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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.

Oct 5, 2019


amalia fuentes in her prime, one of the most beautiful faces in local cinema

amalia with her nephew alfonso martinez

A BONAFIDE movie queen of the 60s, Amalia Fuentes, has passed. She's 79.

This is the official message from her grandson who has been looking after here, Alfonso Martinez (son of Albert and Liezl): "It is with great sadness that I together with my siblings Alyanna and Alissa, inform you that our Grandmother, Amalia Amador Muhlach has taken her last breath this morning in the Philippines. She is now reunited with her husband Joey Stevens, our mother Anna-Lissa Martinez and her ex-husband, our Lolo Bobby. We have prayed for nothing but peace for her and now she can finally rest. Our family only asks that you respect our privacy during this time and join us in praying for her soul."

And this is from her nephew Aga Muhlach: "You started it all for us. You have taught me so much in life. You were an inspiration. You treated me like your son. I’m at a loss for words. Go rest now. I know for sure that you are the happiest right now for you are at peace and most specially, reunited with ate Liezl. My growing up years was spent with you, tita. All my weekends, summer vacations, our trips to Baguio, in tali, in the states. Lahat na... Huling paalam, tita. Rest In Peace. You are with our creator now. Rest in HIS embrace. My dad, my mom, you ( my 2nd mom, ate liezl who’s always been a sister to me. I miss you all. I will miss you all forever."

Amalia is one of the two movie queens in the 60s, along with Susan Roces, and they're both with Sampaguita Pictures. Amalia Muhlach won in the search for a new movie actress in the movie "Prince Charming" starring Gloria Romero in 1955. She was later paired with Juancho Gutierrez who in a similar search for the movie "Hindi Basta-Basta".

They became known as Mr. and Miss Number One but Amalia was first paired with Luis Gonzales in "Movie Fan". Although she formed a love team with Juancho and they did several movies together, off cam, Amalia was on with Romeo Vasquez. They eloped and got married, producing a daughter, Liezl Sumilang, who is now also deceased.

Romeo left Sampaguita and moved to Tagalog Ilang-Ilang where he did action flicks. When Amalia followed him and they were paired in 'Ako'y Iyong-Iyo', it was a huge blockbuster. Eventually they parted ways, Romeo lived in the US, but when he made a comeback, it was in a movie with Amalia, "Puede Ako, Puede Ka Pa Ba?", again a huge blockbuster.

For us, the most memorable films of Amalia are the comedies she did like "Ismol Bat Teribol", "Amaliang Mali-Mali", and the movies she did with her rival, Susan Roces, like "Tulisan", "Amaliang Mali-Mali vs. Susanang Daldal" and "The Big Broadcast".
She won the FAMAS best actress award for her role as a vampire in "Ibulong Mo sa Hangin", which was directed by Gerry de Leon, produced by her own company, AM Productions. We were there when it had its premiere night at the Galaxy Theatre covering it for Channel 5, then the TV station of the Manila Times, the most circulate newspaper before martial law.

But her best films for us was "Ang Babaeng Hiwalay sa Asawa" (1976), where she played the title role, directed by Ishmael Bernal, and "Aguila" (1980), where she played the mother of Fernando Poe, Jr., directed by Eddie Romero.

We eventually became friends. She invited us for dinner to her home in New Manila. She would be very cordial to us everytime we see each other in social functions. Let's all pray for the repose of her soul.