8 Mysterious Philippine Showbiz Deaths that Shocked Us
Showbusiness has always been magnified by the lens of fame and adulation. A simple event that could happen to anyone becomes tomorrow’s headline when it happens to a showbiz personality–whether it’s pregnancy, marriage, scandal or death. The public celebrates or grieves with the public figure.
The recent demise of film and TV director Wenn Deramas shocked the public once again. The director of the highest grossing film of all time, Beauty and the Bestie, and the classic teleserye, Mula Sa Puso, died from cardiac arrest a few hours after the death of his sister. This news has been closely followed by the untimely passing of another celebrated film and TV director, Francis Pasion, who was found dead due to cardiac arrest in his home. Pasion was known for the films Jay and Bwaya, as well as for founding the Loyola Film Circle and for his most recent work on On the Wings of Love.
Let’s look back at the shocking showbiz deaths that astounded the public with their untimely occurrences and mysterious stories.
8. Alfie Anido
One of the leading matinee idols of the 70s, Anido was one of the Regal Babies (with Gabby Concepcion, Albert Martinez and Maricel Soriano). He became famous through the films Temptation Island and Katorse, and his romantic link with Dina Bonnevie.
He died on the night of his 22nd birthday. The official reports say that Anido took a lot of drugs and shot himself after breaking up with then-girlfriend Katrina Ponce Enrile (who found out she was expecting after his death). Rumors have surfaced in the wake of the incident, but history has painted Anido as a troubled man who had difficulty coping. To this day, speculations about his death continue to be disputed.
7. Maria Teresa Carlson
Carlson popularized the line “Si ako, si ikaw” on the 80s hit sitcom Chicks to Chicks. In 2001, however, she committed suicide by jumping from the 23rd floor of her condominium.
The story became much more sensational when the allegations of domestic violence by her husband, former Ilocos Norte representative Rodolfo Fariñas, maligned the incident. Her maid said that hours before her death, she and Carlson went to Malacañan Palace and tried to see then-President Gloria Arroyo (godmother of Fariñas) to show a video evidence of the violence. Fariñas, living with the kids separately from Carlson, accused her of being “mentally unstable.” This incident, however open-ended, is one of the reasons Republic Act 9262 or the Anti-Violence Against Women and Children Act was signed into law.
6. Marky Cielo
His early death came as a shock to everyone–only 20 years old and at the height of his career. The first Ultimate Starstruck Survivor was found unconscious by his mother in his room. He was rushed to the hospital where he was declared DOA due to acute pancreatitis.
The night before, he was reported to have made unanswered calls to his manager. Then he had a personal discussion with his mother, with the latter advising him to sort out his problem: “Lutasin mo ang problema mo; ikaw lang ang makakalutas n’yan.” These fuelled speculations of a suicide with one theory saying this was precipitated by threats allegedly coming from the son of former Ilocos Sur Governor Luis Singson, Ronald Singson, due to Cielo being too close to Singson’s then-girlfriend Lovi Poe. Another far-reaching rumor is that Cielo committed suicide because of threats from his lover (also from the industry) to reveal their gay romance. The suicide rumors refuse to die, especially with the cryptic interview of Cielo’s mom in now-defunct show SIS where she stated,”Hindi ko alam kung pa’no namin malalampasan ang problemang ‘to sa ginawa ni Marky…”
5. Lilian Velez
Velez’ death punctuated her rising career in the 40’s. Launched into stardom by her rendition of Sa Kabukiran, she starred in films such as Binibiro Lamang Kita, Ang Estudyante, and Sa Kabukiran, directed by her husband Jose Climaco.
The perpetrator was her leading man in these films: former child actor Nanding Anzures. When LVN Pictures decided to cast Jaime de la Rosa as her screen partner for the next film, this made a distressing impact on Anzures, who was apparently obsessed with Velez, who was already married.
Anzures paid a 24-year old Velez a visit and stabbed her and her housemaid to death, all done in front of Velez’ daughter Vivian. Her story has been made into a film by Carlo J. Caparas, starring Sharon Cuneta and Cesar Montano. Anzures’ real motives for killing Velez were never substantiated, even until his death in jail.
4. Julie Vega
The mysterious death of soap opera actress Julie Vega borders the paranormal. The public grieved the premature passing of this FAMAS award-winning young actress that ended her own soap opera Anna Liza abruptly.
She was previously diagnosed with a form of demyelinating disease. When the condition became worse, the family had her confined to the hospital. She contracted bronchopneumonia which led to her death 15 days before her seventeenth birthday.
Because of the shockingly rapid turn of events, some speculate that her death was caused by a supernatural being’s curse or obsession with her, which probably took off from her role as a girl possessed by evil in Lovingly Yours, Helen. On a more earthly reason, some say Vega took a secret diet that lead her to death.
3. Rico Yan
One of the most heartbreaking deaths in showbusiness is Rico Yan’s. He became popular as one of this country’s heartthrobs through her TV shows like Gimik, Mula Sa Puso, and Saan Ka Man Naroroon.
Death paid Yan a visit on a Good Friday in Dos Palmas resort in Palawan. Co-actor Dominic Ochoa found him lifeless in his room. Official reports say Yan died of natural causes due to acute hemorrhagic pancreatitis but rumors spread is that he overdosed after breaking up with reel & real partner Claudine Barretto. Yan’s family has made it clear that there were no traces of drugs in his body.
2. Nida Blanca
The cause celebre of multi-awarded actress Nida Blanca’s death were followed by the public like her movies; all the sparing but surprising details can make up a motion picture of their own.
Blanca was found dead inside her car, parked in Atlanta Centre, where MTRCB used to hold office. Autopsy reports say she suffered beatings and was stabbed 13 times. The prime suspect was her husband, the American actor Rod Lauren, who was allegedly moved to action upon learning that Blanca disinherited him from her will. Suddenly, Philip Medel confessed that he was hired by Lauren to kill Blanca, only to retract it while claiming he was tortured by the police to confess. Lauren flew to the States before he was charged with murder. US court denied the extradition requests of their Philippine counterpart. Despite Lauren’s suicide and Medel’s death in jail, the murder of Nida Blanca remains an unsolved one.
1. Lino Brocka
Filmmaker Lino Brocka helped shape the local film industry and helped it thrive during the Martial Law era. With films like Maynila: Sa Kuko ng Liwanag, Bayan Ko: Kapit Sa Patalim and Tinimbang Ka Ngunit Kulang, he made it to the international film scene despite strict authoritarian rule.
Brocka died in a freak accident when their car, driven by actor William Lorenzo, crashed into a concrete post. They were both rushed to the hospital, where Brocka was declared DOA.
Bizarre gossip speculating on the accident started to spread in the narrow alleys of showbusiness, especially with the idea that Brocka and Lorenzo were together. One in particular says that someone influential had him killed when he walked out on the 1986 Constitutional Commission and refused to stop showing the subversive film Orapronobis.
What other local celebrity deaths shocked you? Sound off in the comments below!