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Refreshing face, local Liz Taylor

By Ronald Constantino

BATTLE OF – The ‘60s saw the battle of two lovely faces. The Face that Refreshes versus the Elizabeth Taylor of the Philippines. Fans of that decade of course know that Highspeed refers to Susan Roces and Amalia Fuentes, the movie queens coming from one studio, Sampaguita.

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The refreshing face of Susan still graces television – the lola in “FPJ’s Ang Probinsyano” – and commercials like RiteMed medicine and Champion detergent. Sadly, the local Liz Taylor has been sidelined by stroke.

The widow of Fernando Poe Jr., Da King and National Artist, remains one of the most admired Filipinas. Equally esteemed is their daughter, Sen. Grace Poe.

Amalia and late husband Bobby Vasquez had a much loved daughter, the late Liezl Sumilang, married to Albert Martinez, a fine actor and more important, a good husband and father.

LOYAL FANS – Until the late ‘90s, there were loyal fans called Susanians and Amalians. Years back, Highspeed “made the mistake” of writing about billing of the two queens.

Highspeed got mountains of mails – no social media yet – defending their favorites. Even the entertainment media joined the fray (brawl?), if it can be called that. To think that Susan and Amalia were no longer very active.

FINE FILMS – Susan (Swanie) and Amalia (Nena) were FAMAS awardees.

Susan for Celso Ad. Castillo’s “Maligno” and Lino Brocka’s “Gumising Ka Maruja.” Amalia for Gerry de Leon’s “Ibulong Mo sa Hangin.”

FAMAS last year gave Susan and Amalia lifetime achievement awards, recognizing their remarkable filmographies.

Incidentally, both are mestizas. Susan has French and Chinese blood. Amalia has Spanish, German, and Chinese blood.

In the ‘60s there were popular actresses from other studios: LVN, Premiere, TIIP, Everlasting, Tamaraw, among others.

But the movie thrones belonged to Sampaguita’s Susan Roces and Amalia Fuentes.

More “lessons in cinema history” tomorrow.