Ace Vergel dies of heart attack at 55
() - December 16, 2007 - 12:00am

Known as The Original Bad Boy of Philippine Cinema because of the anti-hero roles he portrayed (the “title” later went to Robin Padilla who happily gave it up after he came out of prison), Ace Vergel died of heart attack at 4 o’clock yesterday morning at the Chinese General Hospital where he was rushed.

He turned 55 last Nov. 20.

According to his younger brother Mike, Ace told him just a few days ago that he wanted to make a movie comeback after having been inactive for a few years due to personal problems. He lived a colorful, checkered life not far removed from those of some of the real-life characters he portrayed in his movies that made him one of the industry’s most bankable actors.

The son of Cesar Ramirez and Alicia Vergel, one of the most popular loveteams in the ’50s, Ace started in showbiz at age three when he did Taong Putik with his parents.

“The child actor didn’t show up,” recalled Ace in an interview. “I was with my mom on the set and the director got me to replace the no-show child actor.”

He was then known as Ace York, his real name. His most popular movie as a child actor was Premiere Productions’ Anak ng Bulkan, topbilled by FPJ and shown in the early ’60s, in which he played a barrio boy who befriended a monster eagle hatched from a giant egg emitted by an erupting volcano.

At age eight, Ace had to quit showbiz to concentrate on his studies. He made a comeback in 1977, now as Ace Vergel, as one of the children of his mom Alicia in Inay, directed by Lino Brocka. He got his first big break as a grown actor in the 1978 action-drama Batang City Jail, one of the films in which he played an anti-hero. In 1983, he was nominated for a FAMAS Best Actor for his role in Pieta, written and directed by Carlo J. Caparas (a.k.a. Komiks King), produced by Vivian Velez who was also the leading lady.

Ace was married to model Maya dela Cuesta from whom he was separated.

His remains lie at the Funeraria Paz on Araneta Ave., Quezon City. Interment will be announced later. — Ricky Lo

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