Dolphy has touched so many lives that there will never be a shortage of people who could tell heartwarming stories, funny anecdotes, and little secrets they once shared with him.
This was revealed Thursday night as TV5 chairman Manny V. Pangilinan led celebrities, colleagues, and family members in eulogizing the late Comedy King at the necrological service hosted by Dolphy’s home network for the last two years of his life.
The star-studded affair was attended not only by TV5′s major talents but also by several generations of film, TV and recording stars, as well as relatives and countless fans, who turned the Heritage Park chapel in Taguig into a virtual jampacked movie theater.
Father Larry Faraon, who officiated the mass, shared his own memories of Dolphy and admitted he was a consultant for the comedian’s final film, “Father Jejemon”.
Father Faraon revealed that playing a priest was a longtime dream role for Dolphy who he described as a “god of humor” and a “god of comedy” in his revealing homily.
After the mass, Ryan Agoncillo hosted the program in which Dolphy was eulogized by colleagues and friends who encountered the late comedian at various stages of his life and career.
For Eddie Gutierrez who worked with Dolphy for eight films, the latter was the “perfect gentleman” and “the best dressed actor in Philippine movies” who aside from being a comedian was also a very good dramatic actor and action star.
Dolphy’s reputation as a ladies’ man was also confirmed by the former Sampaguita Pictures contract star when during a sortie in Japan, Dolphy attracted more women that he did.
In her tribute, television executive Kitchie Benedicto said that Dolphy never signed a contract with her station, the former Kanlaon Broadcasting System that later became Radio Philippines Network, despite being one of its biggest and most loyal stars.
Benedicto revealed that Dolphy and the late Ading Fernando, director of “John En Marsha” drove her crazy when they handed her a napkin instead of the proper script she required for every taping of the show.
“That napkin kept ‘John En Marsha’ on the air for 17 years,” she said as loud applause broke out.
Another highlight of Benedicto’s speech was a revelation of how Zsa Zsa Padilla, then a guest in a Dolphy special, first caught the eye of the Comedy King.
“When we did a Dolphy special the first time we guested Ms. Zsa Zsa Padilla, nag-connive kami ni pare. Sabi niya sa akin, ‘Mare, gawan mo naman ng paraan para humaba taping. I cannot forget that because Zsa Zsa was doing the song ‘Material Girl.’ It was so funny. I died laughing,” she recalled, with apologies to Vandolph, Dolphy’ son by Alma Moreno.
For her part, Mother Lily Monteverde of Regal Films pretty much said the same thing that whenever she would ask Dolphy how much would he want as his talent fee, the late comedian’s reply was simply, “Bahala ka na.”
Dolphy made five films for Regal, namely “Facundo Alitaftaf,” “Once Upon A Time,” “Daddy’s Little Darlings,” “May Pulis, May Pulis sa Ilalim ng Tulay” and “Darna Kuno,” where he made history of sorts as the first man to ever play the popular superheroine created by legendary komiks novelist Mars Ravelo.
It was then Niño Muhlach’s turn at the podium. He said Dolphy represented ordinary Filipinos and possessed the typical Pinoy traits of humility and resilience.
The former child wonder, who appeared with Dolphy in “Ang Tatay Kong Nanay” and “Nang Maghalo Ang Balat Sa Tinalupan”, added that Dolphy not hesitate joining the film crew in their lunch and dinner breaks during shoots and eat what they ate.
Comedian Long Mejia revealed it was Dolphy who first gave him his big break in show business when he cast him as a mainstay in the RPN-9 sitcom, “Plaza 1899”, even though he just wanted to be an “extra” at the time and was turned away by the network’s security guard.
“Sa tulong mo, naging artista ako,” Mejia said who also mentioned that he named his eldest son, Rodolfo, after Dolphy.
German Moreno made everyone laugh when the Master Showman attributed his lengthy eulogy to his signature catch phrase, “walang tulugan.”
Recalling the parallel paths he and Dolphy took starting with their vaudeville heydays at the Orient and Clover theaters, Kuya Germs later cited that it was as a pinch-hitter in the 1968 Dolphy starrer, “Artista Ang Aking Asawa”, that he earned his first FAMAS nomination.
Kuya Germs said that for reasons he would rather not say, Panchito, Dolphy’s late sidekick, did not accept the role and Dolphy made no objections when it was offered to him later.
In her short and simple speech, Claudine Barretto, who played the comedian’s daughter in “Home Along Da Riles”, said that her Tatay Dolphy taught her many virtues that she continues to keep in mind to this day.
“From him I learned not to be a show off in this business. To have no pretenses, fanfare and gimmicks,” Barretto said.
She did not attend the eulogy the previous night at ABS-CBN’s Dolphy Theater because she is now a GMA talent.
Willie Revillame said that there will never be anyone like Dolphy whom he also considered a father figure.
“Naging parang tunay na magulang ko si Tito Dolphy. Sa oras ng kalungkutan, magkasama po kami,” said Revillame who even mentioned a particular time when Dolphy told him about his own personal problems but asked Zsa Zsa Padilla to excuse him from sharing the details.
The lengthiest tribute came from Sharon Cuneta, who joked that she got her chatterbox training from Kuya Germs even as she surprisingly admitted that she was not that close to Dolphy unlike the others who spoke before her.
The Megastar covered a lot of ground in her tribute, including the love story of Dolphy and her close friend Zsa Zsa that she was personally privy to, her rejection by director Luciano B. Carlos at age 8 when she auditioned for one of the child roles in the movie, “Fefita Fofonggay vda de Falayfay” simply because she was too tall for her age, and her general frustration at not being able to do a film project with the Comedy King.
In referring to the National Artist recognition that Dolphy was denied until the very end, Sharon said, “Tito Dolphy is a National Treasure. We don’t care.”
Following Sharon, TV5 Chairman Manny V. Pangilinan pointed out in his tribute that it did not take much effort to get Dolphy to sign with the network.
“Three years ago we welcomed Mang Dolphy as a kapatid. But the truth is quite opposite. Saying he was already a kapatid was truth for all of us. He welcomed us,” MVP said.
When it was the turn of family members to speak, Eric Quizon spoke only briefly before deferring to siblings who belonged to previous generations of his father’s relationships including Dolphy, Jr. from former stage actress Gracia Dominguez Mariquita “Kit” Quizon from Gloria Smith, and Nicole, the adopted daughter of Dolphy and Zsa Zsa.
First up was Dolphy, Jr., one of Dolphy’s six children by former stage actress Gracia Dominguez, who served a prison term for arson, a crime the current Jesus is Lord preacher still maintains to be innocent of.
Dolphy, Jr. said his father had forgiven him and he and the other Quizon siblings have also forgiven Dolphy for his own shortcomings as a father.
He also asked Zsa Zsa Padilla for forgiveness for an incident at the hospital when Zsa Zsa was trying to get the comedian’s things and clothes “ready” even as he personally did not want his father to “go” just yet.
After his speech, he went up to Zsa Zsa and hugged her.
He also asked the medical staff of the Makati Medical Center to stand up and be recognized as he in behalf of the Quizon family thanked them for taking care of his father. Eric would later ask the MMC staff to come in front as he paid tribute to them anew.
For her part, Nicole said she never felt like an adopted child as his father loved her in the same manner he loved her other 17 siblings.
“The thing I love most about Papa is that napag-aral niya kami lahat and, ako laging sinusulat everywhere na ampon. May 17 siyang anak sa labas, isang ampon – ang minamasama sa TV – yan ang nagawa niyang mahalin ng lubus-lubusan. Lahat tayo minahal ni Papa. Lahat napagtuunan niya ng pansin,” Nicole tearfully pointed out.
Eric committed a gaffe he would later describe as a “senior moment” when he referred to Nicole as Zia after her speech.
Finally, it was Maricel Soriano’s turn to speak. The Diamond Star, who was introduced by Eric as an extended but equally valued member of the Quizon family, spoke about how she, a product of a broken home, was welcomed by her “Daddy Dolphy” as his own daughter.
“Nine years old pa lang ako alam ko I was hopeless. Ang gusto ko ipaalam sa lahat, I may be a product of a broken family in real life, pero nag-iisa lang ‘yung Dolphy na nakapagparamdam sa akin na hindi ka pwedeng product ng isang broken family dahil meron kang Mommy, meron kang Daddy,” Maricel revealed.
“Daddy I love you so much and I’ll see you soon,” she said at the conclusion of her speech.
The program ended on a touching note as the Quizon family embraced the MMC medical staff and once again thanked them for taking excellent care of their patriarch during the last month of his life.