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Jose Maria Gonzalez
« on: October 19, 2008, 09:23:48 PM »
By Gypsy Baldovino

When "Marimar" graced Philippine television in 1994, it gave the local soaps a bad name with its fast storytelling and oh-so charming plot.

And no sooner had the Filipinos found a new get-together activity in the evening aside from the traditional angelus.

The man behind the cultural phenomenon is Jose Maria Gonzalez, otherwise known as Jose Mari, the matinee idol of the early 60s.

"I was looking for a series that could be pitted against the prime time shows of major networks," he says. "Kasi noon, we have ‘The Bold and the Beautiful’ which I wanted to be dubbed in tagalog but the management wouldn’t allow me. Imagine, the show would run for five years, daily? Paanong hindi kakagatin ng tao ‘yon?

Until he saw "Marimar" and his gut said "ito na." He was willing to risk his career and those who disagree to tagalize the series were free to resign.

"I got ‘Marimar’ for free," he admits. "Ang kapalit lang was two spots from Procter and Gamble. Nung wala na ako sa RPN 9, hinayaan nilang mapunta sa Channel 2 yung ‘Maria Mercedes,’ when it was offered to them for only five thousand dollars kahit tinatawaran ng 30 thousand dollars ng Dos, por que kami nga ang nagpasikat kay ‘Marimar.’ Five thousand dollars lang, hindi nila kinuha."

Who would have thought that a seemingly innocent pin-up boy of the 60s would change the landscape of pinoy soap opera?

Looking back, Mr. Gonzalez can only smile when he assumed his post as President of RPN 9. "Akala nila, artista lang ako. When they learned that I was an electronics and communications engineer, na- shock yung mga empleyado doon."

It was exactly the same response when he first entered the movies in 1959 as a ‘17-year-old teen idol.’ Truth be told, not only was he a La Salle graduate, he was also a licensed pilot, VP of a family — owned corporation and owner of four other companies. And he was 24.

Romans 10:9
"That if you shall confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus, and shall believe in your heart that God has raised him from the dead, you shall be saved."

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