Wednesday, January 02, 2008

EFREN REYES, SR.


EFREN REYES, SR. biography

Efren Reyes, Sr.

efren reyes sr

Date of Birth:
18 June 1924, Philippines
Date of Death:
11 February 1968, Manila, Philippines. (heart attack)

Aside from being an actor, he was also a director.


From Blast in the Past, Manila Bulletin

Efren Reyes—Known as an actor and a director of FPJ, Mang Efren earely in his career appeared in costume pictures like Carlos Trese, Prinsipe Villarba and Eskrimador with Johnny Montero as the villain. He also appeared in Don Juan TeƱoso with the comedian Lopito as his sidekick. In the film Bandido, he starred opposite Virginia Montes and Carlos Padilla Sr. and opposite Rosita Noble in Kapitan Berong. He made the classic Ifugao with Leila Morena, Leticia Ojera and Johnny Monteiro for Premiere Productions under the direction of Gerardo de Leon. Other films included Raul Roldan which was produced by MV Jr.. Productions. He was married to Virginia Montes. Their son Efren Reyes Jr. is still an actor-director today. His daughter Cristina Reyes was a movie and TV star, appearing as a villain in one the Dyesebel remakes that starred Vilma Santos.

He was the first Filipino to win an international award as Best Actor. He was also the film pioneer who introduced cowboys to Philippine cinema. His name was Efren Reyes Sr., Asian Film Festival’s Best Actor in 1955 for his powerful performance in Gerry de Leon’s film opus "Ifugao."

In 1947, ten years after Philippine cinema was born, Efren Reyes Sr. did his first film, "Hagibis." There was no stopping for him since then. He was a contract star of Premiere Productions and appeared mostly in action movies & costume epics. At his prime, he was most in-demand, and made more films than his contemporaries.

"During his time, the major studios were Premiere, Sampaguita and LVN," explained his son Efren Reyes Jr. "While the two competed for having the most number of mestizo matinee idols, Premiere was focused on doing action movies that starred Filipino-looking hunks.Yung talagang mukhang palaban na malalaking tao at maiitim ang kulay. The moviegoers patronized their movies because they could relate to the physical attributes of the actors. My father was different because among the lead actors then, he was mukhang Pilipinong-pilipino."

"He grew up in the former O’Donnel Street in Tayuman, now known as Severino Reyes Street, named after my lelong," he continued. "He was the one who created Lola Basyang. He was a national treasure, na ironically, hindi national artist."

"He was also the founder of Liwayway Magazine", he said. "Before, it was being published in Cebuano, pero ginawa niyang Tagalog to attract a broader market. It was in the pages of Liwayway, where Kulafu made its appearance. The character was the local version of Tarzan, written by Pedrito Reyes, who was my lolo."

"Kulafu was resurrected years later as an ice-drop brand," Efren said. "It was the business of my father’s family, yung Kulafu ice-drop."

"My father was a telonero sa entablado before he became a star," he continued. "Although anak-mayaman, eh hilig n’ya ang sining dahil ang lolo nya at tatay, manunulat.

"His first hit was "Kumander Sundang"(1949). May science- fiction pa s’ya. He was a super-hero in "Raul Roldan" by Mars Ravelo. He was also the first "Pedro Penduko." Ang tatay ko din ang gumagawa ng eskrimahan, with Johnny Monteiro na walang makapantay sa ganda," Efren Jr. said.

Among his swashbuckling hits were: "Carlos Trese"(1953), "Prinsipe Don Juan" (1950), "Prinsipe Villarba" (1956), "Prinsipe Alejandre" (1957), "Eskrimador" (1955) and "Haring Espada" (1956). In other words, he was an all-around action king for he was also the "Kapitan Bagwis" (1951), "Kapitan Berong" (1953} and the "Salabusab" (1954).

More significantly, Efren Sr. was a trailblazer. "My father was the first actor who did a cowboy movie. When he started doing "Bandido" (1950), his colleagues were pessimistic. They saw it as quite irrelevant as there were no cowboys in this country. When it became a box-office hit, nagsunuran na lahat," Efren said.

But Efren Sr. was also adept in other genres like drama or musical, even comedy. In 1952, he did the musical "Sarsuwelista" under People’s Pictures and light comedies like "Tagailog" (1951), "Mag-asawa’y Di’ Biro" (1955) ), "Ander de Saya" (1954) and "Hokus-Pokus" (1956). He also excelled in dramatic movies like "Bakas ng Kahapon" (1952), "Alaala Kita" (1961), "Larawan ng Buhay" (1952),"Ang Sawa sa Lumang Simboryo" (1952) and "Ang Lumang Bahay sa Gulod" (1949).

"My dad was an actor, director, writer and producer", said Efren. "His first directorial assignment was "Tipin"(1957) in his home studio."

For his 16 glorious years in showbiz, from 1947 to 1963, Efren Reyes Sr. had won a FAMAS Best Actor trophy for "Kadenang Putik" (1960), and earned 4 nominations as a director for "Pilipinas Kong Mahal" (1965), "Dugo ang Kulay ng Pag-ibig" (1966), "Sigaw ng Digmaan" in 1963, and "Albano Brothers" in 1962. As lead actor he was cited five times, for "Dugo Ang Kulay …" in 1966, "Alaala Kita" in 1961, "Ang Maton" in 1959, "Kalibre 45" in 1957, and "Desperado" in 1956. And as a writer, he was nominated for "The Singing Idol" in 1958.

"Unfortunately he died when he was only 43," said Efren. "He was into directing then. He ventured into that when independent producers led by Tagalog Ilang-ilang and Lea Productions came into the picture."

According to Efren, his father was the one who encouraged the late Fernando Poe Jr. to become a film producer. "He produced FPJ’s first film, yung "Ito Ang Maynila." It was followed by many other small films that really made money. Kaya, hindi naman siguro ikakagalit ni Manang Susan if I’d say na maraming poste sa FPJ studio ang sa-tatay ko. He was the mentor of FPJ," he said.

Efren Sr. was married to actress Virginia Montes. They had six children. Two of them, Cristina Reyes and Efren Jr., followed their footsteps.

"When he died on Feb. 11, 1968, his coffin was placed atop the roof of Mount Carmel Church just to accommodate the throng of fans who wanted to pay their respects," said Efren. "And when he was being brought to his resting place, his friends carried his coffin from Mount Carmel to Loyola in Marikina City."

"I only have fragments of his memories because he died when I was six. I only remembered the instances when all of us, the children, would enter his room in the morning to ask for baon. Ang gagawin n’ya, dudukutan n’ya mommy namin, para ibigay sa amin. ….Hindi n’ya ako napalo pero nataasan ako ng boses. Dun palang nanginig na ako….. He used to bring us to Arcegas, here in Aurora Boulevard. There was a big toy store there. Pagdating ko doon, ang ligaya ko."


1. The Raiders of Leyte Gulf (1963) .... Captain Shirai Akira
2. Cuatro condenados (1962)
3. Sarah Sollente (1962)
4. Apat na kilabot (1962)
5. Alaala kita (1961) .... Lead Character
... aka You Are in My Memory (Philippines: English title)
6. Baril sa baril (1961)

7. The Scavengers (1959) .... Puan
8. Kadenang putik (1959)
9. Obra-maestra (1958) .... (segment "Singapore")
10. Kalibre .45 (1957)
11. Desperado (1956) .... Title Role
12. Ifugao (1954) .... Lutab
13. Pedro Penduko (1954) .... Pedro Penduko
14. Salabusab (1954)
15. Carlos Trece (1953) .... Carlos Trece
16. Kapitan Berong (1953) .... Kapitan Berong
17. Sawa sa lumang simboryo, Ang (1952)
... aka Python at the Old Dome (Philippines: English title: literal English title)
18. Santa Cristina (1951)
19. Kampana ng San Diego, Ang (1950)

20. Hindi ako susuko (1949)
21. Dugo ng katipunan (1949)
22. Kumander Sundang (1949) .... Title Role
4. Apat na kilabot (1962)
5. Alaala kita (1961) .... Lead Character
... aka You Are in My Memory (Philippines: English title)
6. Baril sa baril (1961)

7. The Scavengers (1959) .... Puan
8. Kadenang putik (1959)
9. Obra-maestra (1958) .... (segment "Singapore")
10. Kalibre .45 (1957)
11. Desperado (1956) .... Title Role
12. Ifugao (1954) .... Lutab
13. Pedro Penduko (1954) .... Pedro Penduko
14. Salabusab (1954)
15. Carlos Trece (1953) .... Carlos Trece
16. Kapitan Berong (1953) .... Kapitan Berong
17. Sawa sa lumang simboryo, Ang (1952)
... aka Python at the Old Dome (Philippines: English title: literal English title)
18. Santa Cristina (1951)
19. Kampana ng San Diego, Ang (1950)

20. Hindi ako susuko (1949)
21. Dugo ng katipunan (1949)
22. Kumander Sundang (1949) .... Title Role


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