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Lolit and other drama greats

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RAMA GREATS – The death of Lolita Rodriguez in California is felt by all those who love drama movies. In the ’50s at Sampaguita Pictures, Lolit formed a triumvirate with two other drama greats, Rita Gomez and Marlene Dauden.

Miss Gomez has long been gone. She died of cancer in New York. Marlene is retired, based in California for several decades.

All three won their first awards (FAMAS) in Sampaguita films. When they turned freelancers, Lolit, Rita, and Marlene won more awards.

While Lolit and Rita didn’t appear together onscreen, they starred in the play “Larawan,” Rita as Candida and Lolit as Paula, spinster sisters during World War II, when Spanish values gave way to American ways.

Lolit and Marlene starred in those popular love-triangle movies, with Eddie Rodriguez as the man torn between two women.

MOVIE QUEEN – In the ’50s, Gloria Romero was the queen of Sampaguita, actually of Philippine cinema. She was identified with melodramas and comedies. Well, she won the FAMAS best actress award for a comedy, “Dalagang Ilocana.”

Much later, Glo turned into a very fine dramatic actress, while also meriting raves as the wacky landlady in the TV sitcom “Palibhasa Lalake.”

The most regal of all movie queens, Glo even appeared as witch in a Vilma Santos starrer.

By the way, as Sampaguita contract star, Glo was paired with Luis Gonzales, Rick Rodrigo, Pancho Magalona, Cesar Ramirez, Fred Montilla, and Juancho Gutierrez, who she married.

OTHER SAMPAGUITA STARS – There were other Sampaguita stars in the ’50s, among them Alicia Vergel, action queen who also excelled in dramatic roles. She is the first FAMAS best actress for “Basahang Ginto.”

From the ’40s, Carmen Rosales and Paraluman segued to the ’50s. They were honored with best actress trophies, Carmen for “Inspirasiyon” and Paraluman for “Sino ang Maysala?”

They were paired with Rogelio de la Rosa, Pempe Padilla, and Leopoldo Salcedo.

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