The Early Years
Maria Cecilia Dador Soriano, the Diamond Star of Philippine Showbusiness was born February 25, 1965 and started acting at the tender age of six via the 1971 flick My Heart Belongs to Daddy. She would later venture into television when she got the role of Shirley Purontong in what is considered the most successful and longest sitcom in Philippine television history John and Marsha.
Under the aegis of the Philippine King of Comedy, the late Dolphy and movie Queen, the late Nida Blanca, both of whom she considered as second parents; she became a well known talented child star of the 1970’s. La Soriano received her first acting award as Best Child Actress at the age of nine at the 9th Manila Film Festival for Virgo Films Alaala Mo, Daigdig Ko (Your Memory is my World), in 1974. She also won the same award at the 1974 Iloilo Film Festival for John and Marsha. Aside from appearing in her regular sitcom and the movies, Maricel was also cast in the children’s show Kaluskus Musmos in 1978.
Marya, as she is fondly called by showbiz colleagues, was launched to full stardom in 1980 via Regal Films Underage where her thespian talent and charisma shone brightest among the lead stars of the movie. From thereon, there was no stopping Marya in achieving superstardom. Her tandem with William Martinez which was launched via the movie Oh My Mama in 1981 proved to be the tandem to beat as they churned out multiple box office hits especially in the genre of comedy. She was considered the top Regal Baby in the 80’s and 90’s prompting the Regal matriarch, Lily Monteverde to quip, ‘Regal without Maricel is nothing.’
Maricel Soriano undoubtedly is the most versatile actress not only of her generation but in all of Philippine history. The variety of her film output is unmatched in the history of Philippine cinema. She has the most number of comedy films from John and Marsha in 1973 to Bahay Kubo in 2009. Her Inday Series (Inday, Inday sa Balitaw, Inday Bote and Super Inday) is a landmark in field of comedy. Some of her dramatic films are considered classics most notable of which are Saan Darating ang Umaga in 1983, Kaya Kong Abutin ang Langit in 1984, Hinugot sa Langit in 1985, Babaing Hampaslupa in 1988, Ikaw Pa Lang ang Minahal in 1992, Inagaw Mo ang Lahat sa Akin in 1995, Abot Kamay ang Pangarap in 1996 (The Philippine Entry to the Foreign Films Category of the Oscar Awards), Soltera in 1999, Mila in 2001, Filipinas in 2003 and recently, Inang Yaya in 2006. Her action-oriented films with Action Superstars were all certified box-office hits starting with the record breaking Batang Quiapo in 1986 until her last action film in 1998’s Sige, Subukan Mo. Whether fantasy (Mga Kwento in Lola Basyang, etc.), Suspense (Dahas, etc.), Horror (Sa Piling ng Aswang, Vampira, etc.), Romance (When I Fall in Love, etc), Marya never fails to deliver with much aplomb and intensity seldom seen in the past and present crop of actresses.
The Diamond Star’s versatility is not limited to acting. Marya is also considered one of the ‘Dancing Queens’ of the 1980’s and her signature dance numbers such as I am What I am, Rico Mambo, among others have continued to be associated to her even these days. Marya is not a professional singer but she managed to record two songs, the theme song of the movie Oh My Mama and the gold record hit Ngayon at Habang Panahon. Aside from a sold-out concert at the Araneta Coliseum entitled Hello, Hello Maricel in 1987, she has appeared in hit concerts in the Philippines and abroad in the 80’s and 90’s.
The TV Icon
Aside from conquering the movie scene, Marya duplicated her feat on television with a variety of shows few could match. From the sitcom John and Marsha, she also starred in Kaluskus Musmos and Kuskos Balungos, youth-oriented programs in the 70’s to Musical-Variety shows (Maricel Live! and Maria! Maria!), Drama Anthology (Maricel Drama Special) and Comedy Shows (2+2, Kung Kaya ni Mister, Kaya ni Misis, Mary D’Potter, Bida si Mister, Bida si Misis, John En Shirley), and Soap Opera (Vietnam Rose).
She has received two awards from the Asian TV Awards as Best Actress in a Comedy show aside from her two awards for the same category from the Philippine Movie Press Club (PMPC). She was also given two awards as Best Actress in a Drama Anthology and Best Actress in a Soap Opera.
A sought after celebrity endorser, she has endorsed a wide variety of products and is considered one of the most credible among the elite group of showbiz endorsers. She is reported to endorse only products she believes in and uses it as well. Her appeal to consumers help catapult a number of products to gain a sizable share of the market most notably, Green Cross, Whisper, Alaska, Globe, Swift Spaghetti, Loviscol, McDonalds, Jollibee, Mr. Clean, Breeze, Minola, Golden Fiesta, Ajinomoto, among others.
The Movie Queen
Her movie output has already passed the millennium mark with a filmography that undoubtedly is one of the best of the industry. The Diamond Star has practically worked in all the major film outfits in the Philippines, appeared with almost every major star, set acting standards and box-office records, she has proven beyond reasonable doubt that she is the last of the long line of movie queens to be reckon with.
Marya is the third most awarded film actress of all time with more than 20 acting awards (child, supporting and lead actress) coming from various legitimate award giving bodies such as FAMAS, PMPC, Enpress, FAP, YCC, Pasado, GMMSFP, MMFF, Manila, Iloilo and Cinemanila Film Festivals. These acting awards do not include other acting awards she received from fan magazine publishing companies and people’s choice awards.
The Legacy Continues
With nothing else to prove, the Diamond Star continues to reinvent herself as she is now beyond superstardom and has entered a new phase in her acting career. No longer confined with commercial films, she has given strong support to the digital films industry with indie movies such as Numbalikdiwa and Inang Yaya. Marya even agreed to star in the Gawad Kalinga film Paraiso without the usual talent fee in support of the house-building project of this organization.
Despite a two-year hiatus from show business, Inay, the name endearingly called to Marya by her loyal friends, fans and supporters, continues to make waves as a tv icon and a movie queen. Her guestings in various television shows are rating boosters and her comeback movie via Viva Films Oh My Mama Mia! is highly anticipated by the moviegoers. In a recent award ceremony where she received the distinction as one of the best actresses of the decade, Marya sums up her future involvement in the Philippine entertainment industry, "I am here to stay!"
Indeed, the most versatile movie queen of Philippine cinema and one of the most loved television icon will continue to stay as she evolves to greater heights more than forty years after her venture in this industry. Of course, Inay can count on her avid supporters world wide to be with her every step of the way! We are after all, FOREVER FRIENDS OF MARICEL SORIANO!
Maricel Soriano Facts
|Birth Name||Maria Cecilia Dador Soriano|
|Birthday||February 25, 1965 (51)|
|Inang Yaya (2006) as Norma|
|I Will Survive (2004) as Cynthia|
|Filipinas (2003) as Yolanda|
|Mano Po (2002) as Vera Go|
|Mila (2001) as Mila Cabangon|
|Abandonada (2000) as Gemma|
|Soltera (1999) as Sandra|
|Nasaan ang Puso? (1997) as Shirley|
|Dahas (1995) as Luisa|
|Inagaw Mo Ang Lahat Sa Akin (1995) as Jacinta|
|Separada (1993) as Melissa|
|Ikaw Pa Lang Ang Minahal (1992) as Adela Sevilla|
|Hinugot sa Langit (1985) as Carmen Castro|
|Kaya Kong Abutin Ang Langit (1984) as Clarisse/Clarissa (breakthrough)|