March 3, 1924
Cebu City, Philippine Islands
|Died||June 27, 1948
Quezon City, Metro Manila, Philippines
|Children||Vivian Climaco Ocampo|
Born in Cebu to a composer, Velez first came into the limelight when she won an amateur radio singing contest in the mid-1930s. Prior to the outbreak of World War II, her singing career thrived, and she popularized one of her father's songs, Sa Kabukiran. Velez also won the heart of Jose Climaco, the manager of the radio station which had sponsored the contest which won her fame. They were married in 1942 and had one daughter named Vivian.
Her film career began upon the resumption of Filipino film production after the end of the war. She joined LVN Pictures, and with her husband as director, starred in such films as Binibiro Lamang Kita, Ang Estudyante, and Sa Kabukiran, inspired by the song that had earlier earned her fame. Her leading man in these films was Narding Anzures, a former child actor.
Velez had three brothers named Theodoro (a popular craftsman), Cecilio and George (or Jose or Joseph) and two sisters named Gloria and Aida.
After the success of Sa Kabukiran, LVN Pictures decided to cast Jaime de la Rosa as Velez's leading man in her next film. The decision caused distress on the part of Anzures, who had seemingly become obsessed with the married Velez. At 1:00 AM of June 27, 1948, Anzures paid an unexpected visit to the Quezon City home of Velez. Upon his arrival, he stabbed Velez to death and a housemaid who had come to her mistress's assistance. The crime was committed within view of Velez's toddler daughter Vivian, who was unharmed during the incident. Anzures was promptly arrested, tried and convicted for the murders. The crime and the subsequent trial was a cause célèbre in Manila. Anzures later died in jail from tuberculosis; his exact motives for the murder were never fully determined.
1995 film biography
In 1995, the murder of Lilian Velez was the subject of a high-profile film directed by Carlo J. Caparas. Starring award-winning actress Sharon Cuneta as Velez and Cesar Montano as Anzures, the film was one in a string of "true-crime" films churned out by Caparas in the early 1990s.