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Rodolfo Vera Quizon, better known as Dolphy, was a Filipino comedian-actor in the Philippines. He was widely regarded as the Philippines' King of Comedy for ...
Rodolfo Vera Quizon, better known as Dolphy, was a Filipino comedian-actor in the Philippines. He was widely regarded as the Philippines' King of Comedy for his comedic talent embodied by his long roster of works on stage, radio, television and movies.
Dolphy was born on P. Herrera St. (Calle Padre Herrera) in Tondo District of Manila to Melencio Espinosa-Quizon, a ship mechanic, and Salud Vera Quizon (1904–1986), a home-based tailor, in 1928. He is the second of ten children. His siblings are Corazon, Josefina (Josie), Melencio Jr. "Junior" (1932–1969), Laura, Aurora (Auring), Jorge (Georgie), Jaime (Jimmy), Teresita and Jaime.
He started education in a public Grade School at the age of six where his favorite subjects were History and Arithmetic as he recalled in his biography.
His exposure to movies started while, as a young person, working inside the theater selling peanuts, watermelon seeds and jicama snacks, thereby he could watch limitless movies for free. Gone with the Wind was the first color motion picture film he saw.
World War II
Dolphy was about thirteen when World War II started. He did odd jobs including shining shoes; button-attacher at a pants factory; bottle arranger, classifying them according to size; stevedore at the pier; trading; and a horse and buggy driver. In his free time, he regularly watched stage shows at the Life Theater and Avenue Theater learning from his idols comedy duo Pugo and Togo, Robin "the fatty" Geronimo, and for dance, Benny Mack and Bayani Casimiro.
He started as a stage performer during the Japanese occupation of the Philippines. Dolphy was turning 17 when Benny Mack got him as a chorus dancer, one month at Avenue Theater and then he moved to Lyric Theater. He also appeared in shows at the Orient Theater. Golay was his first stage name. During air raids, they would interrupt the show and run for cover at the air-raid shelter in the orchestra section, together with the audience. If no bombs exploded, the show then resumed.
Movie and radio career
His first movie was when he was 19 in the movie with Fernando Poe, Sr. in Dugo at Bayan (I Remember Bataan), billed as Rodolfo Quizon. It was the father of his future friend actor Fernando Poe, Jr., who first paved the way and gave him a break in films playing bit roles as a character actor.
In the late 1940s, Dolphy also got into radio through Conde Ubaldo, a popular radio writer, director and producer. He joined the program Wag Naman which starred Pancho Magalona, Tessie Quintana and Baby Jane. His comedy duo with Panchito also started on radio on Conde Ubaldo shows.
Pancho Magalona recommended Dolphy to Dr. Jose “Doc” Perez, the owner of Sampaguita Pictures in 1952. His first movie with Sampaguita was Sa Isang Sulyap Mo, Tita, with Pancho Magalona and Tita Duran. It was also in Sampaguita were the comedy duo of Dolphy and Panchito became popular.
Dolphy became famous for playing gay roles after he was typecasted in Jack en Jill with Rogelio de la Rosa and Lolita Rodriguez in 1954. He was not the first choice for the role but Batotoy and Bayani Casimiro. Jack en Jill was a Philippine komiks serial by Mars Ravelo. This was followed with other movies adapted from komiks by the same author like Silveria, Captain Barbell and Facifica Falayfay.
The first time Dolphy played a serious role was in a 4-in-1 drama movie, with Barbara Perez who played a blind girl in the segment inspired by Charlie Chaplin’s movie City Lights.
After his contract with Sampaguita expired, he left the company. When he joined the production studio, his talent fee was P1,000 per movie. By the time he left, he was earning P7,000 per picture..
After leaving Sampaguita, he was practically jobless. Eugenio “Geny” Lopez Jr. got him into television on Channel 3. His first TV show was with ABS-CBN on "Buhay Artista" (Actor's Life), a concept by Geny Lopez and Ading Fernando. While doing radio, his talent fee was P250-P300 per program; when he did TV, he was at P500 per show.
While on television, he also started doing movies for independent studios like LEA Productions, Balatbat Productions, Filipinas Productions, Zultana Productions and Fernando Poe, Jr.'s D’Lanor Productions. He starred on two of his movies in 1964, Captain Barbell and Daigdig ng Fantasia (Fantasy World) with Nova Villa, both directed by Herminio “Butch” Bautista.
Dolphy established RVQ Productions in 1965. His first venture was Buhay Artista (Actor's Life), released in 1967, with Panchito, Susan Roces and Ronaldo Valdez whom he discovered. For Pepe en Pilar (1966), his picture with Susan, they wanted a new face as Susan’s partner. He saw Ronaldo in a basketball court and brought him to the press conference so Susan could see him. “Wala bang iba? (Aren't there anyone else?)” Susan responded. He brought Ronaldo to a barber shop, bought him a pair of boots at Glenmore and lent him his suit. When Dolphy presented him to Susan again, she said, “Iyan pa. (I prefer him more)” She didn’t know that he was the same guy introduced to her earlier. Then Dolphy changed his name to Ronaldo Valdez.
When secret agent movies became the fad, he also made movies as secret agent, first in Dolpinger (1965) as Agent 1-2-3 (a spoof of the James Bond movie Goldfinger with Agent 007). Chiquito, another Filipino comedian played Agent 0-2-10 in his movies.
In 1969, one of his biggest hit was when he first starred in as a gay leading character in 1969 for Facifica Falayfay, directed by Luciano “Chaning” Carlos with whom he worked in 23 of his movies. It was followed by Fefita Fofongay (Viuda de Falayfay) in 1973 and Sarhento Fofongay, A...ewan in 1974.
John en Marsha
John En Marsha started in 1971, a year before Martial Law, on RPN Channel 9. It was written, and directed by Ading Fernando. Boots Anson-Roa and Helen Gamboa were considered for the role of Marsha, his wife in the show before Nida, who was doing Wala Kang Paki with Nestor de Villa, eventually got the part. Before Dely Atay-Atayan, Chichay was also considered for the role of Doña Delilah, his wealthy and condescending mother-in-law. His real son Rolly Quizon and then child actress Maricel Soriano played their kids. John en Marsha was such a hit that movie versions of the show were made eight times.
In 1978, he returned to gay roles in the movie Ang Tatay Kong Nanay (My Father the Mother), directed by respected Lino Brocka. With him in the movie was Niño Muhlach, dubbed as the "child wonder of the Philippines", as the son of his boyfriend, played by Phillip Salvador.
Home Along Da Riles
His next successful TV venture after John en Marsha was Home Along Da Riles in 1992 with Nova Villa, as his wife and real son Vandolph, as one of his children. The show was followed by different shows with a play on the same title, Home Along Da Riber (2002) and Home Along Da Airport (2003).
In 2001, Dolphy played another gay character, this time with his sons Eric Quizon and Jeffrey Quizon playing the same character at three different stages in life. They all won the Prix de la Meilleure Interpretation in Brussels, Belgium for playing Walterina Markova, a transvestite in the movie Markova:Comfort Gay.
In 2008, Dolphy made a movie with Comedy Box Office King Vic Sotto in a comedy movie, Dobol Trobol, a movie where Dolphy played a chef and Vic a hotel resident manager. This was the first time a film was produced through joint ventures of RVQ Productions (Dolphy's Film Outfit) & M-Zet Films (Vic Sotto's Film Outfit) and APT Entertainment. The film also featured stars Carmi Martin, Riza Santos, Jose Manalo, Wally Bayola, Ricky Davao and more.
In 2009, Dolphy was cast as a retired senior citizen in Chicago who wanted to watch Wowowee in Manila entitled Nobody Nobody But Juan, and co-starred with Eddie "Manoy" Garcia, Gloria Romero, Joe Aldeguer, Pokwang, Giselle "G" Toengi, Heart Evangelista, Ya Chang, real life sons Eric Quizon, Jeffrey "Epi" Quizon & Vandolph Quizon.
In 2010, Dolphy played a priest in Father Jejemon, with his co-stars Cherrie Gil, Roy Alvarez, Maja Salvador, EJ Falcon, singer Ralph Salazar & Youtube singing duo Moymoy Palaboy & Roadfil.
Dolphy was never married and is public with his relationships and family. For more than 20 years, he has been with Filipina singer, actress and model Zsa Zsa Padilla. They reside in the Multinational Village in the city of Parañaque. In his latest book, he mentioned that he had five serious relationships before Padilla who bore him offspring. The last was with actress Alma Moreno, who gave him a son: Vandolph. Some of his kids are in the business just like their father.
Engracia (Gracia) Dominguez — an actress he met during a stage show (separated in 1963), six children: Manny (Manny Boy), Salud (Sahlee), Rodolfo Jr. (Dolphy Jr.), Freddie (Baby), Edgar, and Raul (Rolly).
Gloria Smith — an actress he met in 1956, four children: Mariquita (Kaye), Carlos, Geraldino (Dino), and Edwin.
Baby Smith — an actress whose screen name was Pamela Ponti, four children: Ronaldo (Ronnie), Enrico (Eric), Madonna (Dana), and Jeffrey (Epi).
Evangeline Tugalao — a nurse he met in the late 60s while shooting in a hospital, one child: Rommel.
Alma Moreno — an actress he met in 1981, one child: Vandolph.
Zsa Zsa Padilla, with whom he has two daughters: Nicole (adopted) and Zia.
He considers his kids his pride and joy, and he could easily name all seventeen of his biological children and one adopted daughter from the oldest to the youngest.
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