The Bald Baranggay Chairman
When the TV comic fantasy “Okey na, Fairy Ko” aired on Channel 2 back in the 80s, the Filipino viewers had their share of laughs because of a whimsical character, Pipoy. Pipoy, the bald sidekick of the show’s main character, was so popular that fans call the actor by his character’s name. The actor even included the name Pipoy in his calling cards. Decades after the show ended, Pipoy would continue to be a household name. However, little is known of the man behind this character. Ironically, his real name wouldn’t be immediately recognized if one were to ask about it.
The Man Less Known
The beloved character was played by actor Hilario “Larry” Silva, who starred in Filipino movies such as “Popeye” and “Sa Kamay ng Limang Kilabot at Samurai Master”, to name a few. Ironically, the roles he was accustomed to, wouldn’t be the reason why he was well liked and remembered by the Filipino viewers. It wasn’t his role as a rapist, as a murderer, nor as a drug dealer that pushed him to fame. He had to shed his darker acting persona to become the funny Pipoy that children would soon recognize. Larry Silva may have been one of the humbler celebrities, back in the day. He was a hustler of sorts. He worked mostly as a bouncer and as a floor manager at nightclubs. But as fate would have it, he would be discovered by director Felix Villar and be cast in his first movie as a goon. Since then, he became hooked into the industry. In Larry’s own words, he said “ang showbiz pala’y nakakagiyang…parang opyo!”. Although he earned a hefty amount of money from his roles, it wasn’t enough to support his family. So, he devised a way to get more gigs in the industry. Messages and flattery to the big guys in the show business, became Larry’s strategy to landing supporting roles. He persevered and starred in 300 movies throughout his acting career.
Perhaps, what makes this man special isn’t from the character he played. It was his work ethic, down-to-earth personality, and humility that was beyond his celebrity status. In the latter years of his life, he would be rubbing elbows with politicians like FPJ. Whenever he attended political campaigns, he’d admittedly be embarrassed by how people pour their attention to him instead of the candidate. He even confessed that he’d rather be the man in the background of such events.
If one were to ask the closest people in his life, such as his four children, they will say that their father once told them not to be like him. Not to find shortcuts in life because of money. He reiterated and emphasized the importance of finishing school. This must be one of the wisest life lessons he has shared with them and to his fans.