Thomasian actor Bernardo Bernardo dies at 73

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THOMASIAN actor and comedian Bernardo Bernardo passed away on Thursday. He was 73 years old.

Bernardo’s death was confirmed by his niece Susan Vecina Santos on Facebook.

The former Varsitarian editor in chief revealed in January through a Facebok post that his pancreas was swelling due to a tumor.

“[M]y pancreas is swollen because of a tumor, possibly malignant, growing in the head of the pancreas. As it grows it begins to press on the bile duct and the pancreatic duct and with increasing pressure, the ducts eventually get pinched off,” Bernardo said.

The veteran actor obtained his bachelor’s degree in journalism in UST in 1966 and his theater training at the University of California. He graduated with a Master of Arts degree at the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Arts.

He was best known for his comedic role in Dolphy’s hit TV sitcom “Home Along the Riles” before he left local show business to pursue acting and academic careers in the United States.

His last projects were “Ang Larawan,” a musical based on National Artist Nick Joaquin’s “A Portrait of the Artist as Filipino” directed by Loy Arcenas, and romantic drama “The Significant Other” directed by Joel Lamangan.

Bernardo won the Gawad Urian Best Supporting Actor award in 1981 for his role as “Manay Sharon” in Ishmael Bernal’s “Manila By Night.”

He recently served as stage director of “Brushes with Words and Chords,” a presentation held on April 26, 2017 at the Thomas Aquinas Research Center Auditorium following his comeback to UST as senior visiting fellow of the Center for Creative Writing and Literary Studies (CCWLS).

Cristina Pantoja Hidalgo, CCWLS director, paid tribute to Bernardo, who was a CCWLS fellow and who also taught at the UST Graduate School.

“[V]ery sad to learn of the passing of my dear old friend and UST schoolmate, Bernardo Bernardo. We in the UST Center for Creative Writing and Literary Studies were fortunate that he accepted our offer to be Senior Resident Fellow, and to teach in the UST Graduate School and be part of the teaching panel in our National Writers’ Workshop. He brightened our lives the last few years! Our deep condolences to his family. May he rest in peace,” Hidalgo said in a Facebook post.

Condolences and messages of sympathy from celebrities who had worked with Bernardo also poured out on social media.

Actress Lea Salonga posted on Twitter: “Tito Bernie was my very first leading man in the very first show I ever did, The King and I (he played the King of Siam and I was one of his daughters). Kind, funny, ebullient, brilliant, big hearted. Sigh.”

Singer and activist Leah Navarro said: “Goodbye, Bernardo ‘Bernie’ Bernardo. It was a treat to work with you in ‘They’re Playing Our Song’ so long ago. You were wonderfully talented, funny, sensitive, and kind. Rest peacefully with God forever, old pal.”

Film Development Council head Liza Diño-Seguerra said in a Facebook post: “At the time when everyone was in doubt, he stood up for me. Sa tuwing merong mga bashers or negative people na nagsasabi ng ‘di maganda, siya ang unang nagtatanggol sa akin. Napakarami niyang pangarap para sa industriya at sa tuwing nagkikita kami, lagi niya itong binabahagi sa akin. Maraming salamat sa lahat. Ang hirap tanggaping wala ka na. Isang tunay na kaibigan at kakampi.”

His remains lie at the St. Peter’s Chapel in Quezon City.

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