Naty Crame-Rogers, pioneering theater stalwart, dies at 98

Mario Dumaual, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Feb 02 2021 02:31 PM | Updated as of Feb 02 2021 04:23 PM

Naty Crame-Rogers, pioneering theater stalwart, dies at 98 1
Naty Crame-Rogers. Photo from the Facebook page of Dulaang UP

MANILA -- Pioneering theater stalwart Naty Crame-Rogers, best remembered for the iconic movie “Portrait of an Artist as Filipino," passed away on Monday at 10 p.m. at a Pasig City hospital due to complications of old age. 

She just turned 98 in December, according to her granddaughter-in-law, singer Sweet Plantado. 

“We would like her to be remembered as a great teacher and educator. She poured her life and energy for theater and arts, leaving a rich legacy,” Plantado told ABS-CBN News.

A giant in the Philippine performing arts in the second half of the last century, Crame-Rogers collaborated with several illustrious artists and their groups notably Severino Montano and the Arena Theater, couple Lamberto and Daisy Avellana and Barangay Theater Guild, and Rolando Tinio and Teatro Pilipino. She also established the Philippine Drama Company, Aming Tahanan Sala Theater in the 1960s. 

Her biographer, Amadis Ma. Guerrero, called her the last of the grand dames of the golden age of Philippine theater. Crame-Rogers was also nominated as a National Artist in the 1990s. 

Due to her advancing years, Crame-Rogers had steadily deteriorated in the last several years. Her family kept her comfortable at her residence in Kapitolyo, Pasig, where she hosted many impromptu plays with other theater artists in her halycon years. It was part of her advocacy to make theater alive and accessible even at the sala and other open spaces at home.

Guerrero also recalled that the wheelchair-bound Crame-Rogers was still in high spirits in 2016 at the launch of her biography in a venue near her home.

His book, “Naty Crame Rogers: A Life in Theater,” detailed her life as an actress, director, producer, author and drama teacher.

The 70-page book also traced Crame-Rogers’ education under German nuns at St. Scholastica’s College, University of the Philippines and abroad; and how she survived the second world war and met husband, Philippines Air Force pilot Colonel Joe Rogers. 

Guerrero also discovered that in 1946, she was one of the first flight stewardesses of Philippine Airlines.

The wake for Crame-Rogers will start Wednesday at Funeraria Paz in Araneta Avenue, Quezon City. She will be buried, according to her wishes, near the tomb of her late husband at Manila Memorial Park in Sucat, Paranaque at a date still to be finalized by her family. 

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