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BERNARD BELLEZA (circa 1968)
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BERNARD BELLEZA: PORTRAIT OF A DAREDEVIL STAR
By Baby K. Jimenez
(Published in: The Weekly Nation, September 4, 1967)
IN THE field of sports he is a champion. He has won medals, trophies and other awards by beating his opponents here and abroad. He is perfectly at home from bowling to boxing. Just name the game and you'll see him do it with much dexterity. He has honed his karate in Korea and will be the Philippines' heavyweight karate bet this October in another Asian tournament. In 1968 he will be one of our representatives to the Olympics in Mexico.
An active guy, he is a member of the Philippine Parachute Club, a basketball player of Virgo Productions, an affiliate of the MAP (Motorcycle Association of the Philippines), besides being a staff sergeant of the Paratroopers Team, Research Division, PAF. He has his office at the Rescue Squad Nichols Air Base.
These and many more accomplishments can not still satisfy the Apollo-built Bernard Belleza. He has another ambition -- to make good in the movies. N.G.I. Productions is not leaving any stone unturned to make him an action star of the first water in its initial picture Sunjuka Master.
"Actually I never dreamed of becoming an actor. At 14 I was already involved in sports and I always thought I would just limit my capacity as an athlete until I met Atty. Esperidion Laxa of Tagalog Ilang-Ilang Productions," Bernard confessed. "But later the movies has attracted me so much I decided to make a name for myself -- this time, as an actor."
It was Atty. Lalic, a brother-in-law of Atty. Laxa who introduced Bernard to the latter. Atty. Laxa was impressed by Bernard's built he offered to cast him in Trap, a Tony Ferrer-starrer. This was followed by Showdown, Blackmail and Sabotage.
Through the help of an editor-friend, Bernard met Eddie Rodriguez and Liza Moreno, stars and producers of Virgo Productions.
"I didn't know that they would give me a big chance in my first movie with Virgo. My spirits soared when I was introduced in Cobra."
Bernard did a dangerous scene in Cobra. He rode a speeding motorcycle that passed along narrow and sharp-curved routes.
"I owe Eddie and Liza so much. they are real friends and I will always look up to them with gratitude. In fact when I left for Korea last year, the whole Virgo staff saw me off at the airport. It was very kind of them."
Last year Bernard signed up with Dansil Productions for two years with an option to accept outside offers.
"I was about to make Daredevil with myself in the top role but Dante Silverio (the producer) shelved it. I heard they might push it through late this year. Now that I am offered by N.G.I. a chance to prove my worth as a star, I only hope I make the grade."
Bernard refuses to comment on the countless daring scenes he has done in many action films (sometimes he doubles for the leading man). All his devil-may-care stunts will now be fully exploited on the screen to his credit. It includes jumping from one building to another, crashing through a window glass, smashing bricks with his bare hands, etc.
A scene at the Jones Bridge will also feature Bernard jumping from the bridge to a speeding boat in the water. One of the highlights will have him drive a car at full speed and then transfer to another speeding vehicle.
A Budding Romance
Shifting to another topic, I asked Bernard on his reported romance with Daisy Romualdez.
"She's my leading lady in the picture, yes," he tried to be as laconic as possible.
When I hinted that my spy had seen them almost four times at a nightspot on Roxas boulevard long before they knew they would make a picture together, he broke into a wide grin.
"There, you got me! Should I give up? Okay," he said. "Daisy is lovely and she just happens to fit the qualities of my ideal woman. The truth is, we were both surprised and glad upon learning that we would be teamed up. Thank God, she's my first leading lady."
Bernard is certainly bend on being a success.
"Although I am categorically typed as an action star, I am also interested in drama for it is the only picture that really measures up the talents of a true thespian ... But just in case I don't succeed in the movies, I am praying hard for favorable results, I may put up my own karate school. At present I teach some of my colleagues every Tuesdays and Thursdays at Nichols."
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