Eddie Gardia is an icon in the entertainment industry, where he dedicated seven decades of his life.
Fondly called "Manoy," this cinema and television legend has over 600 movie and television titles to his name, according to IMDB.
Interestingly, he never dreamed of becoming an actor.
Born on May 2, 1929, in Sorsogon, Eddie joined the military at the age of 17.
He was a member of the Philippine Scouts, a military organization spearheaded by the U.S. Army composed mostly of Filipinos and Filipino-Americans during World War II.
In 1949, Eddie was supposed to re-enlist in the U.S. Army, but a close friend, George Sanderson, suggested that he try the movies.
In the veteran actor's interview with Esquire Philippines, he recounted his conversation with Sanderson, who supposedly told him, "Manuel Conde needs seven guys to play in Siete Infantes de Lara."
The film, which was shown in 1950 and won the Most Popular Picture in the Philippines award, became the jumping-off point of his long showbiz career.
He had since then shone his light in an industry that made fulll use of his gifts up to the very end.
The day he fell into a coma was also his "last day" at work.
On June 8, 2019, he tripped on a wire while taping an action scene for Rosang Agimat, his new teleserye with GMA-7, and sustained cervical fracture.
He passed away on June 20, 2019, at age 90.
The entire nation is saddened by his death, and will remember him as one of showbiz's most prolific artists, a versatile actor-director, and a formidable antagonist to the country's action and drama stars.
He will also be remembered for these nuggets of wisdom.
NEVER BE LATE
He was famous for his punctuality, almost always arriving on the set two hours earlier than call time.
In an interview with PEP.ph (Philippine Entertainment Portal) in 2007, Tito Eddie said, "Like in the last 57 years I've been in the film, I never really had a problem with anyone.
"Wala namang problema iyan, e. All you have to do is do your part, do your role, don't give your director and the cast some problems by being late."
In his interview with Esquire Philippines last October 2018, he said, "I’m usually earlier than the call time.
"Because my motto is, 'What you could do today, do it now, so you could do something else tomorrow.'"
He also said, "A disciplined person helps other people. If you are disciplined, you’re supposed to be there on time.
"If you're a primadonna and you come late, I mean, what will these other people say?"
ALWAYS DO YOUR BEST
There were no small roles for Tito Eddie.
He told Esquire Philippines in the same interview, "When you’re given a role, it’s the best recommendation for your next project.
"So if you do it well, the casting people will say, let’s cast him."
Tito Eddie was emphatic about this.
He said, "Whatever I do, there’s passion in it. That’s important.
"If there’s no passion…you get out of it and find another job.
"For 69 years, I continuously did movies, because it’s a job that I like."
DON'T GIVE UNSOLICITED ADVICE
He explained, "When I’m an actor, I just act—I don't make any judgment in the direction, unless the director seeks my advice.
"I enjoy doing indies, because the filmmakers behind them always come up with fresh ideas.
"I don't meddle—it's their ball game."
TREAT A WOMAN RIGHT.
Tito Eddie was also known for his naughty "Manoy" alter ego.
In reality, he was the opposite to his on-screen character.
He told Esquire Philippines, "Women should be treated delicately.
"They should be put on a pedestal. She should be worshipped.
"I’m a one-woman man. Having so many love affairs at the same time... It’s a headache! You waste your time lying and cheating."
HE'S AN LGBT+ ALLY
Tito Eddie has always been supportive of the LGBT+ community.
While promoting Metro Manila Film Festival 2018 entry Rainbow Sunset, where he played a elderly gay man, Tito Eddie reiterated his acceptance of the LGBT+ community.
He told Rappler in an interview, "Everybody was created by God. If you are a homosexual, God created you that way. There’s nothing wrong with it."
This was not the first time Tito Eddie played a gay role.
In 1971, he portrayed a closeted gay politician in Lino Brocka’s Tubog sa Ginto.
Asked what made him accept the role, he told CatanduanesTribune.com, "It was a very unusual role that comes once in an actor’s lifetime.
"What I particularly liked about the part was the role is not the caricature of the Filipino gay.
"The parts often played in the movies are the beauty parlor type and the town-screaming faggot.
"In the role, nobody knows I was gay because I was married, I have a teenage son (played by Jay Ilagan) and I have a respectable job.
"It was when I started looking for pick-up boys that my gayness comes to the fore.
"It was Mario O’Hara who played my lover."
In fact, he admitted to having a sexual experience with another man when he was younger.
He told ABS-CBN in an interview, "In my younger years, siguro I was 15 years old. Kailangan lahat ng bagay sa mundo, kailangan mo subukan."
TAKE CARE OF YOUR BODY.
In 2007, Tito Eddie revealed to PEP.ph the secret to his longevity, how he remained energetic and youthful at his age. He was in his late 70s then.
The veteran actor said, "It's a matter of moderation. You watch your diet, you exercise. You don't abuse yourself."
He did brisk walking every morning, ate mostly fish and vegetables, and had dozens of vitamins in his arsenal of supplements.
He told Inquirer in 2012, "After breakfast, I take about 20 supplements: vitamin A, B, C, D… Iron. One each … since I don’t like multivitamins."
Rest in peace, Eddie Garcia.