May 05
RITA GOMEZ – POSTWAR DRAMA STAR by Tante de Ramos  |  Posted in Articles  |  on Mon, May 5, 2014

Rita Gomez was born in Marinduque on May 22, 1935. Her parents were Angel Gomez and Luciana Arce. She finished her elementary schooling in a town in Marinduque but took her high school studies in Araullo High School in Manila. She was taking a journalism course at the University of Santo Tomas when showbiz intervened in the career course of her life.

She joined the Paquito Bolero Stage Revue which travelled throughout the country. They performed in dramatic and comedy skits and also dabbled in singing and dancing on stage. The revue’s other members included Victor Sevilla the grandfather of actress Jennifer Sevilla, Ely Roque, Ben Cesca, Patitom, Elvira Reyes, Teroy de Guzman, Pugak at Tugak, Dory Palancia, Flor Bien, the Bolero Birthstones Girls of movie director Paquito Bolero, the Tango Ala Valento and the Charlestons with Dory Palacio, Lilian Castillo, Teresita, Johnny Aneleta, Rudy Velasco, and Teddy Domingo.

Starring in drama plays were Victor Sevilla, Rita Gomez, Ely Roque, Tony Gonzeles, Ben Cosca, Tugak, Pugak, Flor Bien and Pato. The group even performed in Bacolod City with troupe guest star Elvira Reyes joining the stage performance.

Rita Gomez was introduced by character actress Leonora Ruiz to Doña Adela Santiago, the owner of Premiere Productions. She first appeared in Salome with Leila Morena as the leading lady. Records, however, showed that Rita first appeared as an extra with bit roles in Nanay Ko which starred Carmen Rosales and directed by Fernando Poe Sr. under his Royal Productions in 1950.

Rita Gomez is best remembered in 1952’s Sawa sa Lumang Simboryo in her supporting role as a bandit queen which starred Jose Padilla Jr. and Anita Linda. Her role as a villainess earned her a Best Supporting Actress nomination in FAMAS.

A strike at Premier Productions forced her to sign an exclusive contract with Sampaguita Pictures thru Dr. Jose R. Perez in 1953. She had a starring role in Maldita which was followed by Reyna Bandida with co-star Cesar Ramirez. She and Lolita Rodriguez reigned as the drama queens of the studio outfit. Her most memorable films included Society Girl (1956), Diyosa (1957), a fantasy film where she transfigures into dancing water Ric Rodrigo, Talipandas (1958) where she won as FAMAS best actress, then Kamandag (1959), Tatlong Magdalena (1960), and Kidnapped (1060) with Tito Galla.

She freelanced in the late 1960s and appeared in such films as Ito Ba ang Aking Ina, Ako’y Tao…May Dugo at Laman (1970) Bakit Ako Pa? (1970) where she won best actress awards in FAMAS and the Metro Manila Film Festival then Pagdating sa Dulo (91971) the fist film as director by National Artist for Film Ishmael Bernal.

In 1983, she migrated to the U.S. but returned two years later to appear in movies like Bomba Queen, Gamitin Mo Ako and Ina, Kasusuklaman Ba Kita? Opposite Lorna Tolentino. All films were produced in 1985 by Seiko Films.

She also appeared in two television drama anthologies, Sangandaan and Balintataw. She also acted on stage for the classic Nick Joaquin play Larawan. A wide reader, writer and good English speaker, she was frequently invited by social clubs, schools and campuses for speaking engagements.

Miss Rita Gomez died of cancer on May 9, 1990 at her in Jamaica Estates home in New York, short of 12 days for her 55th birthday. In her deathbed were five children, including Ronald Bregendahl (an actor who was married to Cecille Castillo, also an actress) and Albert ‘’Jiggers’’Bregendahl, her sons with matinee actor Ric Rodrigo. Also present were her sister Cely, Rustom Quinton, a movie scribe, and Glen Yunker, Rita’s husband for four years whom she met while visiting a Manhattan video store.

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