Monday, September 9, 2013

*342. NANCY ROMAN: Magalang’s Sweet Young Thing of the Movies

SWEETIE-SWEETIE STAR. Nancy Roman was born as Alice Hollingsworth in Magalang, daughter of American Reston and Edelina Hollingsworh (nee Indiongco). She was a staple of :The Nite Owl Dance Party" on TV, before she was discovered for the movies, where she was known for her sweet, almost pristine image.

The first time I saw Nancy Roman on screen was in the very popular movie, “Darna at Ang Babaing Tuod”. She played the role of the sweet, goody-goody Angela, rescued by Darna (Eva Montes) from her evil sister-turned tree monster, Lucy (Gina Alonso).

It was easy to figure out who was the bida and the contrabida—their names gave everything away: Angela/Angel vs. Lucy/Lucifer. All thoughout the movie, Nancy Roman looked and played her part perfectly, what with her virginal mestiza features, pure and untainted. To think she came into prominence by being a regular presence in the rowdy, teen-oriented TV music cum dance show, the Night Owl Dance Party in the mid 60s, hosted by Lito Gorospe.

 Nancy was born as Alice Hollingsworth, the daughter of American Reston Hollingworth and Edelina Indiongco of Magalang, Pampanga. Her father died young, and her mother married a second time to Crisanto Garcia, a union that resulted in four more children—a girl and 3 boys. The television industry was but a fledgling business in the 60s, but it was attracting the attention of a young audience.

Channel 11’s Nite Owl Dance Party was one such hit program that catered to the yeah-yeah generation’s interest in combo music and dance. The show’s big attraction was the search for Miss Nite Owl Dance Party and the young Alice gamely joined, in the hope of winning a prize for the family. This exposure led to her being discovered for the movies by Ben Feleo, who introduced her to the producers at Ambassador Productions.

At age 16, she was cast in her first movie, “Batangueno Brothers” as the tomboy sister of the leading lady, Chiqui Somes, who played opposite Zaldy Zshornack. Though the film was not a hit, she was noticed by producers of People’s Pictures who offered her a 5-year contract, beginning with “Ang Batikan”, where she supported Celia Rodriguez and Maggie de la Riva. Secondary roles continued for Nancy in the popular “Lagalag” movie series.

 But her biggest break was in the aforementioned classic “Darna at ang Babaing Tuod” (1964), where her screen presence was duly noted by movie fans. In her next movie, Captain Barbell, she was elevated to stardom.

 When People’s Pictures concentrated on its cinehouse business, Nancy was released from her contract and turned freelancer, allowing her to do more movies and earn more. She also tried to step out from her goody-two shoes image by appearing in other movie genres—she sang alongside another Kapampangan ingénue, Helen Gamboa, in “Yesterday”.

She also starred in the youth-oriented “Swinging Jet Age” and the action-packed “Zaragoza” were two films done for Regina Productions. In the latter film, Nancy was paired with a kabalen, Jess Lapid. She would be linked romantically with this Porac native who was, at that time, making a name for himself in local Western and action movies.

Unfortunately, Jess Lapid was killed in July 1968, and her name was dragged into the tragic incident, tainting her sweet image. It was rumoured that the upcoming action star was killed because of her. Nancy had to lie low because of the Lapid case, but remembered her co-star with fondness. “He was such a very good fellow, thoughtful and considerate”, she mused, “I am very thankful for the good deeds he did for me.There will be no other man like him”.

 Her last movies were done in 1970: Servillano Zapata and Counter Attack. After that, she faded from the limelight and moved to the U.S. Though she never achieved the heights of fame that her fellow Magaleña, Liza Lorena (Elizabeth Jolene Luciano Winsett) accomplished, Nancy's image as a young, sweet ingenue who can never do wrong, endures on screen and in countless "Darna" re-runs on television.

No comments: