MANILA -- Carlos "Rusty" Salazar was at the peak of his career as a famous movie actor when he decided to leave showbiz behind to focus on his family.
Salazar was discovered after he played the lead role in a stage play at the Far Eastern University (FEU). After his performance, Fernando Poe, Sr., invited him for coffee and asked him whether he wanted to become a movie actor, boasting that he can make Salazar a big star in just a year.
At that time, Salazar was a college freshman and had to consult his mother first before deciding on joining showbiz.
Salazar soon became one of the most popular "bida-kontrabida" actors at the time, often portraying key characters in movies.
He was at the peak of his career, doing a minimum of four movies a year, when he fell in love at first sight with Carmen "Menchu" Fernandez, a commercial model.
"She's an angel. Maniwala kayo o hindi, wala pa siyang kinse, nakita ko sa studio. Kapag nag-iisa ako, parang humihiyaw ang damdamin ko, gusto kong makita 'yang babaeng 'yun," Salazar recalled.
"Yan palang pagmamahal sa tao, kapag dinilig mo ng pagsisikap at pagpapakasakit, yumayabong at lumalaki," he added.
Although his wife did not ask him to leave showbiz, he decided to do just, since he believed this would make her and their seven children happier.
"There are two ingredients dyan eh kaya ako lumayo eh. Nung naging medyo lewd, sabi ko, it’s about time I quit the movies. I’m leaving the movies because I want you to be happier," Salazar said.
After leaving the limelight, he worked as a singer in some hotels.
Salazar admitted that he missed working as an actor terribly, but his family is more important for him.
Fernandez died of leukemia last May. Before she died, the couple would always tease each other.
"During her last few months, she said: alam mo kapag ako namatay huhugutin ko 'yang paa mo. Alam mo sagot ko sa kanya? Mas gusto ko 'yun. Sabihin mo lang. Kung gusto mo huwag mo na akong pakawalan eh. Pero kapag ikaw na, inakap mo ako, hindi ka na makakabalik sa langit," Salazar added.