In the history of Philippine television, only a few names have been given so much devotion that radiates from the time they were still touched by the hands until the moment they are only felt by the hearts. Those are the kind of people who pass but stay; who leave but don’t go away and Fernando Poe Jr. (FPJ) is one of them.
Ronald Allan Kelley Poe, or commonly known as Da King, FPJ, Ronnie, Ronwaldo Reyes and dubbed as Hari ng Pelikulang Pilipino (King of Philippine Movies), was born on the 20th of August 1939 in Caloocan, Manila. His parents were Fernando Poe Sr. and Elizabeth Kelley. FPJ married Maria Jesusa Purificacion Levy Sonora who is better known in her screen name as Susan Roces. They have an adopted daughter who became MTRCB’s former Chairperson and now Senator, Grace Poe.
FPJ’s first acting role was in the film Anak ni Palaris in 1950 directed by Mario Barri, Da King also became a stuntman under Everlasting Pictures. Dedicated with the action star role he usually played in his movies, he studied stunts and exhibitions at SOS Daredevils which was managed by the late actor and writer, Ric Bustamante.
The real break for the King of Philippine Movies took place in 1956 when his name echoed loud and far and garnered an immediate growth of supporters for the movie Lo’ Waist Gang. On the following year, Tough Guy went out as FPJ’s first solo movie while the film Kamay ni Cain made FPJ one of the nominees for Filipino Academy of Movie Arts and Sciences (FAMAS). Besides acting, FPJ produced movies through his self-established movie production studios as well, FPJ Productions and D’Lanor Productions. There he introduced himself as Ronwaldo Reyes, his pseudonym as a director.
FAMAS recognized his films and awarded the famous Panday II and for Best Cinematography, Panday III for Best Cinematography and Production Design, and Panday IV for Best Special Visual Effects. As an actor, FAMAS also granted him the Best Actor Award in the movies Mga Alabok sa Lupa, Asedillo, Durugin si Totoy Bato, Umpisahan Mo, Tatapusin Ko, and Muslim Magnum .347.
Other awards include FAP Lifetime Achievement Award; FAMAS Best Pictures Award for Sigaw ng Digmaan, Mga Anghel na Walang Langit, and Ang Padrino.
Truth be told, these physical awards and plaques are not what the public would remember, rather it was the way FPJ touched the souls of many, through his presence in his films. FPJ left a legacy people knew would never falter even through the years. But more than that, his humility and heart for what he loved doing and his supporters were what made him a striking personality in Philippine TV until today. Da King is still alive in the hearts of many Filipinos.