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Wednesday, August 18, 2004
(abstracted from Filipinas Magazine by: Gemma Nemenzo)

A Villainess Love By All


She was dubbed "the Sophia Loren of the Philippines", at a time when to look like an international movie star was a big plus in one's arsenal of assets. But even as Marlene Dauden was quite a stunner with her full, pouty lips and her big expressive eyes, there was always something more to her that set her apart from the sea of beautiful mestizas in Sampaguita Pictures stable of movie stars.

Her contemporaries in the Sampaguita studios, which included Susan Roces, Amalia Fuentes and Barbara Perez, knew and acknowledged that the heavy dramatic roles would always go to Marlene Dauden and Lolita Rodriguez.

For Filipino movie fans of yesteryear, Marlene Dauden is on the same revered level as Lolita Rodirguez. The two were dramatic actresses par excellence, who were not to be debased by screaming hordes or gossip columns. It is a tribute to Marlene's unigueness that, despite her "contrabida"(villainess)roles, she is remembered fondly as a "bida"(heroine).

To think Marlene had to learn acting the hard way. Born to Spanish-Irish father and a Spanish mother was brought up in a Spanish speaking household and an English speaking school (St. Scholastica in the 50's). In her movies she had to be coached in the nuances of acting and in speaking tagalog (by Rosa Mia among others) so she could be understandable to viewers. To prepare for her roles, she had to skip the socializing that was expected of Sampaguita stars so that she could stay up and memorize her Tagalog lines. This "inadeqaucy" and her classy demeanor made her a natural for rich society girl roles such as "Marivic" in "Pagpatak ng Ulan"(When the Rain Falls) who messes up the relationship of Mario MOntenegro and Gloria Romero and dies in the end so that the lovers can be reunited.

Marlene married La Salle basketball star Ernesto "Nonggoy" Hernaez on the third year of her four year contract with Sampaguita Pictures. As she started to have babies, the studio decided not to renew, thus freeing her to combine mothering and acting on her own terms. Having already won the FAMAS Best supporting Actress award for "Anino ni Bathala"(God's Shadow) in 1959, it was easy to land plum dramatic roles as a free lancer. In fact, it was after Sampaguita that Marlene Dauden's acting prowess flourished.

In 1963, she won anothr FAMAS Best Supporting award trophy for "Sapagkat Kami'y Tao Lamang"(Because we're only human), her favorite movie, the one that her fan will associate with her. The next year she bagged the FAMAS Best Actress award with "Sa Bawa't Pintig ng Puso"(When the heart is wounded), and honor she shared with Fernando Poe, Jr. who bagged the Best Actor award.

In the late '60s, she was offered her own television series, "Salamisim"(reflections) on channel 5. The program showcased her well honed dramatic prowess and hooked her up with Mitos Villareal, the renowned TV director and Ateng Osorio, the veteran scripwriter. Their trimvirate would eventually move to ABS-CBN with a new porgram called "Panagimpan"(Imagination) where Marlene was host and occasional lead star sharing the creative conceptualization of each show with Mitos and Ateng.

Marlene Dauden-Hernaez transitioned from actress to medical office manager seamlessly, although there were occasions when her movie persona, which she kept secret to her non-Filipino friends, would inadvertently be invoked. she almost did not get her first job, she recalls, because the hirng officer found out and was a bit squeamish about hiring a famous person.

Today, at 66, she and Nonggoy are retired and living peacefully in a quiet town in California, close enough to her three married daughters and eight grandchildren to enjoy regular family get togethers. Theirs is a close knit family, a gift that Marlene is very thankful for.

Right now, she is enjoying a leisurely retirement and a small, non demanding lumpia business, with her own very specail recipe which is getting raves from lucky tasters.

"My peers, those times, they are what I miss most", she confesses. Philppine movies, however, miss the big, fromidable presence of the one and only MARLENE DAUDEN.
posted by infraternam meam @ 4:32 AM  
  • At 8:02 AM, Blogger juan tamad said…

    i don't know where they are. they probably don't want to be found anyway. leave them alone. However,i'd like to know and hope to find them still contributing to
    the growth of phil culture of they
    are willing to be found but only on this basis. otherwise i don't want to find out if only for curiousty. monty

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Name: infraternam meam
Home: Chicago, United States
About Me: I am now at the prime of my life and have been married for the past 25 years. Sickly at times, but wants to see the elixir vita, so that I will be able to see my grandchildren from my two boys.
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