MANILA -- Veteran writer-director and journalist Nestor Torre Jr. passed on Tuesday, leaving behind a rich legacy in entertainment journalism and stage musicals. He was 78.
Torre’s nephew Jan Alexander Torre told ABS-CBN News that his uncle expired at the Sta. Ana Hospital in Manila at 8:29 a.m. on Tuesday due to COVID-19 and heart disease complications.
Boots Anson Rodrigo, a close friend of Torre and his family, said Torre’s remains will be immediately cremated at Arlington Memorial Chapels in Quezon City. His family has yet to finalize his inurnment at the Sta. Ana Church columbarium where Torre’s mother Isabel is also buried.
The elder Torre, who took care of her son after he suffered a stroke in February 2018, died at 100 years old last October 2020 due to advanced age complications.
“Tita Isabel’s death was a big blow to Nestor. That may have also precipitated the deterioration of his health,” Rodrigo related to ABS-CBN News.
Torre’s rise in Philippine showbiz started in the early 1960s when Rodrigo’s late husband Pete Roa asked him to direct ABS-CBN’s “Two for the Road” talk show with Elvira Manahan, Joey Lardizabal and Eddie Mercado.
Before this, the young Torre, fresh from his Master’s degree graduation in journalism, radio and television at the Northwestern University in Illinois, had also taught at the University of the Philippines where Rodrigo was one of his students in broadcast media.
He later co-hosted "Two for the Road II" with Manahan, Johnny Litton and George Sison. He also directed Pete Roa in “Sanlinggo”, a PTV4 talk show.
Torre also dabbled in movies in the 1970s as writer or director of such projects as Hilda Koronel’s “Crush ko si Sir”, “ Ang Isinilang Ko Ba’y Kasalanan” and the Joseph Estrada-Vilma Santos starrer “King Khayam and I.”
Torre also made his mark writing religious musicals like “Magnificat,” “Birhen ng Caysasay,” Pope John Paul II’s life story and the Padre Pio bio series, produced by Rodrigo’s foundation, PRIME, where Torre was a board member. He also directed musicals like “Katy” and “Chinoy.”
“He was an admired mentor, adviser, colleague, friend and loving son to his mother, and a decent man who nurtured professional and personal integrity to the end,” Rodrigo told ABS-CBN News.
Torre was also best known for his incisive columns and features at the Philippine Daily Inquirer where he worked for many years. With his wit and humor as a television authority, he reviewed many programs and also policed the many grammatical errors on national television.
Torre’s last public appearance was at Rodrigo’s 75th birthday in January 2020 before the pandemic. Together with his late mother, Torre savored the company of friends and colleagues from his halycon days.