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Friends from showbiz pay tribute to Mario O'Hara (1946-2012)

Critically acclaimed actor, scriptwriter, and director Mario O'Hara is remembered not only for his impressive body of work, but also for his simplicity and humility.

BY RACHELLE SIAZON

FRESH SCOOPS

6/30/2012 10:33 PM
Friends from showbiz pay tribute to Mario O'Hara (1946-2012)


070112-mario-main.jpgA renowned director, screenplay writer, and actor, Mario O’Hara was diagnosed with Acute Myelogenous Leukemia about two weeks ago, underwent chemotherapy but eventually succumbed to the disease due to cardiac arrest last June 26. To recall his impressive body of work, he collaborated with director Lino Brocka on several classic Filipino movies and theatrical productions. He wrote the screenplay for Tinimbang Ka Ngunit Kulang (1974) where he also played the role of Bertong Ketongin opposite Lolita Rodriguez. Brocka’s Insiang (1976)—the first Filipino film to be shown at the Cannes Film Festival—was based on O’Hara’s teleplay. Then he directed the film Tatlong Araw Na Walang Diyos (1976), one of his many collaborations with Nora Aunor. His other works included Bulaklak Sa City Jail (1984), Fatima Buen Story (1994), Sisa (1999), and Babae Sa Breakwater (2003).

Friends and loved ones expressed their grief over Mario’s sudden passing, but at the same time, they were filled with awe as he remained humble and optimistic till the last moment in his life.

Paolo O’Hara, relative: ”Kasi masiyahin siyang tao. [When he was diagnosed with Leukemia two weeks ago] iyakan kami ng iyakan, pero tawa kami ng tawa kasi siya yung may sakit tapos siya yung nagpapatawa. [Tinanggap niya yung sakit niya] with a smile. He’s 66 years old. Si Nora (Aunor) dumalaw at iba pa niyang mga close friends nung bata pa siya. On behalf of our family, maraming salamat sa lahat ng taong nagpakita ng kanilang pakikiramay.

Bembol Roco, friend and colleague: “Matagal na [kaming magkakilala], siguro 1974, bago pa lang ako nalilinya sa theater. Isang napakahusay at mabait na kaibigan si Mario. Sa mahaba naming pinagsamahan bilang magkaibigan, wala siyang negatibong ere sa ulo niya. Basta masarap siyang kasama palagi. Ang hindi ko makakalimutan yung mapagbiro niyang pamamaraan. Mahilig siyang mang-good time at masiyahin. Masuwerte ako na nakatrabaho ko siya sa pelikulang Tatlong Taong Walang Diyos. Nakakalungkot ang pagkawala niya pero siguro talagang panahon na niya.

John Arcilla, friend and colleague: “Hindi ko siya naging director [pero] marami kaming pinagsamahan sa theater. Ang bilis makapalagayang loob niya. Napakasimple niyang tao. Mas gusto niya lumakad kaysa sumakay. Sabi ko nga, itong Amerikanong ito, isang sikat na playwright at director, ’Bakit ka maglalakad?’ Sabi niya, ’Nag-e-exercise ako e.’ Nababaitan ako masyado sa kanya. Kahit na may reklamo siya, idadaan pa niya sa tawa. Na kapag may sinabi siyang something, imbis na dumaplis sa’yo pabalik pa sa kanya. Parang mas siya na lang ang magdala kaysa iba.

Brillante Mendoza, colleague: “Magkasama kami nagpre-prod for my film. We were joking about our age the last time na magkakasama kami. Tapos biglaan, ang bilis [ng pagkawala niya]. Isa siya sa mga director na malaki ang respeto ko talaga. I’ve done one film with him, yung Gabriela kasama si Carmi Martin, during the late ‘80s. Production designer pa lang ako nun. Two months kaming magkakasama. Artista siya dun. Most recently, I remember nagpunta siya sa screening ko. Pag Q and A siya ang unang magtatanong. I was so flattered. Sabi niya sa akin kaya pala nanalo ka kasi napakagaling mo. Parang from a film na taong nirerespeto mo, nakakaoverwhelm. Among all the directors na nakasama ko, siya yung pupunta pa sa screening ng movies ng ibang directors. Bihira ang ganon.