Gregorio Fernandez

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For the Spanish Baroque sculptor, see Gregorio Fernández.
Gregorio Fernandez
Born Dr. Gregorio Montemayor-Fernández
(1904-05-25)May 25, 1904
Lubao, Pampanga, Philippines
Died March 11, 1973(1973-03-11) (aged 68)
Quezon City, Philippines
Cause of death
heart attack
Other names Doc Greg, Yoyong
Occupation Actor, Director, Screenwriter
Years active 1927–1971
Spouse(s) Pilar Padilla-Fernandez
Children Ma. Luisa "Merle" Fernandez
Maria Paz Fernandez
Maria Isabel Fernandez
Jose Fernandez
Naria Teresita Fernandez
Emmanuel Fernandez
Rodolfo "Rudy" Fernandez
Mary Anne Fernandez

Dr. Gregorio Montenemayor-Fernández (May 25, 1904 – March 11, 1973) also known as Gregorio Fernandez was a film actor and director, and father of Rudy Fernandez.[1][2]

Early life[edit]

Dr. Gregorio Montemayor-Fernández was born in Lubao, Pampanga on May 25, 1904 to Eugenio Fernández y Araneta and Maria Montemayor. Yoyong practically grew up in the town with a rich Zarzuela tradition that exposed him early to the performance arts.

Personal life[edit]

His wife, Pilar is a member of the showbiz clan of Padilla whose relative include Rommel Padilla, Rustom Padilla, Robin Padilla. A physician. Grandfather of Mark Anthony Fernandez, Rap Fernandez and Renz Fernandez. Father-in-law of Lorna Tolentino. And father of Rudy Fernandez.

Educational life[edit]

He spent his primary years at the Lubao Elementary School, then enrolled at the Pampanga High School (1921–25). Choosing to be a dental surgeon, he went to the Philippine Dental College. To help finance his studies, he worked at as a tax agent for the Bureau of Internal Revenue. He also started making the rounds of production companies and became an actor for Tomas Lichauco's Mayon Photoplay Corporation after auditioning in March 1928.

Career[edit]

The movie with Mayon was never finished as Lichauco left for the United States. Undaunted, Yoyong auditioned next for Jose Nepomuceno and won a leading role in a 1928 film. The silent film, “Anak sa Ligaw” started his long and productive career in Philippine moviedom, both as a successful actor and an even more accomplished film director.

Yoyong still managed to make his parents happy by finishing his dentistry course in 1929 and passing the board that same year. After a short private practice in Lubao, he decided he could not resist the lure of the spotlight and went on to pursue a full-time career in acting. He did not find it difficult landing his next role given the resounding success of his first film. Yoyong's next assignment was a starring role in another silent-- “Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow” with Sofia Lotta, under the direction Faustino Lichauco of Mayon Photoplay. The picture was never released though, so Yoyong moved on to team up with Sofia yet again in the movie version of the popular Tagalog poem of Florentino Collantes, “Ang Lumang Simbahan”.

The newbie actor shared his good fortune with his kabalen and nephew, Rogelio Regidor, whom he introduced to Jose Nepomuceno when the “father of Philippine movies” was scouting for new talents. Nepomuceno took one look at the handsome 6-footer and cast him with another Kapampangan-American mestiza, Rosa Stagner. The couple was launched in the 1929 movie hit, “Ligaw ni Bulaklak” as Rogelio de la Rosa and Rosa del Rosario.

Yoyong was a much-sought after actor in the 1930s, appearing as a dandy in the film, “Collegian Love”. As a young sajonista influenced by American ways, he wore a blazer with a hanky sticking out of his pocket, and a white buntal hat that was to become his signature look. He appeared as the hero “Dimasalang” in 1930 and followed that up with “Moro Pirates” with Nena Linda. In the next two years, he was in “Ang Lihim ni Bathala” and “Taong Demonyo”, his first talking film.

Not content with playing leading men and character roles in films, Gregorio transitioned to work behind the camera as a director. His first directorial debut was the movie, “Asahar at Kabaong” (Bridal Garland and Casket, 1937), starring Purita Santamaria, made under Philippine Films. His work was noticed by other film outfits and he steadily found freelance work, directing “Tatlong Pagkabirhen” for X’otic Films (1938), “Celia at Balagtas” and “Señorita” (1939), in which he directed his own nephew Rogelio de la Rosa, by then a big star. It was only shown shortly after World War II at the Life Theater in Quiapo.

Yoyong had an enduring and most productive career at LVN Studios, a film outfit began in 1938 by the legendary grand dame of Philippine movies, Dña. Narcisa de Leon. Dña. Sisang asked Yoyong to make a film out of the hit war drama play, “Garrison 13”, and the subsequent film version (in which he played a co-starring role to Linda Estrella) proved to be a blockbuster hit, earning an unprecedented P145,000 at Dalisay Theater alone. Yoyong became a favorite director of Dña. Sisang thereafter.

His LVN-produced films include “Dalawang Daigdig” ( as director-actor, 1946), “Miss Philippines" (1947), “Puting Bantayog” (1948), “Kampanang Ginto”, “Capas” (1949), “Candaba” (“isang kapanapanabik na pelikula na tanging si G. Fernandez lamang ang maaaring mamahala!”), "Kontrabando” (1950), “Bayan o Pag-ibig”, “Dugo sa Dugo” (1951), “Rodrigo de Villa” (a color film co-produced with Persari Films of Indonesia, 1952), “Iskwater”, “Philippine Navy”, “Dagohoy” (1953) and “Prinsipe Tiñoso”, “Singsing na Tanso” (1954).

1955 was his best year ever, directing “Dalagang Taring” and the most acclaimed movie of the year, “Higit sa Lahat”, starring Rogelio de la Rosa and Emma Alegre. It garnered 6 awards at the FAMAS, including Best Picture, Best Actor and Best Director. As the Philippine entry to the 1956 Asian Film Festival, “Higit sa Lahat” won for Yoyong a “Best Director” trophy and another “Best Actor” award for Rogelio de la Rosa. The next year, he was kept busy with the 18th anniversary offering of LVN Pictures, “Medalyang Perlas” and the classic, “Luksang Tagumpay”, which won Best Picture honors at the FAMAS.

The close of the decade saw him megging “Hukom Roldan”, “P10,000 na Pag-ibig”(1957), “Ana Maria” and another critical hit “Malvarosa” (1958). The film won for Rebecca del Rio, a Best Supporting Actress trophy at the Asian Film Festival and a FAMAS International Prestige Award of Merit. He ended the 50s with “Ay , Pepita”, “Casa Grande” and “Panagimpan” (1959) and started the 60s with “Emily” and “Kung Ako’y Mahal Mo” and “Awit ng mga Dukha”.

In 1961, he retired in San Juan together with his family. He had eight children with his beautiful wife, Marie Paz, daughter of Bulacan governor Jose Padilla Sr. whom he married in 1936 in Lubao: Ma. Luisa (aka Merle Fernandez, bold star of the 70s), Maria Paz, Maria Isabel, Jose, Maria Teresita, Emmanuel, Rodolfo (aka the late Rudy “Daboy” Fernandez) and Mary Anne. But he came out of retirement in 1963 to direct “The Macapagal Story”, based on the life of his fellow Lubeño Pres. Diosdado P. Macapagal. He did two more movies (“Ang Nasasakdal”, 1963, “Daing” 1971) before he permanently called it quits, but not before being awarded the 1967 “Gantimpalang Gatpuno” (Mayor’s Award) as one of the 37 illustrious pioneers of Philippine Movies, on the occasion of Manila’s golden foundation day.

Dr. Gregorio M. Fernandez died in the late 1970s and left behind a legacy of classic and multi-awarded films, visual testaments to Kapampangan creativity at its best. His son Rudy continued that tradition until his death, but the torch has been passed on to Rudy's son (with Alma Moreno, also a Kapampangan), Mark Anthony Fernandez, himself a rising star of TV and Cinema. His grandfather Yoyong must be proud.

Death[edit]

Dr. Gregorio Fernandez dies of March 11, 1973 due to heart attack in Quezon City. He was buried to his hometown in Lubao, Pampanga. 35 years before his son Rudy Fernandez was buried at The Heritage Park in Taguig City on June 7, 2008.

Filmography[edit]

Director[edit]

Title Year
Asahar at Kabaong 1937
Celia at Balagtas 1938
Tatlong Pagkabirhen 1939
Señorita 1940
Garrison 13 1946
Miss Philippines 1947
Puting Bantayog 1948
Hen. Gregorio Del Pilar 1949
Kampanang Ginto 1949
Capas 1949
Kontrabando 1950
Candaba 1950
Dugo Sa Dugo 1951
Bayan O Pag-Ibig 1951
Rodrigo De Villa 1952
Squatters 1953
Philippine Navy 1953
Dagohoy 1953
Singsing na Tanso 1954
Dalagang Taring 1955
Higit Sa Lahat 1955
Medalyong Perlas (segment "Kapalaran") 1956
Luksang Tagumpay 1956
Sampung Libong Pisong Pag-Ibig 1957
Hukom Roldan 1957
Malvarosa 1958
Casa Grande 1958
Ay Petita! 1958
Ana Maria 1958
Panagimpan 1959
Kung Ako'y Mahal Mo 1960
Awit ng Mga Dukha 1960
Emily 1963
The Macapagal Story 1963
Ang Nasasakdal! 1966
Daing 1971

Actor[edit]

Title Role Year
Hot Kisses 1927
The Filipino Woman 1927
Ang Lumang Simbahan 1928
Child Out of Wedlock 1930
Ang Lihim ni Bathala 1931
Moro Pirates 1931
Ligaw na Bulaklak 1932
Taong Demonyo 1937
Asahar at Kabaong 1937
Prinsipeng Hindi Tumatawa 1946
Florante at Laura Sultan Aliadab 1949
Kampanang Ginto 1949
Capas 1949
Kontrabando Boss 1950

Screenwriter[edit]

Title Year
Higit Sa Lahat 1955

References[edit]

External links[edit]