Sunday, December 5, 2010

*225. LUIS GONZALES: Marcos of the Movies

LUIS FROM SAN LUIS. The handsome Sampaguita contract star was an all-around actor who did well in both dramas and comedy movies. His pairing with Gloria Romero is considered as one of the Philippines' most famous and successful love teams of the 50s. Ca. 1950s.

The handsome Kapampangan movie star who convincingly portrayed presidential candidate Ferdinand Edralin Marcos and helped ensured his victory was born Luis Mercado in the old town that gave him his name, San Luis. As a contract star of Sampaguita Pictures, he was introduced in the movie “Pilya” (1954) and was groomed as a romantic leading man for light drama and comedies. He was often seen playing the love interest of Rita Gomez and Lolita Rodriguez, both Sampaguita beauties.

But it was his pairing with screen star Gloria Romero that captivated legions of movie fans, even as Gloria had already been initially paired with Ric Rodrigo. The Gloria-Luis love tandem proved to be more successful and productive, a team-up that began in “Despatsadora” (1955) and which led to other blockbusters like “Artista” , “Hootsy Kootsy” (1955), Pagdating ng Takip Silim, Teresa, Vacationista (1956), Colegiala, Paru-Parong Itim (1957), Alaalang Banal, Palaboy, Ikaw ang Aking Buhay (1958), Sinisinta Kita (1963) and Show of Shows (1964). Together, they did about 30 movies.

The controversial movie “Iginuhit ang Tadhana” would catapult his name and Gloria’s in the forefront of Philippine moviedom—as well as national newspaper headlines. Produced in 1965 by 777 Films, the cine bio movie is credited with helping Ferdinand E. Marcos win the presidency. Luis ably portrayed the life of the Nacionalista Party candidate, culminating in his romance with Imelda Marcos, a role essayed by Gloria Romero.

Reviewed by the Board of Censors under Diosdado Macapagal’s administration on 24 August 1965, it was approved for showing, but its scheduled premiere at Rizal Theater was stopped by the Board. This sent a signal to the influential Manila press which suspected Malacañang meddling in this mess. As a result, the country supported the Nacionalista underdog and history was re-written with the defeat of Macapagal and the dramatic rise to power of Marcos.

Luis Gonzales would again reprise his Marcos role in the 1969 movie, “Pinagbuklod ng Langit” by United Brothers Production which won Famas Best Picture that year. The story revolves around the Palace life of the Marcoses. He was reunited with Gloria Romero in this propaganda movie.

Luis would continue to be active in the next decades and some of his memorable movies include “Tubog sa Ginto” and “Haydee” in 1970, where he helped launch the career of another Kapampangan, Hilda Koronel. (Much earlier, in 1956, he did a movie closer to home entitled “Pampanggenya”). He was in action movies ( Nardong Putik, Niño Valente, Kidlat ng Maynila: Joe Pring, Humanda Ka Mayor: Bahala na ang Diyos, Kamay ni Cain, Iukit mo sa Bala), comedies (Just Married, Do Not Disturb, Anak ni Waray vs. Anak ni Biday), drama (And God Smiled at Me, Pahiram na Ligaya, Nasaan ang Puso), fantasies (Madonna, Babaeng Ahas, Tiyay and His Magic Payong) and even teen-oriented flicks (Message Sent, I Think I’m In Love). In all, he was in over a hundred movies.

The versatile actor is married to an affluent socialite Vina Concepcion, whose family is engaged in electronics. They have 3 children, and a daughter, Melissa Mercado Martel, made news herself when she accused her husband, Robert Puyat Martel, of physical abuse and attempted murder in 2004. Luis Gonzales's last appearance on the silver screen is in the multi-episode movie, “Xerex”, shown in 2003. His last public appearance was in December 2010, when he received a star on the Eastwood Walk of Fame. Luis Gonzales succumbed to complications due to pneumonia on 15 March 2012, at the Makati Medical Center.


Sam said...

I knew it, sa Mercado pa lang na surname, natunugan ko nang Kapampangan si Luis Gonzales :)

And lately I am also reminded of him when I encounter the name of San Luis town. It is not really much surprising to find that Luis Gonzales was named after his hometown.

Thank you po for posting!

Anonymous said...


wayne moises said...

A remake of 1960's biopic about the story of Philippine president's life the first ilocano born leader was played by the late Luis Gonzales and Glotia Romero in a title role by the year 2013 a new filming project to be filmed in Batangas Bulacan Laguna La Union Ilocos Norte and Manila and the new role will be played by Piolo Pascual and Bea Alonzo as Ferdinand and Imelda Marcos in a new film soon as possible by Star Cinema ..thanks for the information about your comment in your opinion.from:Wayne

wayne moises said...

He is the veteran actor of Sampaguita Pictures star in several films television and media in Philippine history. Thanks! From:Wayne

wayne moises said...

I missed him now Luis Gonzales(1929-2013) R. I. P. Thanks! From:Wayne

wayne moises said...

She is the screen partner of Luis Gonzales is Gloria Romero she is a Filipina-American actress born in Denver CO in 1934 and a movie actress of the 1950's,1960's and beyond. Thanks! From:Wayne

wayne moises said...

A remake of 1965 story about the life of the Ilocano president Ferdinand Marcos soon to be played by Piolo Pascual to be filmed in Batangas Laguna Ilocos Sur Ilocos Norte La Union Rizal and Metro Manila as soon as possible by next year in 2015 by Star Cinema/ABS-CBN. Thanks! From:Wayne.

wayne moises said...

Bea Alonzo wants to portray Imelda Marcos in a biopic film together with screen partner Piolo Pascual as soon as possible. Thanks! From:Wayne