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Dolphy in 2008
Birth nameRodolfo Vera Quízon
Born(1928-07-25)July 25, 1928
Tondo, Manila, Philippine Islands
DiedJuly 10, 2012(2012-07-10) (aged 83)
Makati, Philippines
Resting placeThe Heritage Park, Taguig, Philippines
MediumStand-up, film, television
NationalityPhilippines Filipino
GenresObservational comedy, black comedy, satire
Children18 (see below)
Parent(s)Melencio Espinosa Quizon
Salud de la Rosa Vera
OccupationComedian, actor
Years active1945–2012
TelevisionJohn en Marsha
Home Along Da Riles
Pidol's Wonderland

Rodolfo Vera Quízon Sr.[1] GCGH (July 25, 1928 – July 10, 2012), better known by his stage names Dolphy, Pidol, and Golay (1944), was a Filipino comedian and actor. He is widely regarded as the country's King of Comedy for his comedic talent embodied by his long roster of works on stage, radio, television and movies.[2][3]

Early life and education[edit]

Quízon was born at Calle Padre Herrera (now P. Herrera St.) in Tondo, Manila, on July 25, 1928.[4] His father from Bulacan, Melencio Espinosa Quizon (December 5, 1899 – May 14, 1972),[5] was a ship engine worker stationed in the Atlantic Gulf. The elder Quízon was the son of Modesto Quizon and Adorablé Espinoza. His mother, Salud de la Rosa Vera[6] (February 5, 1903 – September 12, 1986),[7] was a seamstress, a school teacher, and the daughter of Máximo de Vera y Limtico[6] (February 1, 1872 – March 1, 1917) and Lucila de la Rosa y Cordero[6] (September 16, 1871 – October 9, 1947).[6] He had four brothers and five sisters.[8] Quizon addressed his father and mother as "Papang" and "Mamang", respectively, as did his siblings. His parents were married on July 14, 1925, in Malate, Manila.[6]

Quízon began studying at the age of six, and was enrolled in public schools.[9] He attended the Magat Salamat Elementary School and Isabelo de Los Reyes Elementary School until the seventh grade. For his secondary education, he studied at the Florentino Torres High School until his sophomore year. He was an average student, although his grades fluctuated from time to time.[10]

Quízon sold peanuts and watermelon seeds at movie theaters as a boy, which enabled him to watch movies for free. He was about thirteen when World War II started. He did odd jobs including shining shoes, attaching buttons at a pants factory, sorting bottles by size, working as a stevedore at the pier, trading, and driving the calesa. In his free time, he regularly watched stage shows at the Life Theater and the Avenue Theater. His favorite performers included the comedy duo Pugo and Togo, and the dancers Benny Mack and Bayani Casimiro.[11]

Quizon started performing onstage during the Japanese occupation of the Philippines. When he turned 17, Benny Mack got him a job as a chorus dancer for a month at the Avenue Theater and subsequently on the Lyric Theater. He also appeared in shows at the Orient Theater. "Golay" was his first stage name. During air raids, they would interrupt the show and run for the air-raid shelter in the orchestra section together with the audience. If no bombs fell and exploded, the show would then resume.


Early career[edit]

He starred in his first movie when he was 19 with Fernando Poe Sr. in Dugo at Bayan (I Remember Bataan), billed as Rodolfo Quizon. It was the father of his future friend actor Fernando Poe Jr., who first paved the way and gave him a break in films playing minor roles as a character actor.[12] On a DZMM radio interview, he revealed his first talent fee was 5 pesos.

In the late 1940s, Dolphy also got into radio through Conde Ubaldo, a popular radio writer, director, and producer. He joined the program Wag Naman which starred Pancho Magalona, Tessie Quintana, and Baby Jane. His comedy duo with Panchito also started on radio on Conde Ubaldo shows.

Pancho Magalona recommended Dolphy to Dr. Jose "Doc" Perez, the owner of Sampaguita Pictures in 1952. His first movie with Sampaguita was Sa Isang Sulyap Mo, Tita, with Pancho Magalona and Tita Duran. It was also in Sampaguita were the comedy duo of Dolphy and Panchito became popular.

Dolphy acted Jack en Jill with Rogelio de la Rosa and Lolita Rodriguez in 1954. He was not the first choice for the role but Batotoy and Bayani Casimiro.[additional citation(s) needed] Jack en Jill was a Philippine komiks serial by Mars Ravelo. Dolphy said: "That movie really made me. That's the first time a gay role was introduced in the movies. At the time the gays were not recognized by everybody. It was a long, hard climb before I reached my goal."[13]

The first time Dolphy played a serious role was in a 4-in-1 drama movie, with Barbara Perez who played a blind girl in the segment inspired by Charlie Chaplin's movie City Lights.

After his contract with Sampaguita expired, he left the company. When he joined the production studio, his talent fee was P1,000 per movie. By the time he left, he was earning P7,000 per picture.

Television, film parodies, and RVQ Productions[edit]

In 1962, Dolphy played the Pinoy version of Tarzan in Tansan The Mighty.[14]

In 1963, a sequel of Tansan The Mighty was released named Tansan vs Tarzan.[14]

From 1964 to 1972, he starred in Buhay Artista. It is known to be a big success of the 1960s.[15] It came about after he left Sampaguita. Eugenio "Geny" Lopez Jr. got him into television on Channel 2. The show aired on ABS-CBN. It is a concept by Geny Lopez and Ading Fernando. While doing radio, his talent fee was P250-P300 per program; when he did TV, he was at P500 per show. He left ABS-CBN due to Martial Law. However, also moved to GMA Network since Buhay Artista moved to RBS-7 (former branding name of GMA) from December 1972 to early 1974.

While on television, he also started doing movies for independent studios like LEA Productions, Balatbat Productions, Filipinas Productions, Zultana Productions and Fernando Poe Jr.'s D'Lanor Productions.

In 1964, he played the lead in Captain Barbell an adaptation of a comic book by the same name.[14] Also played the lead in Daigdig ng Fantasia (Fantasy World) with Nova Villa, both directed by Herminio "Butch" Bautista.

From 1965 to 1966, Dolphy also made a minimum of 15 spy film parodies or to use considerable elements of the genre. It began with Dolpinger (1965) as Agent 1-2-3 a parody of the James Bond movie Goldfinger (1964). Other titles includes Dolpinger Meets Pantararong (1965), Dr. Yes (1965), Genghis Bond (1965), and Operation Butterball (1966). He also acted both as James Bond and Batman in James Batman (1966). In the film both heroes are asked to take down a crime organisation called Claw. In 1966, Dolphy starred in 19 movies. Most of these films are spoof on popular trends in action films. In his films Dolphy would downplay the action with musical numbers and light romance. Dolphy said that during this time anything that would become a hit he would parody.[16]

For the 1966 film Pepe en Pilar, Dolphy introduced Ronaldo Valdez to Susan Roces, as a new face as Roces' partner was wanted. Dolphy first met Valdez in a basketball court and brought him to the press conference so Roces could see him. Roces' initial response was "He is too young". Dolphy brought Ronaldo to a barber shop, bought him a pair of boots at Glenmore and lent him his suit. When Dolphy presented him to Roces again, she said, "I prefer him now", not realizing that he was the same guy introduced earlier. Dolphy later gave him the stage name Ronaldo Valdez (from Ronald James Gibbs).

By 1967, Dolphy' production house RVQ Productions was established. Dolphy explained that the idea came about when Sampaguita closed and he was forced to work on independent pictures and thought he should produce his own films. He said former president Joseph Estrada told him that if he could finance it by putting everything on credit and went on ask the Tv network if he could make a film adaptation of the sitcom Buhay Artista (Actor's Life), which turned out to be a box office hit.[13] Dolphy said of RVQ: "It really is a family production. Because everything that I produce is also a family life, with comedy and action, the family is always together. So I made this production to help some people. Not only for myself but my relatives and my friends, and some people who are down and want to put them up again.[17]

In 1969, one of his biggest hits was Facifica Falayfay, where he starred as the gay lead character. It was directed by Luciano "Chaning" Carlos, with whom he worked in 23 of his movies. Also in 1969, he acted in Adolphong Hitler,[14] where he played the titular role.[18]

John en Marsha started in 1971, a year before Martial Law, on RPN Channel 9. It was written, and directed by Ading Fernando. Boots Anson-Roa and Helen Gamboa were considered for the role of Marsha, his wife in the show before Nida Blanca, who was doing Wala Kang Paki with Nestor de Villa, eventually got the part. Before Dely Atay-Atayan, Chichay was also considered for the role of Doña Delilah, his wealthy and condescending mother-in-law. His real son Rolly Quizon and then-child actress Maricel Soriano played their kids. John en Marsha was such a hit that movie versions of the show were made eight times.

In 1973, Facifica Falayfay (1969) was followed by Fefita Fofongay viuda de Falayfay.[citation needed] That same year Dolphy also appear in a sequel of another film Captain Barbell (1964), named Captain Barbell Boom!.[14]

In 1974, a third instalment of Facifica Falayfay (1969) was released called Sarhento Fofongay: A ... ewan!.

In 1978, he returned to gay roles in the movie Ang Tatay Kong Nanay (My Father that is also a Mother), directed by respected Lino Brocka. With him in the movie was Niño Muhlach, dubbed as the "child wonder of the Philippines", as the son of his boyfriend, played by Phillip Salvador.

In 1979, Dolphy starred in Dancing Master a musical parody of Jackie Chan's Drunken Master.[17] He also starred in Darna... Kuno?.[14]

The spy-spoof film The Quick Brown Fox, was released on November 6, 1980.[19] In it Dolphy plays the lead and it is his first collaboration with Weng Weng who played his sidekick. Dolphy, was friends with producer Peter Caballes, who was in charge of Weng Weng. Dolphy felt he could use Weng Weng in a comedy film and hired him.[20] That year, Dolphy acted in the Dancing Master spin-off Superhand: Shadow of the Dancing Master. Furthermore he played a private investigator in Dolphy's Angels. This take on Charlie's Angels introduced Anne Marie Gutierrez, Carmi Martin, Yehlen Catral, and Liz Alindogan, who all went on to act in notable films. Dolphy said that while planning the film with director Luis San Juan, he felt all actresses should be newcomers with good figures and acting talent. San Juan discovered Catral, while Dolphy brought in Gutierrez, Martin, and Alindogan.[17]

On February 13, 1981, Stariray premiered.[21] In the comedic film Dolphy plays a Cinderella type character who is forced to crossdress and serve his dominating mother and brothers.[22] On May 29, Agent 00 was released.[23] It was Weng Weng's first leading role where Dolphy reprised his role from The Quick Brown Fox. On June 12, Da Best In Da West was released.[24] Dolphy plays a sheriff in a western spoof.[25] Also he acted in Dancing Masters 2.[17]

1992 to 2012: Later success, honors and death[edit]

The Home Along Da Riles was one of the Philippines' longest running shows of all time.

His next successful TV venture after John en Marsha was Home Along Da Riles in 1992 with Nova Villa, as his wife and real son Vandolph, as one of his children.

In 2001, Dolphy played another gay character, this time with his sons Eric Quizon and Jeffrey Quizon playing the same character at three different stages in life. They all won the Prix de la Meilleure Interpretation in Brussels, Belgium for playing Walterina Markova, a transvestite in the movie Markova: Comfort Gay.[12]

In 2003, the sitcom Home Along Da Riles returned as Home Along Da Airport.

On July 25, 2008, Quizon celebrated his 80th birthday, with the launching of a biographical book, Dolphy, Hindi Ko Ito Narating Mag-isa (Dolphy, I Didn't Get Here All By Myself). ABS-CBN President Charo Santos-Concio stated, Nagbigay siya ng mga ngiti at halakhak sa gitna ng mga problema (He gave us joy and laughter in times of trouble). Bibeth Orteza was commissioned to complete the book, amid the creation of "Dolphy Aid Para sa Pinoy Foundation, Inc.", a non-profit and non-stock organization.[11][26] Also that year, Dolphy made a movie with Comedy Box Office King Vic Sotto in a comedy movie, Dobol Trobol, a movie where Dolphy played a chef and Vic a hotel resident manager. This was the first time a film was produced through joint ventures of RVQ Productions (Dolphy's Film Outfit) & M-Zet Films (Vic Sotto's Film Outfit) and APT Entertainment. The film also featured stars Carmi Martin, Riza Santos, Jose Manalo, Wally Bayola, Ricky Davao and more.

In 2009, Dolphy was cast as a retired senior citizen in Chicago who wanted to watch Wowowee in Manila entitled Nobody Nobody But... Juan, and co-starred with Eddie "Manoy" Garcia, Gloria Romero, Joe Aldeguer, Pokwang, Giselle "G" Toengi, Heart Evangelista, Ya Chang, real life sons Eric Quizon, Jeffrey "Epi" Quizon & Vandolph Quizon. Also in 2009, Dolphy was nominated to receive the Order of National Artists, "the highest national recognition given to Filipino individuals who have made significant contributions to the development of Philippine arts".[27][28] However, he did not pass the second deliberation of the screening committee. In 2013, Dolphy was diagnosed with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.[29] As a result, his public appearances were reduced, and he was frequently admitted to the intensive care unit.

In 2010, Dolphy's last movie played a priest in Father Jejemon, with his co-stars Cherrie Gil, Roy Alvarez, Maja Salvador, EJ Falcon, singer Ralph Salazar & YouTube singing duo Moymoy Palaboy. That same year, President Benigno Aquino III said he believes the late Comedy King deserves to be conferred the National Artist award, but stressed he cannot shortcut the process for legal reasons. Since there is a temporary restraining order on the granting of National Artist awards issued during the past administration, the Aquino administration gave Dolphy the Grand Collar of the Order of the Golden Heart.[30]

When Dolphy died in 2012, then-President Aquino declared July 13, 2012, a "National Day of Remembrance" in honor of Dolphy's contributions to the Philippine showbiz industry.[31]

2012 to present day: Posthumous success and aftermath[edit]

During his wake at the Heritage Park in Taguig, fellow actor and former Philippine President Joseph Estrada bestowed the 2012 People's Artist Award on him to recognize Quizon's many contributions to the movie industry.[32]

A mobile app entitled Dolphy's Cleanup was released in honor of Quizon in December 2013 for the iOS platform,[33] with a port for Android devices released in 2014. The edutainment game, developed by iGen Technologies, puts players in the role of Dolphy as he helps clean up the neighborhood, with part of the revenue from the game's sales to be donated to charity.[33][34] Also that year, the documentary film The Search for Weng Weng started its film festival run.[35][36][37][38] In it, Quizon was interviewed about his frequent collaborator Ernesto dela Cruz, better known as Weng Weng, who was the Philippines' first international star, and a unique figure in cinema for being a short person who performs death-defying stunts.[39]

Two films where Quizon appears are considered lost. The U-matic master tape of ABS-CBN of The Quick Brown Fox disintegrated upon its last screening at their facilities.[40] Dela Cruz's first lead in Agent OO, where Quizon played a supporting role, also failed to be located by researchers.[39]


Dolphy's tomb held in Taguig Heritage Park

Dolphy died on July 10, 2012, 20:34 (Philippine time, 01:34 UTC), at the age of 83, just 15 days before his 84th birthday due to multiple organ failure, secondary to complications brought about by pneumonia, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and acute renal failure.[41][42][43][44]

Personal life[edit]


Quizon never married and was public with his relationships and family. He has 17 children from six hitherto relationships. For more than 20 years, he was on a domestic partnership with Filipina singer, actress and model Zsa Zsa Padilla. In his latest book, he mentioned that he had five serious relationships before Padilla who bore him offspring. The last woman he had a relationship with was the actress Alma Moreno, who gave him a son: Vandolph. Some of his children are in the business just like their father.[11][45]

  • Engracita Dominguez — an actress he met during a stage show (separated in 1963); six children: Manny ("Manny Boy", born 1951), Salud ("Sahlee", born 1954), Rodolfo Jr. ("Dolphy Jr.", born 1955), Wilfredo ("Freddie", 1956-2005), Edgardo ("Edgar", 1957-2020), and Raul ("Rolly", 1958-2018).
  • Gloria Smith — an actress he met in 1956; four children: Mariquita ("Kit", born 1962), Carlos (born 1965), Geraldino ("Dino", 1972-2018), and Edwin (born 1975).
  • Alice Smith — an actress whose screen name was Pamela Ponti; four children: Ronaldo ("Ronnie", born 1965), Enrico ("Eric", born 1967), Madonna ("Donna", born 1971), and Jeffrey ("Epi", born 1973).
  • Evangeline Tagulao — a nurse he met in the late 1960s while filming in a hospital; one child: Rommel (born 1968).
  • Alma Moreno — an actress he met in 1981; one child: Vandolph (born 1984).
  • Zsa Zsa Padilla — a Filipina singer and actress; one child Zia (born 1991). Dolphy and Zsa Zsa adopted Nicole (born 1990).


Quizon was a devoted Catholic throughout his life,[46] and occasionally attended Mass.[47] He also practices various Catholic rituals— while praying the rosary, or observing Holy Week (i.e. Visita Iglesia on Maundy Thursday and abstaining from eating meat on Good Friday), and would make the sign of the cross, when he came across a Catholic church.[46] Two of Quizon's children are born-again Christian who unsuccessfully persuaded him to convert; he did not, however, show lack of respect for Evangelicals.[47]


Quizon was quite involved into politics throughout his acting career, but had tried to distance himself from it. He had said that he would likely start a blog if only he were literate in browsing the Internet.[46] He had high regards with the presidency of Corazon Aquino, referring to her as an "asset" for the Filipinos.[48] Many times he refused when he was persuaded to enter politics.[49]

He supported Fernando Poe Jr. (1939–2004) during his presidential campaign in 2004,[50] whose father, Fernando Poe Sr. (d. 1951), was a close friend of his.[51] After Poe had suffered a stroke (which would later claim his life), he visited him during confinement and reassured him and his wife, Susan Roces, that he indeed had won the presidential race, despite losing it to Gloria Macapagal Arroyo.[52]


Dolphy on a 2013 stamp sheet of the Philippines

A monument honoring Quizon was erected in front of the Museo Pambata near the US Embassy in April 2013.[53]

Dolphy was awarded as Outstanding Manilan in 2010 and received the Diwa ng Lahi award in 2012, given by City Hall in celebration of the city's founding anniversary.

Araneta also noted that Dolphy grew up in Manila, where he began his showbiz career as a dancer at the Avenue, Lyric and Orient theaters.

ABS-CBN Studio 1, one of the oldest studio of ABS-CBN was transformed into a proscenium theater and was named in honor of Dolphy.

On November 23, 2013, Philippine Postal Corporation (PHLPost) released a limited edition "Dolphy Stamp."

On July 25, 2020, Google celebrated his 92nd birthday with a Google Doodle.[54]



National Honor


Special Awards[edit]

  • Lifetime Achievement Award PASADO Awards
  • Golden Father Foundation Parangal ng Bayan Awardee
  • 1994 Bert Marcelo Memorial Foundation, Dangal ng Lipi Awardee
  • 1995 PMPC Star Awards for TV, Lifetime Achievement Award
  • 1998 Gawad Urian Awards, Lifetime Achievement Award
  • 2000 Cinemanila International Film Festival, Lifetime Achievement Award
  • 2002 Lou Salvador Sr. Memorial Award, Bituin ng FAMAS Mula Noon Hanggang Ngayon Award
  • 2005 FAMAS Huwarang Bituin
  • 2009 GMMSF Box-Office Entertainment Awards, Comedy Box-Office King (with Vic Sotto)[55]
  • 2009 Metro Manila Film Festival Lifetime Achievement Award[56]
  • 2010 FAMAS Awards, Exemplary Achievement Award
  • 2010 Grand Collar of the Order of the Golden Heart – the highest award given to a private citizen by the President of the Philippines. Dolphy was cited for his contributions to the entertainment industry and for his charitable and philanthropic works.[2][57][58]
  • 2012 Gawad na Diwa ng Lahi – the highest honor given by the government of Manila to artists[59]
  • 2012 People's Artist Award – the award bestowed posthumously upon Dolphy by the Dakilang Lahi Foundation, recognizes the many contributions of the actor to the movie industry.[32]

Awards for acting[edit]

Year Association Category
1974 Metro Manila Film Festival Best Actor
1978 26th FAMAS Awards Best Actor – Omeng Satanasia
1986 PMPC Star Awards for TV Best Comedy Actor – John En Marsha
1990 Metro Manila Film Festival Best ActorEspadang Patpat
PMPC Star Awards for TV Best Comedy Actor – John En Marsha
1992 PMPC Star Awards for TV Best Comedy Actor – Home Along Da Riles
2008 PMPC Star Awards for TV Best Comedy Actor – John En Shirley
2010 Metro Manila Film Festival Best Supporting ActorRosario
Best ActorFather Jejemon
2011 Luna Awards (Film Academy of the Phil.) Best Actor – Father Jejemon

He is also the only artist in the country awarded with Best Actor and Actress for a single role in the film Markova: The Comfort Gay.[citation needed]

  • Not all the awards of Dolphy are included here.

See also[edit]

  • Dolphy Theatre – A theatre named after the late Rodolfo Vera Quizon.


  1. ^ "Curtains down for Dolphy at 83". The Daily Guardian. July 10, 2012. Retrieved April 21, 2017.
  2. ^ a b Avendaño, Christine O. (November 9, 2010). "President honors Dolphy with Grand Collar" Archived November 11, 2010, at the Wayback Machine. Retrieved on 2011-03-30.
  3. ^ (2009-10-28). "'Dolphy at 80' World Tour" Archived September 13, 2012, at the Wayback Machine. Global Nation. Retrieved on March 30, 2011.
  4. ^ Orteza 2009, p. 2.
  5. ^ Bunoan, Vladimir (July 10, 2012). "Dolphy is dead at 83". ABS-CBN News and Current Affairs. Retrieved April 21, 2017.
  6. ^ a b c d e Orteza 2009, p. 8.
  7. ^ Orteza 2009, p. 11.
  8. ^ Orteza 2009, p. 12.
  9. ^ Orteza 2009, p. 18.
  10. ^ Orteza 2009, p. 19.
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  32. ^ a b People's Artist Award Retrieved via July 14, 2012
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  52. ^ Orteza 2009, pp. 202-204.
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Works cited[edit]

External links[edit]