VETERAN THEATER and screen actor Bernardo Bernardo passed away at the age of 73 on Thursday morning.
News of his passing was confirmed by his niece Susan Vecina Santos on Facebook but no cause of death was indicated. In January, through a Facebook post on his official page, Mr. Bernardo revealed that he had a tumor in the pancreas.
Mr. Bernardo’s wake is being held at St. Peter’s Chapel in Quezon City, Ms. Santos told DZMM’s Ahwel Paz.
Born on Jan. 28, 1945 in Santa Ana, Manila, Mr. Bernardo worked with a multitude of theater groups in the 1970s and ’80s, both American and Filipino, catching the audience’s attention for his work in a production of The Boys in the Band in 1977, and the Rocky Horror Show (as Frank N. Furter) in 1983.
He worked in numerous plays by Repertory Philippines from 1973 to 1989, notably playing Zaza, the motherly drag queen in La Cage Aux Folles in 1989. He also undertook many roles for Tanghalang Pilipino productions including that of Simoun in its 1998 production of El Filibusterismo. He also played the father of Katy dela Cruz in the original 1988 production of the landmark musical Katy! directed by Nestor Torre.
Mr. Bernardo honed his craft by attending and graduating from the University of California, where he earned a Master of Arts degree, and the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Arts.
On the silver screen, Mr. Bernardo’s role Manay Sharon in Ishmael Bernal’s Manila by Night, City After Dark (1980) won him a Gawad Urian for Best Actor.
He won another Gawad Urian, this time for Best Supporting Actor, for his work in Lawrence Fajardo’s Imbisibol (2015).
Mr. Bernardo is perhaps best-known for his role as Steve Carpio in the ABS-CBN sitcom Home Along Da Riles which ran from 1992 to 2003.
His most recent film works include Loy Arcenas’ film Ang Larawan, which won Best Picture at last year’s Metro Manila Film Festival, and Joel Lamangan’s The Significant Other (2018). He also starred in Lav Diaz’s Hele Sa Hiwagang Hapis (2016).
“Rest In Peace, Bernardo Bernardo. This has been heavy news to hear. Tito Bernie was my very first leading man in the very first show I ever did, The King and I (he played the King of Siam and I was one of his daughters). Kind, funny, ebullient, brilliant, big hearted. Sigh,” actress and singer Lea Salonga, said in a Twitter post.
Mr. Bernardo and Ms. Salonga both starred in the 1978 Repertory Philippines’ production of The King and I.
“When I was a kid, I couldn’t wait to watch Home Along Da Riles because of Bernardo Bernardo. Rest in peace, sir,” actress Assunta de Rossi-Ledesma, likewise said on Twitter.
“Goodbye Bernardo Bernardo. Rest well in the arms of our Father,” said director/writer Jose Javier Reyes on Twitter. — Zsarlene B. Chua