From his first film “Siete Infantes de Lara” in 1949, Eddie Garcia lit up the Philippines’ silver screen for a total of 70 years.
The post-war Philippine armyman from Bicol, Eduardo Verchez Garcia was transformed as a top villain in many potboilers of his mother studio Sampaguita Pictures.
Later he would excel as a director, writer, comedian and action star, earning him numerous recognitions.
Garcia still holds the distinction as a three-time hall of famer of the FAMAS Awards -- for best actor, supporting actor and director.
In the twilight of his career, Garcia was still on top of his game, crossing over from mainstream to indie movies and reaping awards for films like “Bwakaw,” “ML” and “Rainbow’s Sunset.”
It was ironically befitting that Garcia spent his final days still working. He was cast in a Viva Films comedy and a new TV series wth GMA-7.
Last June 8, he suffered a cervical fracture after an accidental fall on the set of the TV series shot in Vitas, Tondo, Manila.
Garcia had long prepared for his final curtain call.
“From my death bed, gusto ko diretso na sa crematorium and may kilala akong piloto, dapat ikalat ang aking abo sa dagat sa Manila Bay,” he said in a 2012 interview.
Garcia was among the few film greats who managed to keep his personal life private. But he was open about his love for businesswoman Lilibeth Romero, his partner for more than 30 years.
Along with his virility, his real age was one of the hilarious aspects of his showbiz publicty. It was only recently that he revealed he was born May 2, 1929 in Sorsogon.
With his work ethic and support of other co-workers, Garcia left an unparalleled legacy in the history of Philippine movies.
While solidifying the image of Nora Aunor, Vilma Santos and Sharon Cuneta in such movies he directed as “Atsay,” “Sinasamba Kita” and “P.S. I Love You,” Garcia also became an acting icon
in his landmark portrayals of the closeted husband in “Tubog sa Ginto” and the villain to Fernando Poe, Jr. in many of the movie king’s films.
And who will forget his endearing Manoy character in many of his action comedies? Above all, Eddie Garcia’s passion and dedication for the industry never dimmed until his last moments.
“Retirement? No! What would I do? I’ll just get bored, I’ll just be in the industry as long as it needs me. Manood kayo, hindi kayo magsisisi,” he had said.