Apr 17
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The stars of the '80s: Where are they now?

Some of them are Ting Jocson, Myrna Castillo, Julie Ann Fortich and Opalyn Foster

Author: Butch Francisco
Column: Star Bytes

(First of Three Parts)

Oops! I just killed somebody. When I did a two-part Whatever Happened To... series on celebrities of the '60s and '70s in this column recently, I mentioned the name of former sweet star-turned-sexy actress Jessica (Pica, the surname she never used on screen), who I said was a product of The Nite Owl dance-variety program hosted by the "late" Lito Gorospe. My mistake. Somebody called up The Philippine Star office weeks ago and spoke to our Ver Paulino and to say that Mr. Gorospe is still very much alive (and I'm glad that he is because he was among the best TV announcers of his time). Lito Gorospe, in fact, hosts a radio program every Sunday (4 to 5 p. m. ) on DWBR. To Mr. Gorospe, I'm truly sorry. We may never have met, but I wish you the best -- and long life.

In line with that series of nostalgia articles, Tony dela Rea also wrote to tell me that former bombshell Jessette Prospero is still around doing character roles for Star Magic. Her equally sexy sister Jennifer, however, is now living in the United States.

From Lyn Ynchausti, I got this text message on the day Part 2 of the article came out: "So you still remember Love Admana (Dolphy's one-time leading lady who later joined the 1974 Mutya ng Pilipinas and won Miss Photogenic)? I've been trying to locate her myself. Did you know that she was with me when I first met Pip (Tirso Cruz, her husband)? After her vacation here in 1980, I didn't hear from her anymore. Please let me know in case you hear anything about her. "

Another reaction I got was from Alex Pei who sent an e-mail to say that the original co-host of Elvira Manahan in the first edition of Two for the Road was Joey Lardizabal. He writes: "After Mr. Lardizabal got stricken of cancer and which eventually led to his untimely death, they took in Eddie Mercado as Ms. Manahan's co-host in the same show. " * * *

I wasn't supposed to do the third installment of my Where are They Now? series until much later, but with the death of Michael Jackson, everyone is talking about the '80s now (he shot to fame in the '70s, but cemented his status as a legend in the '80s) and so let's go down memory lane again and go over the list of the stars during that decade.

And so whatever happened to:

Janet Bordon -- I believe she came into the scene in the late '70s (Biyak na Manyika if I'm not mistaken), but her career continued well into the '80s.

Julie Ann Fortich -- Launched to stardom in the last quarter of 1979 (in Mahal Kong Taksil), this former fashion model went on doing movies until the early part of the '80s (Apat na Maria, Palawan with the late Vic Vargas, Gabi ng Lagim Ngayon, Sampaguitang Walang Halimuyak, Tres Kantos, Kape't Gatas, etc. ). When the Hyatt Regency models had a reunion some three years ago at the Forbes Park mansion of the late Chito Madrigal, I saw her standing at the foyer and smiled at her, but there were too many people that time (Margie Moran and Bessie Badilla, among them) and it was impossible to talk. I badly so wanted to approach her and ask her what she had been doing (she didn't age much and is still lovely), but I never had the chance.

Josephine Manuel -- Wasn't she the girl who posed with a snake? That will always be her claim to fame. But she did a couple of films and one of those was Puede Ba, Utol, Akin Siya with real-life brothers Michael de Mesa and Mark Gil.

Junior -- Now 66 years old (can you believe that?), he was Vilma Santos' leading man in Good Morning Sunshine in 1980. Born Antonio Morales Barretto, he was born in Manila, but moved to Spain with his family when he was 15. He was already a popular singer in Spain when he tried Pinoy showbiz. After doing a series of local movies (another one of his films was Disco Madhouse with Lorna Tolentino and Rio Locsin) and record albums (Yakap is still memorable to me), he went back to Spain (his wife and kids were all living there) where he continued singing. Eventually, he managed the showbiz career of his wife, Rocio Durcal, but she died of cancer in 2006.

Roel Vergel de Dios -- He was the sexy actor whose family owned Milky Way.

Myrna Velasco -- Another rich girl who joined showbiz (some of her films were Enteng Anting-anting with Niño Muhlach and Nakakaaliw, Nakakabaliw).

Myrna Castillo -- She was the poor girl who was discovered by the late Rey dela Cruz living in a chicken coop. One of her films -- Ito ang Babae -- pitted her against the great Charito Solis.

Gil Guerrero -- Another Rey de la Cruz discovery, he did a few films in the early '80s where he was cast mostly in sex stud roles.

Ann Villegas -- I remember her to be an effective character actress (she appeared in a drama anthology once where she is shown suffering from a bad case of scoliosis and gave a moving performance). The granddaughter of Dely Atay-Atayan, she also did movies and among those was Ang Bagong Kardong Kidlat with Jess Lapid Jr. and Playmates with Lorna Tolentino).

Opalyn Forster -- She appeared in mostly Regal Films productions: Bilibid Boys, Blue Jeans and Bata Pa si Sabel as villainess to Snooky Serna.

Ting Jocson -- A Juancho Gutierrez look-alike, he appeared in High School Scandal, which was initially banned by the censors for reasons nobody knows. When it was eventually released, nobody wanted to watch it anymore and no one could tell what the fuss was all about since it turned out to be a pretty harmless film about the young.

Louella Albornoz -- A very funny lady who was always sidekick to Nora Aunor (they were together in Ibalik ang Suwerti and in the TV show NV Compound).

(To be continued)

Source: The Philippine Star