Susan Roces

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Jesusa Purificacion Levy Sonora-Poe (29 July 1941 – 20 May 2022), popularly known by her screen name Susan Roces, was an actress and film producer.[1] She was married to fellow renowned actor and one-time Philippine presidential candidate Fernando Poe Jr.[2] Regarded as the "queen of Philippine movies," Roces starred in over 130 films and won five Filipino Academy of Movie Arts and Sciences (FAMAS) Awards, including two for best actress.[3]She received a lifetime achievement award from the Film Academy of the Philippines (FAP)[4]and was among 10 individuals honored as "living legends" by the Philippine Post Office, which issued stamps featuring the honorees in line with the celebration of the 75th anniversary of the first Republic stamp of the Philippines.[5]

Early life and education

Susan Roces was born as Jesusa Purificacion Levy Sonora-Poe in Bacolod, Negros Occidental on 29 July 1941.[6] Her parents were Jesus Tonggoy Sonora, a mestizo of Spanish and Chinese descent, and Purificacion Levy, who was French American of Jewish descent.[7] Roces belonged to the Locsin family of Negros Occidental, one of the biggest clans in the country. Wo Sin Lok, the family's ancestor, was a peddler from Xiamen (then known as Amoy) in China who first settled in Molo, Iloilo.

Roces obtained her high school education from the La Consolacion College in Bacolod, graduating in 1956.[8] During her time in the school, she dabbled in public speaking and acting, and it was this experience along with advice from her teacher Luisa Medel that prompted her to pursue a career in show business.[9]


Roces debuted as a child actress in the 1952 film Mga Bituin ng Kinabukasan.[1] After graduating from high school in 1956, she followed it up with multiples films per year. Among her more memorable movies were Ang Daigdig Ko'y Ikaw (1965), Gumising Ka Maruja (1967), Patayin Mo Sa Sindak Si Barbara (1974), Maligno and Mano Po 2: My Home (2003).[10]

She also worked in television, appearing in a number of TV series, most notably Ang Probinsyano, where she starred as Flora Borja-de Leon, the grandmother of the protagnoist Cardo Dalisay, from its inception in 2015 until January 2022. [11]

Roces was also tapped to endorse a variety of brands, including Coca-Cola, Lux, Blend 45 and Lavoris in the early days of her career. As an endorser, she was most popularly known for the advertisements she did for the pharmaceutical brand RiteMed and soap brand Champion.[1]

Personal life

Roces was married to movie star and one-time presidential candidate Fernando Poe Jr. Their wedding was held on 25 December 1968 at the Santuario de San Jose Parish in Greenhills, San Juan.[1] They had an adopted daughter, Grace Poe, an incumbent senator and former chairperson of the Movie and Television Review and Classification Board.

When Poe was defeated by Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo in the 2004 presidential election, Roces was convinced the president-elect rigged the election and he could have won. Poe died of stroke in December 2004. In June 2005, Roces demanded Arroyo to resign on account of the alleged electoral fraud.[1]

In addition to English and Filipino, Roces spoke the Hiligaynon language.[12]



Year Title Role Network Notes
2015–2022 FPJ's Ang Probinsyano Flora "Lola Flora" S. Borja-de Leon ABS-CBN Recurring role, last TV appearance
2014 Sana Bukas pa ang Kahapon Ruth Gaspar Supporting role
Eat Bulaga! Lenten Drama Special: Karugtong ng Puso Maria
GMA Network
Guest appearance
2013 Wansapanataym: Simbang Gabi Lola Fenny ABS-CBN Episode guest
Muling Buksan Ang Puso Donya Adelina Laurel-Beltran Supporting antagonist role
2012 Walang Hanggan Virginia "Manang Henya" Cruz Supporting role
2011 100 Days to Heaven Amelita Manalastas / Amelita Salvador Special participant
Babaeng Hampaslupa Helena See
Main role
2009 May Bukas Pa Nieves Antazo
Recurring role
Sana Ngayong Pasko Remedios Dionisio
GMA Network
Main role
2008 Iisa Pa Lamang Aurora "Aura" Castillejos ABS-CBN Supporting role
Maalaala Mo Kaya: Basura Lola Angge Episode guest
Sineserye Presents: Patayin sa Sindak si Barbara Amanda Main role
2006 John en Shirley Encarnation Ramirez
1996 Maalaala Mo Kaya: Pahiram ng Isang Pasko Anita Mariano Episode guest


Year Original title English title Studio
1952 Mga Bituin ng Kinabukasan Stars of the Future Nepomuceno Pictures
1956 Boksingera Female Boxer Sampaguita Pictures
Kulang sa 7 Less than 7 Vera Perez Pictures
Mga Anak ng Diyos Children of God Sampaguita Pictures
1957 Sino ang Maysala? Who Is Guilty? Vera Perez Pictures
Mga Ligaw na Bulaklak The Wild Flowers Sampaguita Pictures
1958 Prinsesang Gusgusin Unkempt Princess
Ako ang Maysala I Am the Guilty One Vera Perez Pictures
Mga Reyna ng Vicks The Queens of Vicks Sampaguita Pictures
Madaling Araw Dawn
Tawag ng Tanghalan Call of the Stage Vera Perez Pictures
Ulilang Anghel Orphaned Angel Sampaguita Pictures
1959 Wedding Bells
Mga Anghel sa Lansangan Angels on the Streets
Pitong Pagsisisi Seven Repentance
Debutante Debutant
Ipinagbili Ko ang Aking Anak I Sold My Son
1960 Beatnik
1964 The Dolly Sisters
1965 Portrait of My Love
Ang Daigdig Ko'y Ikaw You Are My World FPJ Productions
Pilipinas Kong Mahal My Beloved Philippines
1966 Zamboanga
Pepe en Pilar Pepe and Pilar RVQ Productions
1967 Maruja Lea Productions
Langit at Lupa Heaven and Earth FPJ Productions
1968 To Susan with Love Rosas Productions
Anong Ganda Mo? Sampaguita Pictures
Bakasin Mo sa Gunita Trace It Back to Memory Lea Productions
Bandana Bandanna Rosas Productions
Sorrento FPJ Productions
Magpakailan Man Forevermore
Tanging Ikaw Only You
Kulay Rosas ang Pag-ibig Love is Rose Tinted Rosas Productions
1969 Perlas ng Silangan Pearl of the East FPJ Productions
Ikaw ang Lahat sa Akin You are My Everything
1970 Divina Gracia Divine Grace
1972 Salaginto't Salagubang Goldbug and Junebug
1973 Karnabal Carnival
Florinda Rosas Productions
1974 Patayin Mo sa Sindak si Barbara Scare Barbara To Death
1977 Maligno Evil
1978 Gumising Ka, Maruja Wake Up, Maruja FPJ Productions
1979 Mahal... Saan Ka Nanggaling Kagabi? Love... Where Were You Last Night?
Mahal... Ginagabi Ka Nanaman Love... You Came Home Late Again
Angelita... Ako ang Iyong Ina Angelita... I Am Your Mother Larry Santiago Productions
1980 Tanikala Chain Cine Filipinas
1982 Manedyer si Kumander The Wife Is the Manager FPJ Productions
1984 Hoy Wala Kang Paki Hey It's None of Your Business Vanguard Films

Twin Bee Production

1986 Nasaan Ka nang Kailangan Kita? Where Were You When I Needed You? Regal Films
Inday Inday sa Balitaw Inday, Inday on the Balitaw
Payaso Clown Sialina Film Enterprises
1987 Bunsong Kerubin Youngest Cherub Regal Films
No Retreat... No Surrender... Si Kumander No Retreat... No Surrender... For the Commander FPJ Productions
1 + 1 = 12 Plus 1 Regal Films
1988 Love Boat: Mahal Trip Kita Love Boat: Love I Like You
Kambal Tuko Twin Geckos
Buy One, Take One VIVA Films
1989 Ang Lahat ng Ito Pati Na ang Langit All of These and Even Heaven
Here Comes the Bride Regal Films
1990 Mundo Man ay Magunaw Even If the World Ends Seiko Films
Feel na Feel Feel to Feel Regal Films
1991 Ubos Na ang Luha Ko I Have No More Tears to Shed Seiko Films
1997 Isinakdal Ko ang Aking Ina I Accused My Mother VIVA Films
2003 Mano Po 2: My Home Regal Entertainment


Roces died on 20 May 2022. She was 80.[10] Senator Grace Poe announced the actress's death via Facebook.[13]