Hereunder is an alphabetical listing of the local actors during the heydays of Philippine movies– the time when Da King, the late Fernando Poe Jr., and the only actor who became president, Joseph Estrada, spearheaded the long list of bankable actors. They invariably included:
Jing Abalos – In the original Quadro de Jack, he co-starred with former Pres. Joseph Estrada, Jess Lapid and Jun Aristorenas under a J.E. Productions, Inc. project. He also appeared in Mga Hagibis with Eddie Rodriguez, Vic Vargas and Rosemarie Gil in a film which was shot at the century-old Mabitac Church in Laguna. He portrayed the caped superhero Batman with Dante Rivero as Dracula in Batman vs. Dracula which was produced by Lea Productions, Inc. He was also one of the local James Bond spinoffs as Alamid, Agent 777.
Alberto Alonzo – One of the original local James Bond spinoffs, he played Agent 69 in a film produced by Tagalog Ilang Ilang Productions in 1964. He also appeared in Dolls for Hire with co-stars Lourdes Medel, Merle Fernandez Miriam Jurado and Bessie Barredo. They were supported by Eddie Garcia, Tony Cayado, Ely Ramos Jr., Nort Nepomuceno, Romy Kintanar and the SOS Daredevils.
Eddie Arenas – He was introduced in a Rogelio dela Rosa-Carmen Rosales film, Iyung-Iyo. He also appeared in Kulang Sa Pito, the first starring role of Susan Roces, together with comedy king Dolphy and Norma Vales. He also starred in Señorita de Kampanila and Prince Charming, a Ric Rodrigo-Gloria Romero film which also introduced Amalia Fuentes (Miss No. 1 winner) and Juancho Gutierrez (Mr. No 1 winner). In Gilda, he starred with Lolita Rodriguez whom he will eventually marry. He was a contract star of Sampaguita Pictures Inc. of the Vera Perez clan. He also played a secret agent in Clandestine and Hammerhead.
Robert Arevalo – In Gomburza, he played one of the martyred priests Gomez-Burgos-Zamora with Tommy Abuel and Vic Silayan. He won as best actor and his wife Barbara Perez was best actress in the film Daigdig ng mga Api in 1965. In the socially relevant film Sakada, he played the role of a rebellious peasant and co-starred with Pancho Magalona and Gloria Romero, Tony Santos, Rosa Rosal, Hilda Koronel and Alicia Alonzo who played his wife. He also became a director and megged the award-winning Hubad na Bayani.
Jun Aristorenas – A stage dancer-turned-movie actor, he appeared in such movies as Johnny Tigre, Ronquillo, Ang Babaing Ito’y ay Akin (with Divina Valencia), Soliman Brothers (with Jess Lapid) and Ama Namin (with his son Robin Aristorenas). He was married to Virginia, acknowledged action queen of that time. His other movies included Quadro de Jack (with Pres. Joseph Estrada, Jess Lapid and Jing Abalos) which was produced by J.E Production Inc., and Tarzan and the Brown Prince where he co-starred with a foreign actor and Robin Aristorenas which was produced by Junar Productions, Inc. He also became a director later in his showbiz career.
Bernard Belleza – Another local secret agent portrayer, he married Divina Valencia and was the father of Dranreb. He appeared in Pambihirang Tatlo with Roberto Gonzales and Eddie Fernandez and Honey and West where he played a secret agent.
Bernard Bonnin – Known as the portrayer of the komiks character Palos, he made a series of films co-starring with Lourdes Medel who became his wife in real life. His other included Walang Pangalan (with Lilia Dizon, Lourdes Medel, Hector Reyes and Robert Campos) which was directed by Fred Daluz; Black Beauty (with Charito Solis in the title role, Robert Campos, Perla Bautista, Arturo de Castille, Carolina Herranz and Maria Miranda) which was directed by Susana de Guzman; and Bayanihan (with Nestor de Villa, Carmencita Abad, Manding Claro, Perla Bautista, Liza Moreno and Caridad Sanchez) which was directed by Manuel Conde. Most of his films were produced by LVN Pictures Inc. He is the father of Richard Bonnin and Charlene Gonzales, who is now married to Aga Muchlach.
Robert Campos – Another LVN contract actor, he appeared in Black Beauty with Charito Solis, Bernard Bonnin, Perla Bautista, Carolina Herranz, Maria Miranda and Arturo de Castille (directed by Susana de Guzman) and Walang Pangalan with Lilia Dizon, Lourdes Medel, Bernard Bonnin, Hector Reyes and Bella Lopez (directed by Fred Daluz). Other films included Navy Blues (with Pancho Magalona, Nida Blanca, Luz Valdez, Guy Donato, Pugo and Bentot) and Tatlong Kumando where he played a scout rangers with Pancho Magalona and Leroy Salvador with their love interests played by Carmencita Abad and Luz Valdez under the direction of Felicing Constantino. He played a prince in Si Marita at ang Pitong Duwende with Marita Zobel, Perla Bautista, Caridad Sanchez, Nora Dy. Rene Ibanez, Arturo de Castille and Pat Salem and Dinky Doo under the direction of Susana Guzman. He became the husband of Luz Valdez. Actor Guy Donato was his brother.
Romano Castelvi – He made in spy flicks like Cosa Nostra in 1965 and Cabonegro in 1966. He eventually settled in the States with wife Jean Lopez who was also a Sampaguita Pictures contract actress.
Manding Claro – The original teen favorite and idol. His first movie was Tinedyer where he played the lead role. He also appeared in Bayanihan with Nestor de Villa Carmencita Abad, Bernard Bonnin, Liza Moreno, Caridad Sanchez and Perla Bautista and Teenage Crush with Eddie Rodriguez, Tessie Quintana, Lita Gutierrez, Luz Valdez Marietta Sanz, Rene Ibanez and Fred Panopio under the direction of Tony Santos. He was undoubtedly a young matinee idol of his decade.
Rodolfo Cristobal – He was the lead actor in Ubos Lakas, an action film and also appeared in one of the episodes of Gabi ng Lagim with Ramon Revilla, Cecilia Lopez Myra Crisol, which was produced by Larry Santiago Production Inc.
Roland Dantes – A former Mr. Philippines and the top arnis expert of the country, he appeared winner he has appeared once as a lead star. He was with Fernando Poe Jr. in one film as a villain which was produced by FPJ Production in his own movie outfit FPJ Production, Inc.
President Joseph Estrada – The actor-turned-mayor-senator-vice president-and-president first appeared in Sampung Libong Pisong Pag-ibig in 1959 using Jose Ejercito. Considered as his first big break was Asiong Salonga, the bio-flick of a notorious Tondo hoodlum and kingpin in which he co-starred songstress Yolanda Guevara in a film produced by Larry Santiago Productions, Inc. He established his own film outfit, starting with Emar Productions then J.E Productions. His other films included Mamang Sorbetero with songbird Celeste Legaspi; Buhay sa Buhay with Susan Roces; Markang Rehas, Geron Busabos and Batang Quiapo with perennial leading lady Perla Baustista. He starred with Da King in Ang Agila at Ang Lawin. His sons Jinggoy (now senator) and Jude also became actors. His real name is Jose M. Ejercito of the famous Ejercitos of Pagsanjan, Laguna though he cut his political teeth in San Juan, Metro Manila.
Eddie Fernandez – He shared top billing with Roberto Gonzalez and Bernard Belleza in Pambihirang Tatlo in 1966. He was also one of the early James Bond local clones, appearing in David Martel as spy agent Lagalag which also became a series. He was involved in the killing of a Bulacan businessman and was jailed for several years. He was eventually released from prison with a pardon but was involved in an altercation in a checkpoint incident in Makati that cost him his life. Pops Fernandez is his daughter with Dulce Lukban.
Tony Ferrer – A theater usher-turned-actor, he shared top billing with Fernando Poe Jr., Romeo Vasquez, Von Serna and Jess Medina in Mga Tigreng Taga-bukid which was produced by elder brother Atty. Espiridion Laxa under Tagalog Ilang-Ilang Productions, Inc. He also appeared in Walang Ititirang Buhay with Aurora Salve, Rhene Imperial, Arnold Mendoza, his brother Nick Romano and Raul Aragon. Considered the most successful local agent character, he was secret agent Tony Falcon or Agent X-44. His most successful films included Sabotage and Crisis. He is the father of Maricel Laxa (with Imelda Ilanan) and Mutya Crisostomo (with Alice Crisostomo). His real name is Antonio Laxa from Pampanga.
Fred Galang – He starred in the filmization of Jose Rizal’s classic novel El Filibusterismo. He also played a secret agent in Kill the Magnificent Agents.
Tito Galla – The younger brother of movie queen Gloria Romero, he was introduced in Society Girl with Rita Gomez in the title role. He received various nominations: best supporting actor for Kidnapped (1959) and Isinakdal Ko ang Aking Ina (1960); FAMAS best actor for Dugo sa Aking Kamay (1961); and most impressively best supporting actor nominee for the Asian Film Festival for Dugo sa Aking Kamay. He also appeared in Balisong 29, Beloved and Tulisan with Amalia Fuentes. He was in the cast of the first bold movie Uhaw (directed by Ruben Abalos) with Merle Fernandez and Lito Legaspi.
Roberto Gonzalez – A reel and real martial arts expert, he first starred in films produced by his own movie outfit opposite popular and big actresses like Liberty Ilagan and Amalia Fuentes. Under Premiere Productions, Inc, he appeared in Pambihirang Tatlo with Bernard Belleza and Eddie Fernandez.
Eddie Gutierrez – One of the young stars of Sampaguita Pictures that also counted Susan Roces, Amalia Fuentes, Jose Mari, Juancho Gutierrez, etc., he appeared in Portrait of My Love and Rock Around the Clock, both musicals. He also tamed up with Susan Roces in such films as Eddie Loves Susie and Romansa sa World’s Fair. His other films included Eddie Long Legs and Joey, Eddie and Lito with Jose Mari and Lito Legaspi. Under AM Films, he made Santa Theresa de Avila which Amalia Fuentes and Pepito Rodriguez. He is married to Annabelle Rama, with whom he as siblings who also entered showbiz like only daughter Ruffa, sons Richard and twin brother Raymond, Elvis, as well as their half brothers Tonton Gutierrez (married to Glydel Mercado) and Ramon Christopher (former husband of Lotlot de Leon). His real name is Eduardo Gutierrez.
Juancho Gutierrez – He won as Mr. Number One in a talent search conducted by Sampaguita Pictures (with Amalia Fuentes as his female counterpart) and was eventually introduced in the film Prince Charming with Amalia though the lead roles were played by Ric Rodrigo and Gloria Romero. His other films included Pakiusap, Dope Addict, Sonata and Kaming mga Talyada which featured the special appearance of Christine Jorgensen. He also appeared in the films Señorita. Hani-Haninum and Eternally.He co-starred with eventual wife Gloria Romero in Sumpaan Natin Ang Inyong Lingkod, Gloria Romero and Just Say You Love Me.
Jess Lapid – The rise of Jess Lapid from stuntman to lead actor was replicated by his nephew and now Senator Lito Lapid. He appeared in Walang Hanggang with Fernando Poe Jr. and Amalia Fuentes. He was one of the Quadro de Jack, the three others being former President Joseph Estrada, Jun Aristorenas and Jing Abalos in a local western movie. He also made Soliman Brothers with Jun Aristorenas. His life story was made into a film where his nephew Lito Lapid portrayed him. He formed his owned movie outfit, Jela Productions. His son Jess Lapid, Jr. is now an actor-director.
Lito Legaspi – Another Sampaguita Pictures stalwart, he appeared in Joey, Eddie and Lito with Jose Mari and Eddie Gutierrez. He also starred in the ground-breaking film Uhaw with Merle Fernandez and Tito Galla. Unitl today, he is still cast in father or syndicate mastermind roles. His sons Zoren, Kier and Brandon are still busy in showbiz with Zoren having tried his hands with directing television telenovelas.
Ray Marcos – A character actor contract star of Sampaguita, Pictures Inc., he gained a lead role in the film Gold Bikini as an agent.
Jose Mari – He first appeared in Mga Anghel Sa Lansangan then Beatniks where he co-starred with Susan Roces as his leading lady. His other films included Operatang Sampay Bakod (with Amalia Fuentes, Dolphy, Panchito and Boy Alano); Tindahan ni Aling Epang (with Liberty Ilagan); and Kaming mga Talyada where he played gay roles together with Juancho Gutierrez, Tony Marzan, Rod Navarro, Charlie Davao Boy Alano, Bino Garcia, Eddie Garcoia and Dindo Fernando. Playing their romantic interests were Barbara Perez, Liberty Ilagan, Daisy Romaldez Naty Santiago, Meldy Corrales, Juvy Cachola, Nora Dalisay, Lilian Laing and even transvestite Christine Jorgensen. He also appeared in Barilan Sa Baboy Koral (a spoof of Gunfight at OK Corral) with Jean Lopez and Rodolfo “BOY” Garcia. Other films were Palaboy, Baby Face and Sugat sa Balikat. His daughter Ana Margarita Gonzales also entered showbiz. His real name is Jose Maria Gonzalez from Mandaluyong City.
Tony Marzan – Another Sampaguita Pictures mainstay, he appeared in Mga Ligaw Na Bulaklak with Romeo Vasquez, Susan Roces, Daisy Romualdez and Marlene Dauden. He was also one of the gay lead roles in Kaming Mga Talyada He was a perennial love team partner of both Barbara Perez and Marlene Dauden.
Diomedes Maturan – He was the grand national champion of Tawag Ng Tanghalan in 1958 and this boosted him into an acting career at LVN Studios. His signature song was Rose Tatoo and he was popularly known as the Perry Como of the Philippines. His first starring role was Private Maturan, a box-office hit film that co-starred him with Charito Solis. He then appeared in Detective Maturan as a private eye with Luz Valdez, Liza Moreno, Patsy, Lopito, Pugo and Caridad Sanchez under the direction of Natoy Catindig, Two other films included Botika sa Baryo with Marita Zobel, Patsy, Lapito Arturo de Castille, singers Rufina Esperancilla and Carina Afable and Tres Rosas.
Jess Medina – He starred with Fernando Poe Jr., Romeo Vasquez, Tony Ferrer and Von Serna in Mga Tigreng Taga-Bukid which was produced by Tagalog Ilang-Ilang Productions Inc. His acting career was cut short by an accident while hunting spree in a mountain.
Eddie Mesa – Dubbed as the Elvis Presley of the Philippines, he starred with Fernando Poe Jr. in Hawaiian Boy where FPJ played a boxer and he was a rock singer. He came under the direction of Chat Gallardo in Bon Voyage with Fernando Poe Jr., Leonor Vergara, Lani Oteyza, Bob Soler and Lily Marquez. He appeared in action and drama films with perennial loveteam partner Lani Oteyza. His sons Michael de Mesa and Mark Gil and daughter Cherie Gil followed his footsteps and those of their mother Rosemarie Gil. His real name is Eduardo Eigenmann.
Fernando Poe Jr. – Acknowledged as the King of Philippine Movies, FPJ or Da King will always be regarded as the greatest Filipino actor of all time. His films were myriad. Notable films included Ikaw O Ako with Romeo Vasquez; Mga Tigreng Taga Bukid with Romeo Vasquez, Tony Ferrer, Von Serna and Jess Medina; and Ang Agila at ang Lawin with former President Joseph Estrada. He also appeared in Markadowith Lyn D’ Amor (who became the wife of Rey Ramirez of the Reycard Duet. Fred Panopio sang classic theme song of this film which was produced by Hollywood Far East Production, Inc. He starred with Charito Solis in Sandata at Pangako for LVN Pictures. With his perennial loveteam partner Leonor Vergara, he made Bon Voyage, May Pasikat Ba sa Kano with co-star Chiquito, and Laban Sa Lahat. But he made many films with reel and real life wife Susan Roces. These included Bayan Ko Lumaban Ka, Ikaw ang Lahat sa Akin, the remake of Zamboanga, Perlas ng Silangan, Mahal, Ginagabi Ka Na Naman, Mahal, Saan ka Nanggaling Kagabi?, No Retreat No Surrender Si Kumander and Mahal, Saan Ka Natulog Kagabi? His brothers Andy and Frederick and their half brother Conrad also entered showbiz. His real name is Ronald Allan K. Poe from San Carlos City, Pangasinan.
Ronald Remy – He was introduced in Prinsesa Naranja which starred Fernando Poe Jr. and Lani Oteyza. He also appeared in Anak ng Bulkan which was a film where the young Ace Vergel (then known as Ace York) played the role of a boy who befriended a giant eagle. These films were both produced by Premiere Productions, Inc. Other Premiere Produtions films where Ronaldo appeared included Kalawang sa Bakal with Zaldy Zshornack and Pagsikat ng Araw, a musical with Lani Oteyza, Lily Marquez (who became his wife) and Al Quinn He also made Tabla Manalo and Kulay Dugo ang Gabi with Amalia Fuentes and Eddie Fernandez. His real name is Ronald Kookooritchin from Bicol.
Hector Reyes – A contract star of LVN Pictures, Inc., he appeared in films such as Walang Pangalan with Lilia Dizon, Bernard Bonnin, Lourdes Medel, Robert Campos and Bella Lopez under the direction of Fred Daluz. He became a loveteam partner of Chona Sandoval of the Salvador clan. He became a councilor of Pasig City.
Eddie Rodriguez – One of the greatest dramatic actors of Philippine cinema, he starred in such classics directed by Gregorio Fernandez as Kundiman ng Lahi, Luksang Tagumpay and Malvarosa with Charito Solis, Rebecca del Rio and Vic Silayan for LVN Pictures, Inc. He won a best actor FAMAS trophy for his performance in Sapagkat Kami’y Tao Lamang where he co-starred with Lolita Rodriguez and Marlene Dauden (who won as best supporting actress) under the direction of Armando de Guzman for Hollywood Far East Productions. He tried his hands in secret agent films like Paolo Staccato and Perro Gancho. He formed Virgo Productions with wife Liza Moreno, an actress-writer who wrote stories which Eddie acted in and directed. These films included Babae, Ikaw ang Dahilan, Kasalanan Mo, Ang Pagsintang Labis, Kapag Pusoy Sinugatan, Iginuhit sa Buhangin, Alaala mo, Daigdig ko, Bakit Ako Pa?, and Ikaw. Dubbed as the country’s drama king, he also directed Kung Kailangan Mo Ako (with Sharon Cuneta and Rudy Fernandez), Maging Sino Ka Man and Di Na Natuto (with Sharon Cuneta and Robin Padilla) Minsan Pa and Kahit Konting Pagtingin (with Fernando Poe Jr. and Sharon Cuneta). His real name was Luis Enriquez from Zamboanga City.
Lou Salvador Jr. – Dubbed as the James Dean of the Philippines, he and his sister Chona Sandoval topbilled Combo Festival which featured all the winners of the National Combo Contest. He first appeared in Bad Boy with Marita Zobel, in a film produced by LVN Pictures Inc. He also appeared in Pitong Sagisag with Efren Reyes Sr. and Jun Rosales (the nephew of Carmen Rosales) for Premiere Productions, Inc. He is the son of Lou Salvador, Sr. He is married to Genevieve Poe, a younger sister of FPJ.
Von Serna – He was one of the ‘tigers’ in Mga Tigreng Taga Bukid where he co-starred with Fernando Poe Jr., Romeo Vasquez, Tony Ferrer and Jess Medina. He also made Takdang Sandali with Gloria Sevilla, Amado Cortez and Mila Ocampo who became his wife. He is the father of child actress and eventually an actress playing adult roles, Snooky Serna.
Bob Soler – A basketball cager who became an actor, he is the cousin of Eddie Gutierrez. He appeared in Bon Voyage with brother in-law Fernando Poe Jr., Leonor Vergara, Eddie Mesa, Lani Oteyza and Lily Marquez under the direction of Cesar ‘Chat’ Gallardo. He also made Hindi Kita Anak with Mario Montenegro, Tessie Quintana, Eddie del Mar, Cynthia Zamora and Marietta Sanz under the direction of Teodorico Santos for Premiere Productions, Inc. He was once married to Elizabeth Poe one of the sisters of FPJ. His real name is Roberto Gutierrez from Bicol.
Willie Sotelo – Like Bob Soler, another former baskeball star, he first appeared in the 1956 film Easy Ka Lang, Padre. He was directed by Manuel Conde in Ganyan Ka Pala with Nestor de Villa, Nida Blanca and Lita Gutierrez. He also appeared in Medalyong Perlas and Xerex where he played the title role of a planetman. He is now based in California with his family.
Vic Vargas – He was discovered by Sampaguita Pictures owner Doc Jose Perez while teaching karate lessons in a TV program. He was given the title role as Diegong Tabak where he co-starred with Liberty Ilagan. He also made El Vibora, one of the early directorial jobs of Ishmael Bernal. His other films included Prinsesa Urduja with Amalia Fuentes; and Zamboanga with FPJ and Susan Roces. He also co-starred with FPJ in Mabuting Kaibigan, Masamang Kaaway. His real name was Jose Asuncion from Las Baños, Laguna.
Romeo Vasquez – A best actor awardee in the Asian Film Festival for his portrayal in Ako ang Maysala, He also starred in Lydia, Siete Amores, Wedding Bells, Isinakdal Ko Ang Aking Ama, Ginang Hukom, and Ako’y Iyong-Iyo which was all produced by Sampaguita Pictures Inc. His other movies included Ibulong Mo Sa Hangin, Hani-Hanimun, Sa Muling Pagkikita, Sa Digmaan at Pag-ibig, Ikaw ang Gabi at Ang Awit, Sa Pagsikat Ng Araw, Hanggang sa Kurtinang Bakal, Mariveles, Walang Wakas sa Matatapang, Pwede Ako… Puwede Ka Pa Ba?, Sa Aming Muling Pagkikita and Reputasyon. He co-starred witn Susan Roces in Bandana, Prinsesang Gusgusin and Maruja. His daughter with Amalia Fuentes, Liezel Sumilang, became the wife of Albert Martinez. His real name is Ricardo Sumilang from Lucban, Quezon.
Zaldy Zshornack – The star even before Da King emerged in Philippiine Cinema, he was at th peak of his career when he had as his loveteam partner reel and real wife Shirley Gorospe. They appeared in such films as Sweetheart, Shirley, My Darling and Hongkong Honeymoon where they were supported by Chiquito, Celia Rodriguez, Carol Varga and Teroy de Guzman under the direction Ramon Estella for People’s Pictures, Inc. His other box office hits included Obra Maestra, Fil-American Girl, Once Upon a Time, Basta Pinoy and Pitong Gatang with FPJ. His son Garizaldy also entered showbiz once. He was from the Bicol region.