Fernando Poe Jr.
- Ronald Allan Poe
August 20, 1939
- Date of Death
- December 14, 2004 (age 65)
- Actor, Politician, Film Producer, Film Director, Screenwriter
- Susan Roces
- Fernando Poe, Sr., Elizabeth Kelley y Gatbonton
Ronald Allan Poe y Kelley (August 20, 1939 – December 14, 2004), better known as Fernando Poe, Jr. and colloquially known as FPJ and Da King, was a Filipino actor. During the latter part of his career, he unsuccessfully ran for President of the Philippines in the 2004 presidential election against the incumbent president Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo. He was dubbed the King of Philippine Movies.
He was posthumously declared a National Artist of the Philippines for Film on 23 May 2006 by President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo. The award was confirmed by President Benigno Aquino III on 20 July 2012, and given on 16 August.
Poe dropped out of high school to work in the Filipino film industry as a messenger boy, and was given acting roles in subsequent years. Starting as a stuntman for Everlasting Pictures, he was given a break and landed his first starring role in the movie Anak ni Palaris (Son of Palaris) at the age of 14. The movie was not a big hit. In 1957, the movie Lo Waist Gang made him popular, and the film was such a big hit that low-waist pants became a fad.
Known also as FPJ from his initials, Poe acted in a number of movies which depicted him as the champion of the poor and downtrodden. He also directed nine movies, under the pseudonym Ronwaldo Reyes. Reyes originated from the surname of his paternal grandmother, Martha. The name Ronwaldo Reyes also alliterates to Ronald Reagan, who like Poe, was an actor who later ran for President.
He established FPJ productions in 1961 and later organized other film companies such as D'Lanor, JAFERE, and Rosas Productions. In 1963, he testified against criminal gangs, known as the Big Four, who extorted money from the film industry. In 1965, he shared the lead in The Ravagers (in the Philippines this is titled "Only the Brave Know Hell"), a film depicting the United States and the Philippines working together against Japanese war time occupation. The film is considered one of the most influential Filipino films.
Poe became an award-winning actor and garnered the most best actor awards at the FAMAS. Among the movies that received awards were Mga Alabok ng Lupa (1967), Asedillo (1971), Durugin si Totoy Bato, Umpisahan Mo, Tatapusin Ko (1983), and Muslim Magnum .357 (1987).
Among his famous movies include playing Flavio in the mythical Ang Panday series, Kahit Konting Pagtingin, Dito sa Pitong Gatang and Aguila. His last movie was Pakners which also stars 9-ballbilliards champion Efren "Bata" Reyes.
Fernando Poe Jr., was the Koalisyon ng Nagkakaisang Pilipino (KNP)'s candidate for the 2004 presidential election. A public figure in his movie career and known for his charitable but unpublicized endeavours, he targeted his candidacy at the same poor whom he championed in his movies.
Poe accepted the nomination in December 2003 and was to be the opposition standard-bearer for the Philippines' 2004 presidential election. Some accounts portray him as a reluctant candidate who was only prevailed upon to accept the nomination by his best friend, former President Joseph Estrada. But other accounts say he was convinced to cast his bid for the presidency because of the overwhelming crowd that gathered for the first rally of the FPJ for President Movement at the Cuneta Astrodome in Pasay City.
Poe married actress Susan Roces (real name: Jesusa Sonora) in a civil wedding in December 1968. They later married in a religious service and among their primary sponsors were then-President Ferdinand Marcos and First Lady Imelda. Poe and Roces adopted a daughter, former MTRCB Chairman and May 2013 senatorial candidate, Grace Poe. Poe was also partnered with Anna Marin and had one son as Ronian and former actress Rowena Moran has one daughter Lourdes Virginia.
Although a famous public figure, Poe had been very reclusive about his personal life. However, in February, 2004, during the presidential campaign, Poe admitted to having sired two children out of wedlock.
Poe was admitted to Saint Luke's Medical Center in Quezon City on the evening of December 11, 2004 after complaining of dizziness at a gathering in his production studio during a Christmas party. He suffered from a stroke and slipped into a coma while being treated for a brain clot. Doctors described his condition as a cerebral thrombosis with multiple organ failure. He died at the age of 65 on December 14 at 12:01 am, without regaining consciousness. Friends and allies from the movie and political worlds were at his bedside.
The nine-day wake was attended by hundreds of thousands, with organizers claiming numbers as high as two million. The funeral procession drew tens of thousands who crowded the streets of Quezon City, an event that was reminiscent of the funeral processions of Ninoy Aquino in 1983 and matinee idol Julie Vega in 1985. He was buried in his family plot along with his father and mother in North Cemetery, Manila, Philippines.
On December 14, 2012, Eight years after his death, FPJ was feted with a monument along Roxas Boulevard in Manila. The monument was unveiled Friday at the corner of Roxas Boulevard and Arquiza Street, with widow Susan Roces and daughter Grace Poe attending the affair.
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