7 Things We Will Miss About Manoy Eddie Garcia
For seven decades, Eddie Vercher Garcia entertained the public with his mesmerizing roles and inspired fans with his dedication to the art of acting and directing.
Based on the actor-director’s filmography found online, Eddie Garcia worked continuously from 1949—the year he was introduced in the film Siete Infantes de Lara—until 2019, the year he passed away. The listings on the Internet Movie Database (IMDB) and Wikipedia cite that Eddie had projects each year for 70 years, except for 1951 when there was no project cited in his name.
Authorities in cinema who hail Eddie as the “greatest Filipino actor who ever lived” are not far from the truth. No other Filipino screen performer, past or present, can match what he had achieved. The remarkable man had left behind a legacy of over 600 roles as TV/movie actor, not to mention around 37 motion pictures as director.
His output is beyond question. His numerous awards and Hall of Fame citations testify to his excellence as an artist. Yet what is more amazing about him is how he pursued excellence, both in his career and personal life.
Here are seven things we will miss about “Manoy” Eddie Garcia:
1. His charismatic screen presence
Tall, handsome, with striking Spanish mestizo features, Eddie made heads turn just by his looks. But it was his attention-grabbing performances that kept audiences hooked.
He was utterly hateful when he played a villain. Like that time he was Senor Griego, the wealthy, heartless man in Pati Ba Pintig ng Puso who moved heaven and earth to separate his grandson from the househelp the latter fell in love with. He was frightening when he played the hardcore ex-military man with dementia who tortured three young students in ML.
Eddie was seductively "makalaglag panty" in those sexy comedies he did in the 1980s. He fit the swashbuckling hero type to a "T" in the many action biopics that he gave life to in the 1990s.
When local independent cinema came to the fore in the new millennium, Eddie was often cast in the lead because of his range as an actor. Only an Eddie Garcia could pull off the temperamental oldie who is suddenly reunited with his ex-flame in purgatory, in the QCinema hit, Hintayan ng Langit, and the lonely senior citizen who found solace in the company of a dog in the international filmfest favorite, Bwakaw, for which he won Best Actor in the Asia-Pacific Film Festival and Asian Film Awards.
2. His multi-talented persona
Manoy Eddie was one of the few actors who made a transition to directing. And he was successful at that. After getting his directorial debut in 1961 with the film Karugtong ng Kahapon, Eddie went on to helm around 36 other motion pictures—more than a few of which starred celebrated actors.
Eddie directed several of Tony Ferrer’s Agent X-44 movies (the Philippines’ answer to the James Bond series). He also directed Nora Aunor in the unforgettable Atsay penned by literary giant Edgardo M. Reyes; Vilma Santos in many Viva classic dramas; Dina Bonnevie in Magdusa Ka! and Lorna Tolentino in Abakada… Ina.
After playing the father of Sharon Cuneta in her first film, Dear Heart, Eddie contributed much to the development of the Megastar’s career, having directed the singer-actress in films in the 1980s when she was starting out (PS, I Love You, My Only Love, Forgive and Forget, Cross My Heart, Friends In Love, Kailan Sasabihing Mahal Kita?, and Kung Aagawin Mo ang Lahat sa Akin).
The director’s hand was evident in the glossy, box-office melodramas that Viva Films eventually became known for; these include Sinasamba Kita, Palimos ng Pag-Ibig, Saan Nagtatago Ang Pag-Ibig?, and Imortal.
In the annals of the Filipino Academy of Movie Arts and Sciences (FAMAS), Manoy Eddie is the only artist to be inducted in three categories of the FAMAS Hall of Fame: Best Supporting Actor, Best Actor and Best Director.
I just saw this...My dear God, it is so hard to accept this...I love you, my Direk, my Tito Eddie...Thank you for all that you gave me, us...It is truly the end of an era. Hindi na maaaring ibalik ang napakaganda at kagalang-galang na kagandahan ng showbiz noon...Kokonti na lang ang mga artistang “old school” na napakalaki ng kontribusyon sa industriya at sa puso ng bawat Pilipino, at marunong trumato ng katrabaho ng tama, sikat man o “maliliit” ang tingin sa trabaho nila pero malaki naman talaga ang naibibigay sa ating mga artista. Maraming salamat po, Mr. Eddie Garcia. Walang sinuman sa showbiz ngayon o kahit sa mga ipanganganak pa ang puedeng umupo sa tronong iniwan ninyo...Mahal na mahal ko po kayo...May you rest in God’s arms and we, those who have had the privilege of working with you, shall remember all that you stand for, and do our best to keep your legacy alive, because you have made us all a part of it...?????? My heart is broken...
?????? Goodbye to this brilliant, beloved man.. A man who many consider a National Treasure of Philippine Cinema, whose film career has spanned more than 60 sparkling years.. I am honored to have had the distinct privilege of working with him in the 1996 Joel Lamangan film “Bakit May Kahapon Pa?”.. I will never forget his arresting professionalism, quiet handsomeness and gentlemanliness; such cool elegance! . . . You will be in our hearts for ever.. Thank you, Mr. Eddie Garcia ?? #RIP ???? . . 2 May 1929 ?? 20 June 2019 #ripeddiegarcia #EddieGarcia
3. His effortless versatility
How Eddie was able to navigate the landscape of roles for males is a study in great acting. From a town-screaming faggot in Paru-Parong Buking, to an elderly closeted gay in Rainbow’s Sunset, to a dirty old man in Ganito Kami Noon, Paano Kayo Ngayon, to his numerous action hero roles, Eddie was not just convincing, he was stellar.
Action, comedy, drama, period, romance, advocacy, single episode drama anthologies, teleseryes that ran for numerous seasons, big-budget mainstream films to modest-budget indies—Manoy appeared in all of these types/genres.
Audiences were enthralled, so were the award-giving bodies such as Cinemalaya, FAMAS, Film Academy of the Philippines, Gawad Urian, Golden Screen, Metro Manila Film Festival, and Star Awards for Movies.
But as showbiz observers and persons who’ve worked with the actor know, Eddie was never concerned with receiving accolades. He simply wanted to do his job well.
Diko mapaliwanag ang lungkot at sakit nanararamdaman namin ngayon. iniisip ko nalang po na ang Diyos ang may kagustuhan ng lahat ng nangyayari para sa atin. Maraming salamat sayo Lo sa lahat ng ating mga kwentuhan at tawanan at sa ating mga masasayang mga oras na magkasama. malayo man ang edad natin pero tinanggap mo ako bilang kaibigan mo. Hanggang sa muling pagkikita natin Lo mabuhay ka at alam ko nandito kalang sinusubaybayan mo kami. hindi namin kakalimutan ang lahat ng mga pangaral mo para sa amin isakang huwaran ng mabuting tao at mahusay na artista at direktor Mahal na mahal ka namin Lo!!! R.I.P
4. His exceptional work ethic
On the subject of professionalism, Eddie’s devotion to the craft was well known. He was not just on time for tapings and shoots; he came to the set early and prepared. “Nauuna pa sa crew,” director Dan Villegas said of his Hintayan ng Langit star.
Even in his senior years, Eddie was willing to shoot past the decent bedtime for people his age. He did not impose a cut-off on his producers because the actor believed that he must be present on the set until all his scenes for the day were finished.
Eddie’s level of commitment might have embarrassed his younger co-stars who ended up staying past their stipulated cut-off time of say, 12 midnight or 2 a.m. As one younger actress once shared, "Kung si Eddie Garcia nga walang cut-off, kami pa?”
5. His understated macho charm
Whenever Eddie appeared in public, he was always neat, dapper and well groomed. You probably won’t find a photo of him disheveled, or hukluban. He took care of himself. He went to the gym, had a fitness regimen, and was conscious of looking his best.
Eddie belonged to that era where movie stars were truly stars—luminous, fabulous and aspirational.
One lady who mistakenly walked into the restaurant where the ML press conference was being held couldn’t help but gush when she saw the octogenarian Eddie in person. She said, “Pogi pa rin after all these years.”
6. His profound simplicity and humility
Eddie was hands-on with his professional life. He made his own career decisions. He managed his schedule. He attended functions without an entourage. He organized his showbiz-related files. For an interview with writer Marra Llanot for a US-based magazine, Eddie brought a thick pile of personal photos and movie stills as visual support for the article. The actor carefully kept them all this time.
He responded to offers himself, not through a third party, like a manager or PA. Director Benedict Mique sent the screenplay of ML to Eddie, half-expecting the actor would turn it down. He was surprised that Eddie contacted him to accept. Mique recalls that Eddie’s answer was short and straight-to-the-point. “Sabi niya, ‘Direk, shoot na tayo.’”
7. His inspiring humanity
After news of his passing was confirmed, social media was flooded with photos of netizens with Manoy. There were so many selfies with him because the actor-director was known to never turn down a request for a photo op.
Although there was a grief, there was an outpouring of tributes from people who were touched by this man’s life.
Talented. Hardworking. Generous. Eddie Garcia is going to be one tough act to follow.
Photos from @dreamanila2020 and @abscbnnews