That’s how Liberty Ilagan fondly remembers Lito Legaspi, the ‘60s matinee idol who died of cardiac arrest at 6:30 Sunday morning, Sept. 8, at the Cardinal Santos Memorial Center, San Juan City, where he was rushed to.
‘60s matinee idol Lito Legaspi dies, 77
Ricky Lo (The Philippine Star) - September 11, 2019 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — “He was one of my favorite leading men, and a very good friend.”      

That’s how Liberty Ilagan fondly remembers Lito Legaspi, the ‘60s matinee idol who died of cardiac arrest at 6:30 Sunday morning, Sept. 8, at the Cardinal Santos Memorial Center, San Juan City, where he was rushed to.                                                    

“Lito suffered from a bad cough for two weeks and it led to pneumonia,” said Pempe Rodrigo, another good friend who spearheaded the Balik Samahan group of actors that met regularly to celebrate a member’s birthday. Lito was a long-time member.                                                  

“Lito was never absent but during our group’s meeting late last month,” continued Pempe, “we missed him. Maybe he failed to attend because that was when he started coughing.”                                

Added Liberty, daughter of National Artist for Film Gerry de Leon, who was at Sampaguita Pictures with Lito from the early ‘60s until she retired in late ‘70s, “Lito was a perfect gentleman. He was one of the best-looking actors at Sampaguita and he retained his debonair looks until his later years. A typical boy-next-door.”                           

Lito would have turned 78 yesterday, Sept. 10. He was launched in 1962 by Sampaguita Pictures in Lab Na Lab Kita with Susan Roces as leading lady, followed by Joey, Eddie & Lito with Liberty. He went freelancing after his Sampaguita contract had expired. In the early ‘70s, he starred with Merle Fernandez in Uhaw, directed by Ruben Abalos, that started the so-called “sex-drama” trend. Until his death, Lito never quit showbiz, taking on roles in both movies and TV series.

He is survived by his children that include actors Zoren, Kier and Brando. Lito’s wake is at Manila Memorial Park in Marikina. He will be buried at the Caryana Monastery in Pampanga tomorrow, Sept. 12, after the 8:30 a.m. Mass.                                                                          

The STAR learned that for more than 20 years, Lito served the monastery by chopping wood used by the nuns for cooking.

LITO LEGASPI
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