The legacy of ‘La Primera Contravida’
The local arts scene mourns the passing of Filipino actress Cherie Gil. Her unfortunate demise was confirmed by talent manager Annabelle Rama and nephew Sid Lucero on Aug. 5.
Being the daughter of actors Rosemarie Gil and Eddie Mesa, it was natural for Cherie, as well as her brothers Mark Gil (+) and Michael de Mesa, to build a career in the entertainment industry. And throughout her years in acting, the 59-year-old performer became one of the most formidable Filipino actresses, cementing her status not only in the Filipino movie and TV landscape but also in local pop culture.
To celebrate her legacy as an actress, let’s look back at La Primera Contravida’s iconic roles in movies, TV series, and in theater plays.
Kano in ‘Manila By Night’ (1980)
One of Cherie’s first acting roles in Filipino movies was in Ishmael Bernal’s controversial film “Manila By Night,” also known as “City After Dark,” where she portrayed the role of Kano, a lesbian drug addict and pusher.
Trining Ojeda in ‘Oro, Plata, Mata’ (1982)
During her almost five-decade journey in the industry, Cherie was able to work with the best Filipino filmmakers. Among them was the late Peque Gallaga in his film “Oro, Plata, Mata.” There, she brought to life Trinidad “Trining” Ojeda, the youngest daughter of hacienderos Nena and Andring Ojeda in Negros.
Lavinia Arguelles in ‘Bituing Walang Ningning’ (1985)
Starring opposite Sharon Cuneta, Cherie portrayed singing superstar Lavinia Arguelles. This was among the actress’ iconic roles, especially with her line, “You’re nothing but a second-rate, trying hard, copycat!,” being one of the most quoted movie lines in Philippine cinema.
Natasha Quintana in ‘Imortal’ (1989)
Cherie took home the Best Supporting Actress award at the Metro Manila Film Festival 1989 with her role as Natasha Quintana in “Imortal.”
Valentine in ‘Darna: Ang Pagbabalik’ (1994)
Among her notable villain roles on the big screen was her stint in a ‘Darna’ movie. In 1994, she donned the gorgon-like look as she starred as Valentine, the daughter of Valentina, portrayed by Pilita Corrales, the nemesis of Anjanette Abayari’s Darna in Lore Reyes and Gallaga’s retelling of the Pinoy superheroine’s tale.
Victoria Raymundo in ‘Marina’ (2004)
Cherie’s acting performance also graced the TV screens. She portrayed Victoria Raymundo in “Marina,” a witch whose heart was broken by her great love Elias performed by Joel Torre.
Regina Cadena in ‘Sonata’ (2013)
Cherie once again starred in a Reyes-Gallaga film in 2013. In “Sonata,” she became Regina Cadena, an opera singer hailed from Negros who lost her voice.
Diana Vreeland in ‘Full Gallop’ (2014)
Cherie has also performed numerous roles on the theater stage. Among them was the former Vogue editor Diana Vreeland in the “Full Gallop” production, which she described as one of her toughest roles.
Sandra in ‘Mana’ (2014)
The Filipino actress made waves internationally, winning Madrid International Film Festival’s Best Lead Actress in a Foreign Film award with her role Sandra, one of the children of the matriarch of a prominent family in Negros.
Patti Medina in ‘Citizen Jake’ (2018)
Cherie took home her first Gawad Urian Award with her performance as Patti Medina in ‘Citizen Jake.” The Best Supporting Actress winner dedicated her victory to Filipino women.
Rest in power, Cherie Gil.