REST IN PEACE: Movie queen Susan Roces passes away

Published May 20, 2022, 10:10 PM

by Robert Requintina

Susan Roces

Queen of Philippine Movies Susan Roces has passed away, according to an official statement from the Office of Senator Grace Poe released on Friday, May 20. She was 80.

The full statement:

“With great sadness, we announce the loss of our beloved Jesusa Sonora Poe, whom many of you know as Susan Roces.

“She passed away peacefully on a Friday evening, May 20, 2022, surrounded by love and warmth, with her daughter Grace, her nephews Joseph and Jeffrey and many of her family and close friends.

“She lived life fully and gracefully. Remember her in her beauty, warmth and kindess. She is now with the Lord and her beloved Ronnie — FPJ.

“We will miss her sorely, but we celebrate a life well-lived. Susan Roces — daughter, mother, grandmother, a true Filipina, and a national treasure.”

No other details were given.

Susan, wife of the Da King Fernando Poe Jr., is the adoptive mother of Senator Grace Poe.

Messages of condolences poured in as the movie industry was shocked by the news that started to spread on social media.

Susan was last seen in the longest-running teleserye “FPJ’s Ang Probinsyano” on ABS-CBN, where she had a recurring role as Lola Flora, grandmother of Cardo Dalisay, played by Coco Martin.

She was also appointed as one of the independent directors for the Manila Bulletin Publishing Corporation on Jan. 1, 2010.

  • Illustrious career

Born on July 29, 1941, Susan has had an illustrious life and career. A recipient of five FAMAS awards, including two best actress trophies, Susan starred in more than 130 films.

In 1952, Susan debuted in the movie “Mga Bituin Ng Kinabukasan.” Her other iconic movies were “Ang Daigdig Ko’y Ikaw,” “Maruja,” “Patayin Mo Sa Sindak Si Barbara,” and “Mano Po 2: My Home.”

In 2003, the Film Academy of the Philippines honored her with the Lifetime Achievement Award for her contributions to the Philippine cinema.

On Feb. 25, the Philippine Post Office immortalized Susan via the Philippine Postal Stamp.

“Isang malaking karangalan ang mapabilang sa Living Legend Series ng Outstanding Filipinos ng Philpost. Maraming salamat sa pagkilala sa aking pitong dekada ng pagbibigay ng aliw at saya sa sambayanang Pilipino sa telebisyon at pelikula. Maging bahagi sana ang selyong ito ng pagpapahatid ng pagmamahal at pagtataguyod ng pagkakaunawaan sa pamamagitan ng mga sulat,” said Susan in a statement.

  • Early days

It was reported that Susan was offered a movie contract on the spot at the age of 15.

That time, she went to the Sampaguita Pictures compound, hoping she could catch a glimpse of her favorite star Gloria Romero.

Dr. Jose Perez, founder of Sampaguita Pictures, reportedly saw her and was stunned by her mestiza features.

Perez immediately signed her up to star in her first lead role “Boksingera” in 1956.

Susan got her first Best Actress FAMAS nomination for the movie “Ana-Roberta.” She was later nominated for her other films “Maruja” (1967), “To Susan With Love” (1968), “Divina Gracia” (1970), “Bilangguang Puso” (1972), “Hanggang Sa Kabila ng Daigdig” (1974), and “Patayin Mo Sa Sindak si Barbara” (1974).

Finally, in 1978, Susan won her first Famas Best Actress award for the film “Maligno.”

At the height of Covid-19, Susan begged off from taping “FPJ’s Ang Probinsyano.” But she later resumed within the confines of her home.

  • No. 1 supporter of FPJ, Grace Poe

In 1968, Susan and FPJ were married on Christmas Day.

Susan became the No. 1 supporter of her husband, Fernando, when he ran for the presidency in 2003. She would join in almost all of his campaign sorties.

FPJ did not win the election. In 2004, the King of Philippine Movies passed away.

The movie queen was also supportive of Grace’s political dreams.

Grace ran for the presidency in 2016. She finished third.

In an Instagram post in 2019, the senator honored her mom with a touching message.

Mom, thank you for the sleepless nights, the band-aids, the nourishing meals, the shoulder to lean on. You have shown me that the love of a mother—biological, foster or adoptive—is unconditional and beyond measure,” wrote Grace.