He was 83.

The Makati Medical Center (MMC), where Dolphy had been confined since June, also confirmed he passed away at 8:34 pm.

“We would like to inform the public that Mr. Rodolfo ‘Dolphy’ Quizon, passed away… due to multiple organ failure, secondary to complications brought about by severe pneumonia, Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD), and acute renal failure,” it said in a statement.

In a statement read outside MMC, actor-director Eric Quizon requested the public to pray for his father’s soul. “And in his honor, please smile at the person standing next to you,” he said. 

“The Comedy [King] is dead, but long live comedy,” he added.

Dolphy’s remains were brought to the Heritage Memorial Park in Taguig City past midnight.

Aside from Eric, Dolphy’s other children Manny ‘Manny Boy’, Salud ‘Sahlee’, Rodolfo Jr ‘Dolphy Jr’, Freddie ‘Baby’, Edgar, and Raul ‘Rolly’ with Engracia ‘Gracia’ Dominguez; Mariquita ‘Kaye’, Carlos, Geraldino ‘Dino’, and Edwin with Gloria Smith; Ronaldo ‘Ronnie’, Madonna ‘Dana’, and Jeffrey ‘Epi’ with Pamela Ponti; Rommel with Evangeline Tugalao; Vandolph with Alma Moreno; and Nicole and Zia with Zsazsa Padilla continue to celebrate his life with friends and fans.

The King of Comedy starred in more than 200 films in his 66-year career, starting with a 1946 movie at 19 years old with Fernando Poe Sr, “Dugo at Bayan 1 (I Remember Bataan).”

The ’80s generation would remember him as John Puruntong of “John en Marsha,” probably the most successful local comedy series in the history of Philippine TV. At least 8 film versions of the series were produced.

Today’s generation saw him in various other roles — an actor, a family man, an endorser of products and politicians. At one point when he was being egged to run for president, he told reporters in his characteristic self-deprecating humor: “What if I win?”

Among the many roles he effectively portrayed, Dolphy was known for his notable portrayal of gay roles, whether comedy or drama. He starred in Facifica Falayfay (1969), Fefita Fofongay (Viuda de Falayfay) (1973) and Sarhento Fofongay, A…ewan (1974). His last gay role was as Walterina Markova, in the movie Markova: Comfort Gay (2001). He played the same role with his sons Eric and Jeffrey Quizon, and all won the Prix de la Meilleure Interpretation in Brussels, Belgium for their portrayal.

His last film was Father Jejemon in 2010.

On his 80th birthday, a biographical book, Dolphy, Hindi Ko Ito Narating Mag-isa (Dolphy, I Didn’t Get Here All By Myself) was launched by ABS-CBN. The book was completed by film director Bibeth Orteza, in the same period that the Dolphy Aid Para sa Pinoy Foundation Inc, a non-profit and non-stock organization, was also being created.

He received 21 recognitions in his career, but the most recent and special is the Grand Collar of the Order of the Golden Heart, conferred on him by President Benigno Aquino III in November 2010. The award is the highest given to a private citizen by the President of the Philippines.

Five years ago, Dolphy was diagnosed with a lung disease, COPD, which became progressive over time.

Dolphy son, Eric, likened his father’s illness to cancer. He said it made it difficult for him to breathe and triggered bouts of pneumonia.

Dolphy had been in and out of hospital since 2010. His latest confinement was on June 9. He died a month later. He would have turned 84 on July 25.

Let us look back to November 2010 when the President conferred the Grand Collar of the Order of the Golden Heart on Dolphy:


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