SAN FRANCISCO – Long-time San Francisco Bay Area resident film actress Gloria Sevilla, dubbed as “Queen of Visayan Movies,” died in her sleep in Oakland, California on April 16, 2022.
Sevilla, a native of Sibonga, Cebu, was 90 years old.
Her death was announced on Facebook by relatives and event host and veteran broadcaster Sam Costanilla.
Several actors and the movie industry immediately mourned the passing of Sevilla, a Filipino movie icon.
The Movie and Television Review and Classification Board (MTRCB) posted on its Facebook page, April 18 :
“Paalam, BM Gloria.
“Mula sa iyong MTRCB family, lubos po kaming nagpapasalamat sa lahat ng inyong naging kontribusiyon sa telebisyon, pelikula at sining.
“Dubbed ‘Queen of Visayan Movies’ for her screen portrayals in Visayan-made movies during the 1950s and 1960s, Ms. Sevilla’s acting career spanned over seven decades. Her most beloved films include ‘Madugong Paghihiganti’ (1963), ‘Badlis sa Kinabuhi’ (1969), and ‘Gimingaw Ako’ (1973), ” the council stated.
The veteran actress served as a board member of MTRCB.
The Ranillo siblings announced the passing of Gloria Sevilla on April 16 at Oakland, California.
The message stated: “It is with deep sadness that we announce the passing of our mom, Gloria Sevilla, the Queen of the Visayan Movies, in Oakland, California at 11 am, April 16, 2022. She died peacefully in her sleep. We appreciate all those praying for the repose of her soul. Thank you.”
Gloria’s children who are all in the United States are inconsolable over the passing of the veteran actress. They immediately rushed to their mother’s place in Oakland when they learned of the sad news.
Mat III, Dandin at Suzette are the three Ranillo children who followed the footsteps of their mother in the entertainment industry. Former actress Krista Ranillo-Lim who is now the wife of businessman and Island Pacific supermarket CEO Nino Lum is Gloria’s granddaughter.
Sevilla migrated to San Francisco when her second husband, the late Amado Cortez, whose real name was Arsenio Ruiz Padilla, assumed as Philippine Consul General in San Francisco. Sevilla’s first husband, actor Mat Ranillo Jr., regarded as King of Visayan Movies, with whom she had five children, died years before marrying Cortez, a fellow actor.
Having starred in most of the Visayan-made films produced in 1950s and 1960s, Sevilla earned the title “Queen of Visayan Movies.”
Some of the Visayan films under her belt included “Leonora,” “Pailub Lang (Be Humble),” “Gloria Akong Anak (My Child Gloria),” “Badlis sa Kinabuhi (Destiny),” and “Gimingaw Ako (Longing for Someone).”
For her superb acting in “Badlis sa Kinabuhi” in 1969, she won her very first Filipino Academy of Movie Arts and Sciences (Famas) Awards best actress plum. She repeated the feat four years later with her role in “Gimingaw Ako.”
Sevilla also won her first Famas best supporting actress for her role in the 1962 film “Madugong Paghihiganti (Bloody Revenge).”
She is also best remembered for her sensitive portrayals in the 1962 film “Madugong Paghihiganti” where she won Famas best supporting actress; “Minsa’y Isang Gamu-Gamo,” “Boy Golden,” ”Banaue,” “Ito Ang Pilipino” and “Maestra.”
The actress remained active on television before the pandemic, appearing in various character roles in “Be Careful With My Heart,” “Nathaniel,” “Kailangan Ko’y Ikaw,” “FPJ’s Ang Probinsyano” and “Asintado.”
A talent scout discovered Sevilla when she was only 14. She was chosen to play her very first film role as Princess Tirana in 1951, according to an article written by Dr. Romy R. Protacio and published on Asian Journal USA last November.
Sevilla, born on January 31, 1932, also starred in several Filipino-language films and television dramas.
Ranillo Jr. died in a plane crash in 1969.
In 2019, the Gawad Urian honored Sevilla with a lifetime achievement award for her contribution to Philippine cinema.
She marked her 90th birthday last year with a virtual party with Balik Samahan, an esteemed group of veteran performer and lifelong friends.
“We shall miss her,” close friend Pempe Oreta told ABS-CBN News. “It’s a blessing she passed on quietly on the eve of Easter Sunday.”
In a media statement released late Sunday through Suzette, the Sevilla family said, “We will cherish the love of friends fans who supported her from her younger days as the inimitable Queen of Visayan Cinema as well as her critically-recognized and awarded performances in mainstream films and television drama. The Ranillo-Cortez family appreciates the prayers offered for Gloria while awaiting the funeral arrangements to be held in the U.S. and in the Philippines.”