A fond farewell to a film icon

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  • The award-winning actress Jaclyn Jose passed away from a heart attack on Saturday morning, March 2. Her children, Andi Eigenmann and Gwen Garamond Ilagan, confirmed her death in a statement. Andi said, “It is with great sadness that I announce the untimely passing of my nanay, Mary Jane Guck, better known as Jaclyn Jose, at the age of 60 on the morning of March 2nd, 2024 to a myocardial infarction or a heart attack.”
    The family expressed gratitude for the prayers and condolences received, requesting respect and privacy during this time of mourning.
    As we come to terms with this loss, we reflect on Jaclyn Jose’s legacy as both a celebrated actress and a pioneering figure in Philippine cinema.
    Born Mary Jane Santa Ana Guck, she was the daughter of Edward Larry Guck, a United States Air Force officer, and singer Rosalinda Santa Ana. Jaclyn pursued her education at Santo Rosario Elementary School in Angeles City, Perpetual College in Rizal, Karilagan and the Philippine School of Interior Design. Her elder sister, Veronica Jones, also ventured into acting.
    Jaclyn initially gained attention through roles in sex-oriented films like “White Slavery” (1985), “Flesh Avenue” (1986), and “Private Show” (1986); and while she was earlier identified as a “bold star,” according to the CCP Encyclopedia for the arts, she veered away from the mold and became known for being a serious actress.
    Some of her notable films are “Mulanay,” “Mula sa Puso: The Movie,” “Tuhog” and “Minsan May Isang Puso,” for which she received several nominations. She also appeared in stage plays such as “Pitik Bulag sa Buwan ng Pebrero” and “Salome,” as well as television shows including “Prinsesa ng Banyera,” “Sabel,” “Kahit Puso’y Masugatan,” “Ilustrado,” “Zorro,” and “Valiente.”
    She won Best Actress awards for “Takaw Tukso” and “Sarong Banggi” (Urian), “Private Show” (Star Awards), and for both award- giving bodies again for “Itanong Mo sa Buwan.”
    She won supporting actress awards for “Celestina Sanchez: Alyas Bubbles” (MMFF), “Macho Dancer” (Urian and Star), “The Flor Contemplacion Story” (Urian, Star and FAP), “Naglalayag” (Manila Film Festival and FAP), and “A Secret Affair” (FAMAS).
    Jaclyn holds the singular honor of winning the Palm d’Or for Best Actress at the 69th Cannes Film Festival for Brillante Mendoza’s “Ma’Rosa,” making her the first actor from Southeast Asia to bag the award.
    Jaclyn’s sudden demise has sent shockwaves through the entertainment industry, prompting an outpouring of tributes from colleagues and fans alike.
    Assistant GMA director and acting coach Jo Macasa: “We had a good talk last Thursday and I was supposed to see you Sunday night. I waited at the cinema but you never came.
    “And never will you return. Because the day that I was going to see you was the same day I lost you….”
    Gladys Reyes: “Ate Jane, nakakagulat naman, binigla mo kaming lahat ang dami nating pinagsamahan, simula 9 years old ako sa ‘Lovingly Yours Helen’ hanggang dito sa huling movie natin na ‘Apag,’ ‘di ka nagbago sakin… Salamat sa mga tips, pag-alaga mo sakin na parang ate kita talaga. Nabawasan na naman ng isang magaling at de kalibreng aktor ang industriya. Mamimiss namin ang nag-iisang Jacklyn Jose.”
    Alden Richards: “My heart aches like a son who lost his mom…You will be with me always. I love you my Tita Jane.”
    Iza Calzado: “I still remember the first time I saw you, maybe that was 2002 or 2003 in GMA. There was a shoot with all of the artists and you were standing in line like everyone else. You were wearing a suit while most of us were in dresses. I looked at you and immediately wanted to hug you because you reminded me of my mom who I just lost in 2001. Tisay and a bit short but had an intensity and mystery about you that just gave off a ‘Wag mo akong subukan.’ Kind of energy.
    “As luck would have it, you ended up playing my mother in ‘Te Amo, Maging Sino Ka Man.’ I had the opportunity to work with you a few more times and the last long one was my first series in ABSCBN, ‘Kahit Puso’y Masugatan.’
    “You treated me like a daughter and I looked up to you as a mentor and mother. Jane Guck or Nanay Jane I would fondly call you. We shared the love for tequila and rockstars. You were so generous and kind but you would definitely express when you did not like something.
    “Thank you for looking after me and the welfare of the people in our industry. Rest in power, Nanay Jane. I love you.”
    Director Adolf Alix: “I don’t know how to start this… You were part of my journey from the start. More than one being one of the best thespians in our industry, we bonded because we love cinema and what we do. We even have the same tattoo to remember our loved ones.
    “Lost a family and a dear friend.
    “Utterly heartbreaking but I’m just trying to think that I’ve got another angel in heaven.
    “Love you Ms. Jane.”
    As for us, we remember Jaclyn Jose answering our invitation to join a panel discussion-forum on the State of Philippine Cinema with dear friends National Artist Ricky Lee, Chito Roño, and Chanda Romero for the Ateneo Alternative Class Program when we were Student Affairs director. Then we paid respect to her as our Cannes Best Actress on the set of Peque Gallaga’s last project, “Magikland.”
    Our favorite movies of Jaclyn are: “Itanong Mo sa Buwan,” “Private Show,” “Misis Mo, Misis Ko,” “Macho Dancer,” “Hati Tayo sa Magdamag,” “Minsan May Isang Puso,” “Mulanay,“ “May Nagmamahal Sa ‘Yo,” “Masahista,” and “Patay Na si Hesus.” These films are her clear legacy, as well as how she made her coworkers feel.
    We will always be grateful to the genius of the Cannes Best Actress and her heart for championing the cause of our industry workers via the Eddie Garcia Bill.

    By NOEL D. FERRER

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