Norma Blancaflor, the beautiful actress with a heart shaped, reigned during the pre-war and postwar years. She was Lydia Jurado Velasco in real life and was born on October 27, 1919 in Tondo Manila. She was eldest of nine siblings of Gregorio Velasco and Maria Jurado. For her college education, she enrolled at the Manila College of Pharmacy and Dentistry where she took up studies to became a pharmacist.
She was encouraged by her friend Lilia Vizconde, an earlier actress of pre-war films, to try her luck in showbiz. Norma dared and the rest was Philippine cinematic history. Her debut film was a box-office hit to an audience who was then just discovering the magic of movies and films.
Even before the second world war erupted, Norma had already made several films. These included: Hatinggabi (with Paraluman), Sa Dating Pugad, Bawal na Pag-ibig, Binibini ng Palengke, Binibiro Lamang Kita (with Ely Ramos, Narding Anzures, Lilian Velez, Nati Rubi, Florentino Ballcer, Pugo and Togo). The last film was produced in 1941 and was directed by Carlos Vander Tolosa for Philippine Films.
In Dalaga, Isang Ngiti Mo Lamang (with Ely Ramos again), Norma won a best actress trophy while her screen partner was awarded the best actor plum. This was in 1940. The awarding ceremonies were held at the Metropolitan Theater and was sponsored by the Bureau of Commerce.
During the Japanese Occupation and when Filipino films were allowed to be made, Norma did Dawn of Freedom with Leopoldo Salcedo, Fernando Poe Sr., Angel Esmeralda, Rosa Aguirre and child star Tessie Agana. Several Japanese actors and actresses were included in the cast. This was produced by Toho Productions and directed by Abe Yutaka with our own National Artist Gerry de Leon credited as co-director. The film was also exhibited in Tokyo…
She also appeared in Tatlong Maria with co-stars Carmen Rosales and Liwayway Arceo, a novelist who was discovered by Japanese producer Eiga Hakiyusha. During the War, Norma also appeared in stage shows which were held in various Manila theaters like Lyric, Avenue and Life.
During Liberation, she signed a contract with LVN Pictures, Inc. and some of the films she appeared in included Victory Joe, Isang Libong Pisong Kagandahan and Voice of Freedom (with Rogelio de la Rosa), Manugang at Biyenan (with Ely Ramos), Bagong Manunubos, Honeymoon, Tanikalang Papel, Aladdin (with Jaime de la Rosa) and Puting Bantayog.
She made Miss Philippines in 1947 where she played a woman who came from a vaudeville family and pretended to be high society because her parents drove her to do this. The others in the cast included Jose Padilla Jr. and Letty Alonzo (the real-life wife of Mario Montenegro who portrayed the villain in the film).
She also appeared in Sumpaan with Ely Ramos again and Tony Arnaldo. She also did a 1948 Christmas film, Huling Dalangin with Tony Arnaldo, Jaime de la Rosa, Rosa Rosal and Victor Sevilla (the grandfather of Jennifer Sevilla). Tony Arnaldo’s wife was Susana de Guzman, a writer and a director. Arnaldo had some directing assignment for LVN Pictures, Inc.
She portrayed the role of the Virgin Mary in Ang Pagsilang ng Mesiyas which was made in 1952. The Infant Jesus was played by Tirso Cruz III and the film was produced by Lebran Productions.
She quit showbiz in the 50’s but was still accepting invitations and attending showbiz gatherings. Most of those she worked with praised her for being friendly and professional.
She made a comeback of sorts ion the 70’s, accepting character roles for some film companies. Her husband was John Robert Prince, an American, but they were not blessed with children.
In 1982, she was one of the Walang Kupas awardees alongside her contemporaries.
She died on October 12, 2004 of aneurysm, 15 days before she turning 85 years old. She was brought to the chapel of White Plains subdivision for the wake.
Actress Norma Blancaflor in Huling Dalangin with co-star Tony Arnaldo directed by Susana de Guzman,
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