Cinema as a medium of entertainment is intertwined in our lives more than we realize. The glamour presented on the silver screen is what attracts us. It’s not just about shiny outfits and big-budget movies; it’s about a large group of people trying to connect with the stories and lives of the characters presented to them on screens.
When talking about cinema, one often forgets the sheer diversity of it throughout the world. Many countries followed the ‘ywood’ trend of Hollywood in their cinematic ventures. One of the countries that didn’t is the Philippines. The Philippines has a rich history when it comes to cinema, which goes back to 1897. And when talking about this, how can one not take into account the seven decades-long contributions of Eddie Garcia.
Eduardo Verchez Garcia, also known as Manoy was more than just an actor. He was a television personality, producer, director but, more importantly, shaped the Filipino movie industry with his portrayal of life-like characters.
Eddie Garcia, born in Sorsogon, a province in the Philippines, joined the Philippine Scouts and was prepared to lead his life as a respectable soldier and die a colonel. Being an actor was an accident he never anticipated. His friend insisted he auditions for a movie. Siete Infantes de Lara, a feature film directed by the late Manuel Conde, was the big break of Eddie Garcia into Show Business.
From there, it was an upward trajectory as he landed another project the same year. A seven-decade long career with versatile roles and charismatic performance is what Eddie Garcia is remembered by. Owing to his Hispanic features, he was mostly cast as a villain in the early years of his career. His undoubtful portrayal of fearsome, loathed anti-heroes gave a new dimension to the role itself.
What made Eddie Garcia Famous Worldwide
Eddie Garcia won the Filipino Academy of Movie Arts and Sciences Awards (FAMAS) for ‘Best Supporting Actor’ for three consecutive years from 1957 to 1959 for his movies Taga sa Bato (1957), Condenado (1958), and Tanikalang Apoy (1959). His success in unilateral roles didn’t restrict him for long.
As Eddie Garcia’s movies started to stir public response, he explored and experimented with different character roles. It was the 70’s. The Filipino Cinema was undergoing a paradigm shift from traditional hero-antihero movies to the more serious realistic cinema. And the actor who went according to the direction was the breeze was none other than Eddie Garcia. In 1971, he took a bold step to play a gay character on the screen in Tubog sa Ginto. This movie took a step back from the usual comic portrayal of a gay man on-screen to a more serious and realistic presentation.
He could always surprise the audience. One of the aspects that made him so loved and famous was his versatility. Not only did he pay anti-hero roles, but he also portrayed comic characters, hero roles, and serious roles effortlessly. Eddie Garcia movies often left the audience in awe of his acting mannerism.
Eddie Garcia Best Movies
Some of the most famous works of Eddie Garcia under Sampaguita Pictures include Gilda(1956), Taga Sa Bato (1957), Sino Ang May Sala(1957), Condenado(1958), Kamandag(1959), Tanikalang Apoy (1959). He was under that label for 14 years post which he worked mostly with independent filmmakers.
At Cannes Film Festival in the year 2000, Anino starred Eddie Garcia, which won the grand prize in the short film category. It was his independent venture Bwakaw in 2012 that earned him his first international award at the 55th Asia-Pacific Film Festival in the category of Asian Film Award for Best Actor.
Apart from being a successful actor, Eddie Garcia ventured into the field of directing as well. He directed his first movie Karugtong ng Kahapon in 1961. Pinagbuklod ng Langit, an Eddie Garcia movie on the former President Ferdinand Marcos, won him his first Best Director award from FAMAS. This started another journey in his career that eventually led to him getting FAMAS Hall of Fame’s honor for his directorial ventures.
Another successful venture of his career was that of Television. He starred in television programs including Little Nanay (2015–2016) and Ang Probinsyano (2016–2019).
He earned his first Best Actor in a Drama Series award at the 2002 Star Awards for portraying the role of Leandro Montemayor, the fictional Philippine President in the television drama series Kung Mawawala Ka from GMA 7.
The Eddie Garcia’s Early Years and Family
Despite his wide-spread fame, he kept his personal life undercover. He was never in the rumor mill during his entire career span, nor was he linked to any of his co-stars. Eddie Garcia’s wife in real life was Lucilla Scharnberg, whom he met in 1927. From that marriage, he had three children- Eduardo Jr., Erwin, and Elizabeth. The tragedy was soon to follow in his otherwise content life when two of his children succumbed, Eduado Jr., in a bike accident and a heart attack that took Elizabeth away.
It was cancer that ended their marriage as Eddie Garcia’s wife in real life passed away in 1995. Post this, he was in a relationship with Lilibeth Romero for almost 33years, but they never married.
All the turmoil in his personal life didn’t stop him from moving forward in his professional life. All the directors that he worked with often described him as a decent and dedicated person. Eddie Garcia went on to become the most celebrated actor and director in the Filipino movie industry. His character ‘Manoy’ from various comic movies became an innate part of his identity.
Eddie Garcia earned 43 notable awards spanning his entire career. Even in the later years, he was known to be an active and determined person. But all good things come to an end.
On June 20th, 2019, the legendary actor Passed away at Makati Medical Centre. Eddie Garcia’s cause of death was earlier reported as a fatal heart attack. But on further examination, other facts were released.
On June 8th, the same year, while shooting for Rosang Agimat, an upcoming television series produced by GMA Network, Garcia tripped on a cable wire and hit his head on the pavement. This blow to his head proved to be fatal. His family later gave a statement saying the cable network’s delayed action on his fall was Eddie Garcia’s cause of death.
The Filipino movie industry lost its legendary actor in a tragic fall. A lawsuit was filed against the GMA network. The Department of Labor and Employment fined GMA Network an amount of ₱890,000 for their negligence and unsafe working environment.
Despite being 90 years old, Eddie Garcia still had the same charismatic presence on the screen and a booming personality. His noteworthy contribution Philipino movie industry will always be admired and celebrated.
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