MANILA — (UPDATED) Pioneering radio voice talent and veteran actress Laura Hermosa died of renal failure Tuesday at her home in Makati City.
“She died peacefully in her sleep at 7:45 a.m.,” her daughter, actress Tessie Tomas, told ABS-CBN News.
Hermosa passed on a month weeks after she recovered from COVID-19 infection.
A three-day wake and memorial will be held at Arlington Memorial Chapels Quezon City starting Wednesday to be followed by her burial this Saturday at Loyola Memorial Park in Marikina.
“She was an excellent mother to all of us, five boys and one girl, ako," said Tomas. “At age 10, around 1960, she made me her protégée, teaching me voice acting, kaya alam ko ang tawang mayaman, tawang mahirap at tawang hostess.”
Bibeth Orteza, head writer of Hermosa’s late '80s TV show, “Hapi House!” credits Hermosa for the success of Tomas’ career. “Kasi nga she taught her the rudiments of voice acting and styling.”
Orteza also cited Hermosa, a fellow Waray, as a calming presence on the set of “Hapi House!” that starred Tito Sotto, Helen Gamboa, Sandy Andolong, Aga Muhlach and the late Isabel Granada.
Hermosa made her mark as a radio talent beginning in the mid-1950s in the show “Krisalis” with the late great director Susana de Guzman and veteran radio artist Tina Loy mentoring her. Aside from voice acting, she became a director and character actress in such films as “Broken Marriage” and “Nagbabagang Luha”; and TV shows like “Maalaala Mo Kaya.”
Tomas previously documented her difficult journey of coming home to the Philippines from her home base in Isle of Man, United Kingdom to be with her mother. That included undergoing long quarantine in Manchester and Manila before she could finally physically reunite with her in her Makati condominium.
Tomas' son, Robin, also flew from New York City to be with his lola Laura.
“Sabi ko nun sa mama ko sa picture, 'Ma, antayin mo ako, nagsasagwan na ako mula Isle of Man and true enough, inantay niya ako," Tomas said. "Iyak ako ng iyak ... Eto ‘yung desiderata moment na gather your strength of spirit to shield you from any sudden misfortune."
Tomas also recounted how she surrendered herself and her desperation to God by praying the rosary. “And then I let go and let God,” she said.
In tribute to her mom, Tomas will start autobiographical work on the Laura Hermosa story that will also highlight her life with late husband, lawyer and part-time voice talent Fernando Hermosa.
Tomas’ consolation is that despite the odds of the pandemic, she was able to care for her mother until her last days.