FPJ is Da King

FPJ as Flavio in "Ang Panday"
FPJ as Flavio in "Ang Panday"

Ronald Allan Kelley Poe

Fernando Poe, Jr. or more popularly known as FPJ is Ronald Allan Kelley Poe in real life. He is also called DA KING (The King) of Philippine movies.

FPJ was born in San Carlos, Pangasinan on August 20, 1939. His parents were Filipino actor Allan Fernando R. Poe (with screen name Fernando Poe, Sr.) and Elizabeth Kelley, an American woman.

Ronald Allan Poe was second among six siblings where Elizabeth Poe is the eldest. After Ronald Allan came his younger brother Andy Poe or the real Fernando Poe, Jr., then Genevieve “Jenny” Poe, Freddie Poe, and Evangeline Poe. He has a half-brother Conrad Poe who also became an actor.

The original spelling of their family name is “Pou” which was the surname of his grandfather Lorenzo Pou, a Catalan migrant from Majorca, Spain who ventured into the Philippines to engage in mining and business.

FPJ was in high school when his father died from rabies at the age of 35. The role the breadwinner fell on his shoulders being the eldest son in the family. He dropped out of high school and worked in the film industry to support his family. He started as a bit player and became a stuntman.

Fernando Poe, Jr.

He took the name of his younger brother Andy and became Fernando Poe, Jr. when he decided to become an actor.

He was then given a big break when he landed the lead role in “Anak ni Palaris” (Son of Palaris) but the movie was not a hit.

It was in 1957 when he became part of the movie “Lo Waist Gang” that he rose in popularity.

Most of the movies of FPJ portrayed him as the defender of the poor and the oppressed. He went on to win various awards as an actor and as a film director. He directed movies under the pseudonym Ronwaldo Reyes. The name Reyes is from the surname of his paternal grandmother, Martha.

He created his own movie productions known as FPJ Productions in 1961. In 1965, he starred in the war drama and shared the lead with American actor John Saxon. The movie, directed by Eddie Romero is considered one of the most significant Filipino films.

Da King

Since FPJ has started doing movies in mid-50’s, he has starred in more than two hundred films from his first starrer as Anak ni Palaris to the last movie he made in 2003, the Pakners where he has paired with Efren “Bata” Reyes, the internationally known Filipino billiard player.

FPJ has married Susan Roces in civil rites on December 1968. Susan Roces who is Jesusa Sonora in real life is the reigning queen of Philippine movies at that time. They later have a church wedding with no less than the then-President of the Philippines and First Lady Imelda Marcos as one of the primary sponsors. FPJ has successfully kept his private life away from the public which perhaps is one of the the reasons for his charm, and one of the reasons his fans love him.

Even his charitable works are not given so much publicity. In real life, he is the same champion of the poor as he depicts in his movies.

It has been a big loss not only to the Philippine cinema but also to the whole Filipino people when FPJ died on December 14, 2004 at the age of 65. He might be dead but his legacy lives on. His movies are still watched by his fans on TV or wherever they are shown. His one-liners are still quoted by young and old alike, and even the young Filipino generation knows who FPJ is.

FPJ is known for his rapid-fire punches and jabs which has become his trademark.

FPJ Awards

FPJ became an award-winning actor and had the most awards for best actor at the FAMAS and other award-giving bodies in the Philippine Cinema.

From the Filipino Academy of Movie Arts and Sciences (FAMAS) Awards:

2005 - “Natatanging Alagad ng Sining” (Lit: Most Outstanding Disciple of the Arts) awarded posthumously

2000 - Lifetime Achievement Award

1997 - Presidential Award

1996 - Best Director for the 1995 film “Kahit Butas ng Karayom” (Lit: Even the Eye of a Needle)

1988 – Actor Hall of Fame

1987 – Best Actor for the 1986 film Muslim .357

1985 – Best Director and Best Screenplay for the 1984 film “Ang Padrino” (The Godfather)

1984 - Best Actor in the 1984 film “Umpisahan Mo, Tatapusin Ko!” (Lit: You Start, I’ll End It!)

1980 – Best Actor in the 1979 film “Durugin si Totoy Bato” (Crush Totoy Bato)

1972 – Best Actor in 1971 film Asedillo

1971 – Best Story for the 1970 film “Mga Anghel na Walang Langit” (Lit: Angels Without Heaven) that FPJ wrote under the name Ronwaldo Reyes

1968 – Best Actor in the 1967 film “Mga Alabok sa Lupa” (Lit: Dust on the Ground)

From the Film Academy of the Philippines (FAP):

1998 – Best Director and Best Actor in 1997 film “Eseng ng Tondo”

1987 – Best Actor in the 1986 film Muslim .357

1984 – Best Actor in 1983 film Umpisahan Mo, Tatapusin Ko!

From the GAWAD URIAN Awards:

2002 – Lifetime Achievement Award

From Cinema One Originals Digital Film Festival:

2009 – Cinema One Legend Award (posthumously)

Cinemanila International Film Festival:

2000 – Lifetime Achievement Award

Ronald Allan K. Poe aka Fernando Poe, Jr. was posthumously proclaimed (2006) and confirmed (2012) as a National Artist of the Philippines for Films.

Trivia

The 1970 film Mga Anghel na Walang Langit (Angels without Heaven) won five awards at the 1971 FAMAS. Among the awards were Best Picture and Best Story. The story was written by Ronwaldo Reyes and when he was declared the winner, Fernando Poe, Jr. appeared and revealed himself as the writer. Since then, FPJ had been using “Ronwaldo Reyes” in his writing and directorial credit.

The standard in the Philippine movie productions before is that crew members have to provide for their own food but FPJ changed the standard when he implemented equal opportunity system among cast and crew in his own productions. Thanks to FPJ, most movie productions now have caterers serving food for everyone in the set.

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