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Wednesday, June 27, 2012


MANILA, Philippines—Award-winning director, actor, playwright Mario O’Hara (b. 1946) died of cardiac arrest between 10:30 a.m. and 11 a.m. on Tuesday (26 June) at the San Juan de Dios Hospital in Pasay City. He was 66.

According to his brother Jerry, O’Hara’s heart attack was a complication of his acute leukemia, which was diagnosed only this month.
“My brother’s cardiologist already warned me that his low hemoglobin count could lead to this,” Jerry told the Inquirer in a phone interview. “He had been conscious. He still looked healthy despite his illness. His heart simply gave up.”

O’Hara’s remains lie at the Saint Alphonsus Mary Ligouri Parish on Magallanes Avenue in Makati City. Interment will be announced later.

Jerry said O’Hara been in and out of the hospital for two months. He was first brought there in May due to pneumonia. “This triggered a mild heart attack. He had been confined for three weeks,” he said in an interview on June 20.

O’Hara went home for a week, until his his condition “got worse” and had to be taken back to the hospital. “He felt weak. He lost his appetite and the small amount of food he ate, he vomited,” Jerry recalled. It was around this time that O’Hara’s leukemia had been diagnosed.
“His body rejected medicine. His creatinine level shot up. This caused damage to his kidneys and liver,” the brother related. “Doctors also said his potassium level was high and that this could cause for his heart to stop any time.”
O’Hara underwent his first chemotherapy session on June 20. The following day, Jerry sent this message to the Inquirer: “He is responding very well to chemo.”

Jerry said O’Hara had initially refused cancer treatment and suffered from bouts of depression. “His doctors had told him, ‘give medicine a chance to work on you,’ but my brother replied, ‘doon (death) din naman ang uwi ko.’ He had bouts of depression. His family tried to encourage him, to keep him fighting.”

On Tuesday, Jerry said: “My brother fought for his life. He stood his ground. He even managed to fight his depression. We made some of his closest friends visit him to cheer him up. The day before he died, he even ate a big serving of his favorite sapin-sapin.”

O’Hara was a native of Zamboanga. He collaborated with the late National Artist for Film Lino Brocka in the 1970s in films such as “Insiang” and “Tinimbang Ka Ngunit Kulang (You’ve Been Weight But Found Wanting),” where he made his first breakthrough performance as a leper. He also co-wrote the scripts of these films which are now considered classics not only in the Philippines but in world cinema.

In 2004, he made the award-winning neo-realist film “Babae Sa Breakwater.”

O’Hara’s last, “Ang Paglilitis ni Andres Bonifacio,” was an entry to the 2010 Cinemalaya Philippine independent Film Festival.

Source: Philippine Daily Inquirer

Mario O’ Hara (writer and director) started his film career doing scripts in television (served as his training ground in script writing) and performing in stage plays under PETA (Philippine Educational Theater Association). He wrote the screenplay of most of early Brocka’s movies i.e. Cadena de Amor (1971), Lumuha Pati Mga Anghel (1971), Tinimbang Ka Nguni’t Kulang (1974) and Tatlo Dalawa Isa (1974). O'Hara also did some acting appearing in Santiago (1970), Tubog sa Ginto (1971), Stardoom (1972), Tinimbang Ka Nguni’t Kulang, Tatlo Dalawa Isa and Gumising Ka Maruja (1978). His close association and corroboration with the great Lino Brocka proved advantageous to him, as he went into movie directing via Moral , his directorial debut in 1976. Often overlooked (as far as film directing is concerned) and always in the shadow of directors Brocka, Bernal, De Leon, Ad Castillo, Diaz-Abaya or even Gosiengfiao and Perez, O'Hara, however, has produced a body of works that one would be proud of. Among his memorable works, spanning three decades, are Tatlong Taong Walang Diyos (1976), Kastilyong Buhangin (1980), Bakit Bughaw ang Langit (1980), Bulaklak sa City Jail (1984), Condemned (1984), all starred by Superstar Nora Aunor, Bagong Hari (1986), Babae sa Bubungang Lata (1988) and Babae sa Breakwater (2004).

Read: Mario O'Hara: Manila at the Edge of Realism by Noel Vera/
The Quiet Man by Noel Vera

Left- Moral (1976)- Stars Lolita Rodriguez, Rosanna Ortiz, Anita Linda and Dindo Fernando/with Darling Postigo better known as Julie Vega/ Written and Directed by Mario O'Hara

Right- Tatlong Taong Walang Diyos (1976)- Stars Nora Aunor, Christopher de Leon and Rafael 'Bembol' Roco/ Written and Directed by Mario O'Hara

Mga Bilanggong Birhen (1977)- Stars Alma Moreno, Trixia Gomez, Rez Cortez, Armida Siguon-Reyna, Mario Montenegro, Barbara Luna, Ruffy Mendoza & Leroy Salvador/ Written and Directed by Mario O'Hara & Romy Suzara

Left- Kastilyong Buhangin (1980)- Stars Nora Aunor and Lito Lapid/ Directed by Mario O'Hara

Right- Bakit Bughaw ang Langit? (1980)- Stars Nora Aunor and Dennis Roldan/ Directed by Mario O'Hara

Gaano Kita Kamahal (1981)- Stars Nora Aunor, Lito Lapid, Geraldine, Marita Zobel, Mario Escudero/ Directed by Mario O'Hara

To Mama With Love (1983)- Stars Gloria Romero, Snooky Serna, Maricel Soriano, Janice de Belen, Julie Vega and William Martinez,/ Introducing Manilyn Reynes/ Directed by Mario O'Hara

Left- Condemned (1984)- Stars Nora Aunor, Gloria Romero, Gina Alajar, Rio Locsin and Dan Alvaro/ Directed by Mario O'Hara

Right- Bulaklak sa City Jail (1984)- Stars Nora Aunor, Gina Alajar, Celia Rodriguez, Perla Bautista, Maya Valdes, Zenaida Amador, Maritess Gutierrez, Shyr Valdez/ Directed by Mario O'Hara

Uhaw sa Pag-ibig (1984)- Stars Claudia Zobel, Edgar Mande, Patrick de la Rosa, Lito Pimentel/ Directed by Mario O'Hara

Bagong Hari(1986)- Stars Dan Alvaro, Carmi Martin, Joel Torre, Robert Arevalo, Perla Bautista, Celso Ad Castillo and Elvira Manahan/ Directed by Mario O'Hara

Left- Halimaw (1986)- 2 Episodes: Komiks (Directed by Christopher Strauss de Leon) & Banga (Directed by Mario O' Hara/ Stars Liza Lorena, Gina Pareno, Michael de Mesa, Mario O' Hara, Ruel Vernal, Maritess Gutierrez, Ronel Victor, Jaime Fabregas, Marilyn Villamayor and Ian & Lotlot

Right- Takot Ako, Eh! (1987)- Stars Kristoffer Ian, Lotlot, Matet, Caridad Sanchez, Richard Merck, Jimmy Fabregas, Ronel Victor, Marilyn Villamayor/ Directed by Mario O'Har

Left- Babae sa Bubungang Lata (1988)- Stars Aya Medel, Mike Magat, Renzo Cruz, Randy Ramos, Allen Dizon and Anita Linda/ Directed by Mario O'Hara

Right- The Fatima Buen Story (1994)- Stars Kris Aquino, Zoren Legaspi, John Regala, Janice de Belen and Gina Pareno/ Directed by Mario O'Har

Manananggal in Manila (1997)- Stars Tonton Gutierrez, Eric Fructuoso, Mike Magat, Aiza Seguerra and Alma Concepcion/ Directed by Mario O'Hara

Left- Sindak (1999)- Stars John Robert Porter, Jr., Rita Magdalena, Aya Medel, Gardo Verzosa, Mike Magat, Allen Dizon and William Martinez/ Directed by Mario O'Hara

Right- Sisa (1999)- Stars Gardo Versoza, Patrick De Guzman, Marcus Madrigal and Aya Medel/ with Evangeline Pascual/ Directed by Mario O'Har

Babae sa Breakwater (2004)- Stars Katherine Luna, Kristoffer King, Gardo Versoza, Amy Austria Alcris Galura, Yoyoy Villame, Evelyn Vargas, Jeanette Nunag / Directed by Mario O'Hara

The Films of Mario O’Hara:
Ang Paglilitis ni Andres Bonifacio (2010)
Babae sa Breakwater (2004)
Pangarap ng Puso (2000)
Sindak (1999)
Sisa (1999)
Ang Babae sa Bubungang Lata (1998)
Mama, Dito sa Aking Puso (1997)
Manananggal in Manila (1997)
The Fatima Buen Story (1994)
Johnny Tinoso an the Proud Beauty (1994)
Tatlong Ina, Isang Anak (1987)
Prinsesang Gusgusin (1987)
Takot Ako, Eh! (1987)
Halimaw (Episode: Banga) (1986)
Bagong Hari (1986)
Bulaklak sa City Jail (1984)
Condemned (1984)
To Mama With Love (1983)
Uhaw sa Pag-ibig (1983)
Bakit Bughaw ang Langit? (1981)
Kastilyong Buhangin (1980)
Marcelino pan y vino (1979) (TV)
Mga Bilanggong Birhen (1977)
Tatlong Taong Walang Diyos (1976)
Mortal (1976)


TheCoolCanadian said...

Hi Simon:

I am totally shocked. Mario wasn't that old and I knew him as one of the healthiest guys I have known in RP showbiz.

He was an artistic, gentle soul, who graced RP showbiz quietly but brilliantly. Mario was my fave director amongst the many I have worked with and now he is gone.

It was just like yesterday when he would crack a joke each time we see each other during taping sessions: "Hoy, mayaman!" was his teasing. He was trying to tell me to slow down because I was working too hard writing for several TV drama shows (of which two of them he was directing).

Just like the movie posters you've been posting in your blog, I will remember him, too, as part of my happy memories.

May he rest in peace.

Sam said...

I will still have to see more of his works and performances, but I will never forget his role in Tinimbang Ka Ngunit Kulang. Hearing the news about his passing did sadden me in one way or another. RIP Direk Mario O'Hara.


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