Tony Mabesa, a pillar of Philippine theater, dies


Posted at Oct 05 2019 12:47 AM | Updated as of Oct 05 2019 11:28 AM

Tony Mabesa, a pillar of Philippine theater, dies 1
Tony Mabesa attends the celebration of 100 years of Philippine cinema at Sine Sandaan at the New Frontier Theater in Quezon City on September 12, 2019. Mark Demayo, ABS-CBN News

MANILA—Tony Mabesa, a stalwart of Philippine theater whose career spanned 70 years, passed away on Friday night. He was 84.

Mabesa was “surrounded by family and friends” when he died at 10:15 p.m., according to a family statement shared by Dulaang Unibersidad ng Pilipinas and playwright Floy Quintos.

“We thank you for your prayers. We hope you can respect the family’s wish for privacy at this time,” the statement added.

The founding artistic director of Dulaang UP, Mabesa staged dozens of productions over the years. He was both director and actor, with some 170 shows to his name.

Tony Mabesa, a pillar of Philippine theater, dies 2
Tony Mabesa (left) was last seen on the big screen in 2018’s ‘Rainbow’s Sunset’ opposite the late Eddie Garcia. Heaven’s Best Entertainment

Mabesa also made a mark in cinema and television. His last role was as recent as 2018, opposite the late Eddie Garcia in “Rainbow’s Sunset,” where they played elderly gay lovers.