Sunday, June 6, 2010

*201. LOTA DELGADO: The Star of Rogelio de la Rosa’s Life

LOVELY LOTA. Actress Lota Delgado of Angeles was on her way to becoming a major star when the War interrupted, and Rogelio de la Rosa's love beckoned. She stood by Rogelio even as he changed careers--from being in the movie industry to government service. 1953.

The charming Sampaguita contract star who became the wife of movie’s golden boy, Rogelio de la Rosa is, herself, a Kapampangan. Carlota Delgado was born in Camp Stotsenburg, Pampanga on 19 May 1921 to parents Luis Delgado and Caridad Concepcion. As a child, Lottie, as she was called, showed no inclination to the performing arts, and it was through a twist of fate that she found herself working in the movies.

In fact, she had started out as a secretary at Marsman office. In one Anti-TB gala ball she had to attend, Lottie was introduced to Pedro Vera, the big boss of Sampaguita Pictures. Mr. Vera encouraged her to enter the movies, but she demurred; she was not sure her parents would approve. Lottie was given employment anyway at the Sampaguita office, and it was here that she caught the attention of two kabalens from Lubao—the director Gregorio Fernandez and Rogelio de la Rosa, then a rising star.

The two convinced Lottie to do a screen test, to which she agreed. She registered so well on the screen, prompting one smitten reporter to write: “An eloquent personification of live youth and exquisite charm, her person is as eye-arresting as black against a background of white and vice versa. A complexion that is clear and fair, a height that is just right for one endowed with so great an amount of charm, a carriage that is impressively stately, a physique that is pleasantly slender and a smile that carries an eyeful of infection---all these are the fundamentals that justify Lota Delgado’s attractiveness.”

Immediately, the young ingenue now known as Lota Delgado was cast in her first movie made in 1938, “Magsasampaguita”, supporting Corazon Noble and Rogelio de la Rosa. Her first appearance on the silver screen was a pleasant discovery to movie fans who took note of the photogenic AngeleƱa actress. She then showed up next in “Takip-Silim” (1939). Though just a feature role (it was a Carmen Rosales-Rogelio de la Rosa starrer), Lota’s performance convinced even the studio skeptics that the young artist was somebody to watch.

She was kept busy at the start of the 40s decade. In 1940, she made five Sampaguita movies in a row ( “Gunita”—a musical, “Katarungan”—her first lead role with Rogelio, “Estrellita”, “Colegiala”, “Nang Mahawi Ang Ulap”). In 1941, she made a movie with Rogelio de la Rosa yet again--“Tarhata”. Rogelio, then already a superstar, decided to put up his own RDR Productions and invited Lota to do “Dalawang Anino”, with younger brother Jaime de la Rosa. Lota’s career was not only blooming, but also his love affair with leading man, Rogelio.

Just when Lota was hitting the apex of her movie career, World War II broke out, putting her stardom on hold. He forced retirement however, gave her time enough to consider Rogelio’s proposal, and on 20 September 1942, Lota became Mrs. Rogelio de la Rosa.

From then on, she opted to focus on her new role as a wife, and later as a mother of six children, 5 boys (Ramon, Rudolph, Reynaldo, Roberto, Rocky) and 1 girl (Ruby). She preferred to stay in the background and allowed Rogelio to run the show, so to speak. She would follow her husband all the way to the Mountain Province, where they not only had a Baguio home but also a ranch in Irisan, where she ran the de la Rosa household efficiently while managing a dairy farm. When Rogelio decided to revive RDR Productions, he convinced Lota to stage a comeback with him as her leading man in the 1951 movie, “Irisan”.

The death of Ramon Magsaysay in a plane crash in 1953 galvanized Rogelio to join politics. Magsaysay, the godfather de la Rosa’s only daughter, Ruby—had often prodded the actor to enter government service, and 4 years later, Rogelio was elected Senator. He continued his quest for presidency in 1961 and had excellent chances of winning. Eventually, he had to give way to the LP bet-- his brother-in-law, Diosdado Macapagal. Had he pursued his quest, Lota Degado could have been a First Lady—and a beautiful star at that! But she remained dutiful as always, standing behind her husband in his multi-facetted career as an actor, politician and a popular diplomat, until his death in 1986.

Lota Delgado would live for over two more decades in the company of her children with Rogelio, none of whom entered showbiz. One of the most beautiful faces to grace the silver screen finally passed away of undisclosed causes on 28 April 2009.

1 comment:

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