MANILA, Apr 18 (Mabuhay) — Gloria Sevilla, best known for her legacy of unforgettable screen portrayals in Tagalog and Visayan movies since the 1950s, died Saturday in Oakland, California. She was 90.
Sevilla’s daughter, actress-director Suzette Ranillo, said that she passed on in her sleep at the house of her brother Jonathan.
A multi awarded actress, Sevilla earned the title “Queen of Visayan Movies” for scores of unforgettable films such as “Leonora,” “Pailub Lang,” “Badlis sa Kinabuhi,” and “Gimingaw Ako,” among others. She won two Famas best actress awards for her performances in “Badlis sa Kinabuhi” in 1969 and “Gimingaw Ako” in the early 1970s.
She is also best remembered for her sensitive portrayals in the 1962 film “Madugong Paghihiganti” where she won Famas best supporting actress; “Minsa’y Isang Gamu-Gamo,” “Boy Golden,” ”Banaue,” “Ito Ang Pilipino” and “Maestra.”
The actress remained active on television before the pandemic, appearing in various character roles in “Be Careful With My Heart,” “Nathaniel,” “Kailangan Ko’y Ikaw,” “FPJ’s Ang Probinsyano” and “Asintado.”
She married fellow actor Mat Ranillo Jr., also known in the 1960s as the King of Visayan Movies. The couple had five children, including Mat Ranillo III and Suzette who also excelled in the movie industry. Ranillo Jr. died in a plane crash in 1969.
Sevilla later married her second husband, fellow actor and later diplomat Amado Cortez, who passed on in 2003.
In 2019, the Gawad Urian honored Sevilla with a lifetime achievement award for her contribution to Philippine cinema.
She marked her 90th birthday last year with a virtual party with Balik Samahan, an esteemed group of veteran performer and lifelong friends.
“We shall miss her,” close friend Pempe Oreta said. “It’s a blessing she passed on quietly on the eve of Easter Sunday.”
In a media statement released late Sunday through Suzette, the Sevilla family said, “We will cherish the love of friends fans who supported her from her younger days as the inimitable Queen of Visayan Cinema as well as her critically-recognized and awarded performances in mainstream films and television drama. The Ranillo-Cortez family appreciates the prayers offered for Gloria while awaiting the funeral arrangements to be held in the U.S. and in the Philippines.”