In one of his more recent interviews, Eddie Garcia said that when you die, then it is the end.
You will disappear then you will eventually be forgotten.
I dare say that he was wrong.
That was the Eddie Garcia we all knew and gave the highest respect. Through the span of seven decades of film work, his feet never left the ground although his love for the art and craft enabled him to soar in uncharted bounds of the heavens.
Unlike other "stars" who gave such brilliance for the limited moment they are allowed to float in that imaginary infinity. If there was one thing that Eddie Garcia proved, then it was his longevity in his career because of his professionalism and ability to adapt, embrace and reinvent himself with the roles he portrayed through the passage of generations.
From Siete Infantes de Lara which ushered in his career as an actor to ML and Rainbow Sunset, Garcia showed no fear, did not cower to the demands of image that actors of lesser talent are obsessed with in the choices of roles or how they presented themselves to the public. What made Garcia resilient through the ages was the fact that he was an actor, an artist and not merely a celebrity whose concern is public perception rather than personal fulfillment.
I only had one chance to work with Eddie Garcia: that was a project called I Want to Be Happy where he appeared with Gloria Romero, Marissa Delgado, Cherry Pie Picache among others. And what I remember the most about the Man was that he would be on the set ahead of everybody else, prepared for the day's shoot and would show utmost respect for literally everybody on the set.
This was the measure of greatness. It was his humility, his accessibility and openness to people he worked with making everyone feel that he was one of them.
Joel Lamangan and I were discussing about the events that transpired leading to the accident that eventually took Garcia away from us.
Joel said that Eddie was like that: he was 90 years old but never used his age as an excuse or a license or a form of entitlement for him to fulfill his work. He will insist on doing what was demanded by the role because it was part and parcel of what was expected from him as an actor. He wore that jacket under the sweltering heat of the June midday sun: he complied with the instructions for him to run carrying a gun --- never complaining nor asking to be treated any differently.
He would always say that yes, he was old ... but he was not an invalid
And you do not find people like that any more in the business. You do not find such commitment and dedication to work as that found in the actors of previous generations. These are the living treasures of Filipino cinema: Anita Linda, Gloria Romero, Gloria Sevilla. They are the last of the immortals in a business of dispensable.
We will miss Eddie Garcia. He is now with Fernando Poe Jr and Dolphy ...the great icons of Filipino cinema who shaped the industry as we understand it today.
We will miss the man. We will miss this Ultimate Gentleman. We will miss this Great Artist.
Tomorrow, the 24th of June 2019, his ashes will be laid to its final rest.
But, Sir ... Tito Eddie, you are wrong.
You will never be forgotten. Kings are etched in the annals of history. They are remembered to give dignity and pride to those they leave behind.