Leah Salterio

Celebrating the legacy of Jaclyn Jose

March 4, 2024 Leah C. Salterio 144 views

JacklynONLY in her second film, Chito Roño’s Private Show (1984), multi-award winning actress Jaclyn Jose (Mary Jane Guck in real life) already snagged a lead role.

No wonder, her acting career that spanned four decades, teemed with critically-acclaimed, award-winning and best remembered films through the years.

Bringing home a much-coveted acting trophy from the Cannes Film Festival in 2016 was a major career highlight in the life of Jaclyn.

Jaclyn won for her portrayal of a resilient matriarch in Brillante Mendoza’s Ma’ Rosa. She went to Cannes to personally receive her award, accompanied by her daughter, Andi Eigenmann.

At the time of her death, Jaclyn was playing prison warden Dolores Espinas in ‘FPJ’s Batang Quiapo.’

On Sunday, March 3, Jaclyn was found lifeless by her actress-sister, Veronica Jones, in the former’s home in Quezon City. It was her sister who checked on her when the latter was not responding to calls and text messages for quite some time.

Jaclyn’s two children – Andi Eigenmann and Gwen Garimond Guck – were not with her at the time of her death. Andi was in Siargao, where she is based with her family, while Gwen was in the US, where he is studying.

Social media was flooded with fond recollection and remembrances of Jaclyn whom they all worked with at one time or another.

Coco Martin, who was Jaclyn’s co-star in Brillante Mendoza’s Metro Manila Film Festival (MMFF) entry in the summer of 2022, ‘Apag,’ posted a picture with Jaclyn on the set of said movie.

“Isa pang mahalaga sa buhay ko, nawala ka pa,” Coco wrote.

Jaclyn made her big screen debut in 1984 in William Pascual’s ‘Chikas,’ after which she was cast in director Chito Roño’s Private Show, although she earlier shot Lino Brocka’s White Slavery but that was shown the following year (1985).

When Direk Chito was looking for a lead to audition for ‘Private Show,’ written by Ricky Lee, Jaclyn was highly recommended.

After that, Jaclyn and Sir Ricky worked in many other films. She was in Lino Brocka’s ‘Macho Dancer’ (1988), Joel Lamangan’s ‘The Flor Contemplacion Story’ (1995) and ‘Aishite Imasu Mahal Kita’ 1941 (2004),

Jaclyn also starred in Sir Ricky’s first theater play, ‘Pitik-Bulag sa Buwan ng Pebrero’ (2009), directed by Joel Lamangan. It was also Jaclyn’s first theater venture.

Jaclyn also did director Laurice Guillen’s teleplay, ‘Desaparecidos’ (2014), written by Sir Ricky.

“I did many films with Jaclyn,” Sir Ricky proudly said. “She became my friend through the years with our projects together. She was very simple. Hindi siya artista. Taong-tao. Madali mong makasundo.”

When Jaclyn watched her last film with Sir Ricky, Mac Alejandre’s ‘Call Me Alma,’ shown at the Cinemalaya Film Festival last year, she was in tears while watching.

“Taong-tao siya,” Sir Ricky said. “She was watching her film at umiiyak pa rin siya at nagre-react siya.”

When Sir Ricky became president of FAMAS, she got Jaclyn as juror. That was after she won for Ma’ Rosa at the Cannes Film Festival.

“She had a keen eye for detail,” he noted. “She remembered the details about what she saw in the movie that we discussed. She had a very sharp eye.”

In 2022, Jaclyn essayed the role of a killer mom for the first time, a real challenge for her, in director Bobby Bonifacio, Jr.’s dark, psychological and sexy thriller, ‘Tahan,’ written by Quinn Carillo.

The latter coined the title from a mother’s plea to her child.

“It was really difficult,” Jaclyn said then about her role. “I got to take out innards of the guys I kill. Then I throw them away. But my director helped me a lot in every detail of this project.”

Being a killer mom was totally shocking and unbelievable for Jaclyn. “I never thought a mother could do everything I did in this film,” she asserted.

The multi-award winning actress found it hard to say “no” when ‘Tahan’ was offered to her. As the domineering mother, Nora, Jaclyn didn’t give qualms about tragically throwing her daughter into prostitution. Nora went on a killing spree to save her daughter from the latter’s abusive clients.

“You can’t say no to a good project,” Jaclyn insisted. “I believe in the project. Sobrang mysterious. When I talk to new stars, I always tell them, I was once there. I will never terrorize the newcomers.”