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‘Regal Babies’

By Ronald Constantino

MOST STAR-STUDDED – Of the three major studios in the ‘80s and ‘90s – Seiko, Viva, Regal – the last, owned and managed by Mother Lily Monteverde, was the most star-studded. Its stars were billed “Regal Babies.”

Angel Locsin

In the ‘80s, Mother Lily launched to stardom the Underage 1 girls: Maricel Soriano, Dina Bonnevie, Snooky Serna. Then came the Underage 2 girls in the ‘90s: Ruffa Gutierrez, Aiko Melendez, Carmina Villarroel.

Regal launched or re-launched to stardom Alma Moreno, Gina Alajar, Rio Locsin, Cherie Gil, Janice and Gelli de Belen, Maricel Laxa, Dawn Zulueta, the late Claudia Zobel, Joyce Jimenez, Kristine Garcia.

LEADING MEN – Consider Regal’s leading men: Richard Gomez, Aga Muhlach, Gabby Concepcion, and the brothers Martinez (Albert and William). Then there’s the late Alfie Anido, Joel Alano, Jimi Melendez.

Boyet de Leon and Vilma Santos starred in classics directed by Ishmael Bernal for the outfit. Tirso Cruz III teamed-up with Nora Aunor in memorable movies directed by Elwood Perez.

MORE ‘REGAL BABIES’ – The list is by no means complete. Suffice it to say that almost every actor in town – old or young, veteran or neophyte – had appeared in Regal productions. It was – still is – the dream of every newcomer to be cast in “Shake Rattle & Roll,” now on its 15th (16th?) version.

All those years, Mother Lily’s idea man was the brilliant and amiable Douglas Quijano, sadly now gone.

Think of Orestes Ojeda, Anna Marie Gutierrez, Al Tantay, Jomari Yllana and brother Anjo, Assunta de Rossi, Richard Gutierrez, Jay Manalo, Angel Locsin (said to be a prodigal daughter), Judy Ann Santos, Cogie Domingo, Jackie Forster, Lito Lapid, Zoren Legaspi, Monsour del Rosario, Eric Quizon, Alice Dixson, Aiza Seguerra, Tito, Vic & Joey, Roderick Paulate.

PASSION – Despite the obstacles, Mother Lily continues to produce films, saying it’s a passion, a fever in the blood. Daughter Roselle Monteverde has now a big say in running Regal.

These days, a producer needs a network (TV-Radio) to promote films and build up stars. Or to partner with, say, ABS-CBN or GMA. Which Mother Lily rarely does… if at all.

Still, let it be said the Regal catalogue is the biggest, the most impressive.