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Mario Bautista, has been with the entertainment industry for more than 4 decades. He writes regular columns for People's Journal and Malaya.

Jun 26, 2012

As Actor, Writer & Director, The Late Mario O'Hara Leaves A Legacy Of Good Films

OUR CONDOLENCES to the family of the late Actor-Writer-Director Mario O’Hara who succumbed to leukemia on Tuesday, June 26. Born in Zamboanga with Irish-American ancestry, he has two brothers who also went into acting, Edwin and Jerry O’Hara. He started with theatre in PETA then branched out to TV when PETA took charge of “Balintataw” on ABC-TV Channel 5 in the late 60s. We were then working with the station’s film programming department and we’d see him and the late directors Lino Brocka and Joey Gosiengfiao as they meet with Cecille Guidote for “Balintataw”.

Mario left a solid body of work as his legacy. When Lino went into film directing, he also acted in films and his first memorable performance was in “Santiago” (1970), followed by “Tubog sa Ginto” (1971) where he played Eddie Garcia’s lover. His other memorable films as an actor are “Stardoom” (1971 – with Celeste Legaspi), “Tinimbang Ka Ngunit Kulang” (1974) as the outcast Bertong Ketong, and the “Bukas Madilim Bukas” episode of the trilogy “Tatlo, Dalawa, Isa” (1975) as the gardener-lover of Lolita Rodriguez. All these films were helmed by Brocka. On stage, we best remember him for “Flores Para Los Muertos” (a Tagalog adaptation of “A Streetcar Named Desire” with Laurice Guillen), also directed by Brocka.

He debuted as a writer-director in 1975 with “Mortal” (about insanity, starring the late Dindo Fernando), followed by “Tatlong Taong Walang Diyos” (1976) (where Nora Aunor was first acknowledged as an actress with her winning the FAMAS and Urian best actress awards). He was directing “Mga Bilanggong Birhen” for Armida Siguion Reyna after they did “Dung-Aw”, but they had a falling out and it was finished by Romy Suzara. His other remarkable directorial works are “Kastilyong Buhangin” (1980), “Bakit Bughaw ang Langit” (1981), “Bulaklak sa City Jail” and “Condemned” (both 1984), “Babae sa Bubungang Lata” (1998) and “Babae sa Breakwater” (2004). Let’s pray for the repose of his soul.