- October 06, 1935
- Date of Death
- January 09, 1998 (age 62)
Charito Solis (6 October 1935 – 9 January 1998) was a FAMAS and Gawad Urian award-winning Filipino film actress. Acknowledged as one of the leading dramatic actresses of post-war Philippine cinema, she was tagged either as the "Anna Magnani of the Philippines" or as "the Meryl Streep of the Philippines."
Rosario Violeta "Charito" Solís Hernández was born in Manila. At age 19, she was introduced by her uncle, the film director F. H. Constantino to Doña Narcisa de Leon, the head of LVN Pictures, who cast her to star in her initial movie Niña Bonita, an adaptation of Frank Capra's It Happened One Night. The film was a success, and marked the beginning for Solis of a 43-year career in film that lasted until her death. Solis died on January 9, 1998 in Calamba City following a cardiac arrest.
Solis would star in well over 100 films starting with LVN Pictures' classics such as Niña Bonita (1955), Charito, I Love You! (1956), Walang Sugat (1957), Malvarosa (1958), Kundiman Ng Lahi (1959) and Emily (1960). Solis was featured in several of the best-known and critically acclaimed movies of Philippine cinema. She played the female lead in the 1962 film adaptation of Jose Rizal's El Filibusterismo, directed by Gerardo de Leon. She was frequently called upon by the country's leading directors to act in their films. Among her many films she also appeared in Eddie Romero's Manila, Open City (1967), Araw-Araw, Gabi-Gabi (1975) and Agila (1980); in Mike de Leon's Kisapmata (1981) and Batch 81 (1982); in Ishmael Bernal's City After Dark (1980) and Hinugot sa Langit (1985); in Lino Brocka's Init (1979) and Ina, Kapatid, Anak (1979); and as the narrator in Marilou Diaz-Abaya's Karnal (1982). Other notable performances of Solis were featured in Angustia (1963), Tatlong Mukha Ni Pandora (1963) and Magda Sales (1964).
From 1967 to 1971, Solis was under contract in Nepomuceno Productions. Her films for that outfit were Dahil Sa Isang Bulaklak, Ang Langit Sa Lupa, Luha Sa Karimlan, Manila Open City, Igorota, Ang Pulubi, Pipo and The Hunted. Considered by many Filipino film historians as her golden age, her association with Nepomuceno Productions elevated her to the status of the Philippines' premiere actress. Her performance in Dahil sa... earned her the Best Actress award from the Asian Film Festival. Thereafter tagged in her movies as "Asia's Best Actress" or any of its variants, she went on to appear in risque films as well as commercial successes. Her performance is also significant in Filipino film history because she is the first actress to ever go nude in a scene, albeit filmed in silhouette, for a film that was also the first Filipino film made in full color (Eastman color). Dahil sa... also brought a bonus to Charito Solis: with the film being the country's entry to the Best Foreign Film category at the Academy Awards (the film did not make it to the semi-finals), she and Luis Nepomuceno, the film's producer, were given tickets to see the 40th Academy Awards, the first Filipinos to ever do so. Following in their golden footsteps were Lea Salonga in 1993 (singer of one of the nominated songs), Pia Clemente in 2006 (the first Filipina Oscar nominee) and Charo Santos in 2009 (actress and TV executive, invited because her network, ABS-CBN, was the official Oscars carrier in the Philippines).
After her association with Nepomuceno Productions ended, she would appear in several more films such as inHindi Kami Damong Ligaw, Ms. Teresa Abad Ako Si Bing, Hugasan Mo Ang Aking Kasalanan, Babae Sa Likod Ng Salamin, Beerhouse, Babae Huwag Kang Tukso, Babae Ngayon At Kailanman, Walang Katapusang Tag-araw, Mga Tinik Ng Babae, Iwasan Kabaret, Hubad Sa Mundo, Mga Huwad Na Mananayaw, Init, Shake, Rattle & Roll, Alaga and Playgirl.
Solis became the first Filipino actress to play the lead role in an internationally-released Japanese movie, which she did in 1961 when she starred alongside Kojiro Hongo in Kenji Misumi's Shaka, a film biography on the life of Buddha. She appeared another Japanese film "The Princess and I" also produced by Daiei Japan which had its Philippine Premiere in Lyric Theater on Escolta on October 10, 1962. She also starred in another international production, alongside Tetchie Agbayani and John Saxon in Eddie Romero's Desire (1982).
Her performance in 1967's Dahil sa Isang Bulaklak, directed by Luis Nepomuceno, won her Best Actress award at the 1967 Asian Film Festival. She again starred for Nepomuceno the following year in Igorota, where she became the first Filipina actress to bare her breasts on film. Her role in Igorota won her the 1968 FAMAS Best Actress Award, one of 5 she would win during her career. Her other four FAMAS Best Actress wins came in 1959 for Kundiman ng Lahi; in 1960 for Emily; in 1963 for Angustia; and in 1983 for Don't Cry for Me, Papa. After her fifth win, in 1984, she became the first actress to be inducted into the FAMAS Hall of Fame. Solis likewise won the Gawad Urian Best Actress award in 1979 for Ina, Kapatid, Anak, and for Best Supporting Actress for in 1981 and 1982 for Kisapmata and Karnal.
In 1984, Solis won Best Supporting Actress for her performance as a narrator in Karnal from Philippine Academy of the Philippines (FAP Awards).
In the first-ever Metro Manila Film Festival held in 1975, Solis won the Best Actress Award for Araw Araw, Gabi Gabi and a Best Supporting Actress in the 1981 Metro Manila Film Festival for Kisapmata.
She received Ulirang Artista Lifetime Achievement Award from Philippine Movie Press Club (Star Awards) on March 1997.
From 1966 to 1968, Solis had a weekly TV show on ABS-CBN entitled The Charito Solis Show (1966 to 1968). In 1973, Solis also had a TV weekly drama show named Obra Maestra on RPN.
In the late 1980s, Solis won the chance to showcase her comedic skills, as well as to gain a younger set of fans, when she was cast opposite Vic Sotto, Alice Dixson and Aiza Seguerra in the sitcom Okey Ka Fairy Ko!. She played the imperious Ina Magenta, Enteng Kabisote's mother-in-law, a character which was loosely modeled after Agnes Moorehead's Endora on Bewitched. The popular show lasted 9 years and spawned several film adaptations that continued even well after Solis' death. Giselle Tongi took over the roll of Ina Magenta in the Enteng Kabisote movie franchises which she also grew up watching the show and idolized Charito Solis.