The death of Susan Roces will leave a vacuum in the film industry of the Philippines, Negrense actors said Sunday, May 22.
Negrense actors Joel Torre and Ronnie Lazaro, who worked with the veteran actress in “Gumising Ka Maruja” at the start of their careers and later in “Ang Probinsyano” where she played the role of Lola Flora, said they are saddened by her death on Friday, May 20, and have fond memories of her.
The death of Roces, 80, was very sad news, “she was such a mother to all,” Torre said.
Torre said he first worked with Roces in “Gumising Ka Maruja” that was filmed in Bacolod in 1978 and was directed by Lino Brocka. It was his first cameo role in a 35mm film, Torre said.
Later they worked together in “Ang Probinsyano”.
“We would converse in Ilonggo in front of the cast, and laugh a lot about our Ilonggo jokes. She would share food to everyone but we would exchange food to bring home. I would share with her our family chorizo from my sister and of course JTs food. We also would trace our roots from Iloilo”, Torre said.
Roces was born in Bacolod and studied at La Consolacion College in the city.
“An older cousin of mine shared that we are distant relatives…There was this Ilonggo bond between us…She has a special place in me,” he said.
Lazaro said “My thrill or my silly kilig is because my name is Ronnie. So when I would hear her say my name I felt like Fernando Poe.”
Roces was married to Fernando Poe Jr. whose nickname was Ronnie. He passed away in December 2004.
“Like an Ilongga she was malambing but don’t get me wrong she possessed strength that you dare not test. Like Eddie Garcia they worked like immortals. She will leave a vacuum,” Lazaro said.
Roces, who was regarded as the “Queen of Philippine Movies”, starred in more than 130 films and won five FAMAS Awards, including two for Best Actress.
“She was like a queen”, Lazaro said, adding that when he was around her he behaved.
“You behave. You want to be careful and you should do it right, at least that was for me, but she was always all smiles on the set”, he said.*