MANILA, Philippines—Comedian Redford White succumbed to brain and lung cancer on July 26. He was 54. True to his calling as a funnyman, White took his final bow, not with tears but with laughter. Friends who visited him at his Quezon City home last week, recalled that the comedian was in a jovial mood. For the first time, we saw him laughing heartily,” said frequent movie and TV costar Ces Quesada. His colleagues remember White, or Cipriano Cermeno II in real life, as a “quiet, unassuming fellow.” Director Wenn Deramas, who worked with White on “Kokey,” one of his last TV shows on ABS-CBN in 2007, said the comedian was always “quiet, sitting in a corner and reading books on the set.” “Buddy en Sol” costar Eric Quizon described White as a “dedicated actor [whom] everyone admired.” Although he wasn’t rowdy, White was “a fun coworker … [who was] always ready to collaborate,” Deramas added.
A native of Cebu, White shot to fame as a cafeteria waiter on the IBC 13 sitcom, “Iskul Bukol,” which ran from the late 1970s to the early 1980s.
Quesada said the comedian first worked with Tito, Vic and Joey, and director Bert de Leon.
“I actually discovered him,” De Leon told the Inquirer in a phone interview. “I spotted him at the old Broadcast City. I learned from the staff that he was an aspiring comedy writer from Cebu.”
De Leon sensed that White had talent and asked him to do a scene with the late comedian Bing “Mang Tim-I” Angeles. They clicked instantly.
“People in the studio kept laughing,” he said. White’s screen test eventually became part of an episode of “Iskul Bukol.” Shy, soft-spoken
“His real name, Cipriano, was hard to remember. Joey [de Leon] and I thought of the screen name Redford White instead,” Bert de Leon said.
He added that White “never changed at all. He remained painfully shy and soft-spoken” even after he became famous.
“I feel bad that I didn’t get to see him. Bert and I were supposed to visit him this week,” Vic Sotto told the Inquirer.
Quesada, who worked with White for five years on the RPN 9 sitcom, “Buddy en Sol,” in the 1990s, agreed: “Red was never the type who sought to be the center of attention. He was playful and funny on camera, but he was a tad serious off-camera.” Like the best comedians, Dolphy and Vic Sotto, Redford wasn’t a boisterous clown in real life, she added.
The “Buddy en Sol” family, led by costars Quesada and Quizon, assistant director Boots Plata, and talent manager Dolor Guevara, visited White at his home last Tuesday. “We kept laughing,” Quesada said. “He was cheerful. He was in high spirits. I remember it was the first time we ever saw him laughing out loud. But it was also painful because we knew it would be the last time we would see him.”