Multi-awarded Filipino American Jaclyn Jose passes away, showbiz industry mourns

By Jennifer T. Santos, Entertainment Editor

Veteran multi-awarded actress Jaclyn Jose has passed away due to heart attack leaving the Philippine showbiz industry in shock and in deep mourning. She was 60.

Jaclyn, whose lifeless body was found in her Quezon City home after she did not answer calls, left two children – actress Andi Eigenmann, her daughter with the late actor Mark Gil, who was Raphael John Gil Eigenmann in real life, and Gwen Garimond Ilagan Guck, her son with Kenneth Ilagan – elder sister Veronica Jones, a former actress, grandchildren and other relatives.

Andi and brother Gabby, in a press conference, confirmed that their mother died of myocardiac arrest or heart attack.

Andi said she hopes that her mother’s legacy will live on describing her mom’s life as her “greatest obra maestra.”

“I would just like to say that her undeniable legacy will definitely forever live on through her work, through her children, grandchildren, and the many lives she’s touched. As she herself, her life itself was her greatest obra maestra,” she said.

Veronica Jones, Jaclyn’s elder sister,  described Jaclyn as someone who loved immensely.

“Si Jane, mapagmahal—matindi magmahal—down-to-earth, maawain, napakabait na tao, walang masamang tinapay. ‘Yung mga crew at staff, mas mahal niya yan, ayaw niya ‘yung mga pa-sosyal,” Veronica said.


“Mamimiss namin siya, hindi ko na siya mapapanood. We love her,” she continued.Jaclyn, who was Mary Jane Santa Ana Guck in real life, was born in Angeles City, Pampanga in 1963 of an American serviceman of German descent who was assigned at the Clark Air Force base and a Filipina mother, making her a Filipino American, although it was not publicly known if she took up United States citizenship like many Filipino actors.

 Jaclyn was the first Filipino and Southeast Asian to win the best actress trophy Palme d’Or at the prestigious Cannes Film Festival. She won the award in 2016 for her mesmerizing performance in Brillante Mendoza’s film “Ma’Rosa.”

As a versatile and hard-working actress in film and television for four decades, Jaclyn won many other awards. Including five Gawad Urian awards, two Luna awards and a FAMAS (Filipino Academy of Movie Arts and Sciences) award.

She was also presented the Movie Icon award by the Society of Philippine Entertainment Editors (SPEED).

She starred in dramas, comedies, horror stories and romances and  television soap operas, after breaking out in the 1980s in films such as Lino Brocka’s “White Slavery” and Chito S. Roño’s “Private Show.”

Jaclyn’s other notable performances include starring and supporting roles in films such as “The Flor Contemplacion Story” (1995) and “Patay Na Si Hesus” (2016). She also starred or featured in several GMA Network series including “Marimar,” “The Millionaire’s Wife,” and “D’Originals.”

Before her death, she was acclaimed for her role as General Espinas in the top-rating ABS-CBN television series with Coco Martin, “FPJ’s Batang Quiapo.”

 Celebrities, industry leaders and others mourned the sudden death of Jaclyn who passed away on Saturday, March 2, and paid tribute to her on social media and at her well-attended wake.

Among Jaclyn’s fellow celebrities on her wake were Coco Martin with the cast and staff of “Batang Quiapo,” key officials of ABS-CBN, Tirso Cruz III, chairman of the Film Development Council, lIza Calzado, Congresswoman Lani Mercado, and Jake Ejercito, who is the father of Andi’s daughter, Ellie.

Published reports in Manila showed that Jaclyn’s co-actor in “Batang Quiapo” Coco Martin was one of the first celebrities who rushed to Jaclyn Jose’s residence when he got the call from Jose’s older sister, Veronica Jones.

He said in an ABS-CBN report the mood on the set of his show “FPJ’s Batang Quiapo” was somber, and everyone was feeling the emptiness and the absence of Dolores Espinas, Jose’s character in their primetime series.

Coco later revealed  there were signs and premonitions of Jaclyn saying goodbye.

He said in one of the last scenes Jaclyn  did last Wednesday, she was supposed to just give Ivana Alawi’s character a stern goodbye.

But Jaclyn delivered it as if Alawi was her daughter. She shed tears. Coco and his assistant director, Kevin de Vela, cut the scene then asked Jaclyn to do a retake with less tears.

Jaclyn’s explanation to Coco on why she unexpectedly teared up was, “Kasi parang isa-isa nang nawawala yung mga character sa kulungan eh.”

Coco, the ABS-CBN report added, also recalled his last goodbye with Jaclyn, saying  the hugs and “I-love-yous” felt different.

Together with the cast of ‘Batang Quiapo’, Coco said they went to Baguio to attend the annual Panagbenga Festival. “Pagdating ko pa lang ng Baguio, kinukuwento ko na siya kay Cherry Pie. Pie alam mo pinagkukuwentuhan namin ni Mommy Jane si Ma’m Charito Solis, sina FPJ. Tapos yung gabi after ng show sa Baguio, siya pa rin yung pinagkukuwentuhan namin. Yun pala, hindi namin alam may nangyari na pala.”

Coco said he received the call on Jose’s passing last Sunday, March 3 at around 6 in the evening. Right after, he said, “Pumunta kami agad ni Cherry Pie sa bahay niya. Seven PM, nandun na kami sa labas. Siyempre nagulat talaga lahat kami. Hindi namin inaasahan na mangyayari ito.”

Coco said in the ABS-CBN report he owes everything that he has now to Jose.

“Utang na loob ko lahat kay Mommy Jane. Siya ang dahilan kung bakit ako nandito sa ABS-CBN. Kung bakit lahat nangyari sa buhay ko. Siya ang kasama ko sa kauna-unahang indie movie ko na ‘Masahista’. Siya ang nag-convince sa akin na pumasok sa TV, sa ABS-CBN,” Coco revealed.

Coco was reported taking charge in making the most beautful sea of flowers at Jaclyn Jose’s wake.

In his eulogy during the ABS-CBN and “Batang Quiapo” night, there were no dry eyes in the room when Coco Martin turned emotional and shared how much Jose loved her children – Andi and Gwen.

“Naiinggit ako sa mga anak niya, kasi may magulang na kagaya niya na may ganung pagmamahal sa mga anak,” he said.

As to what will happen now to the character of Chief Dolores Espinas in the series, Coco said he still doesn’t know what and how things will turn around. He said the whole team is still devastated and in disbelief.

Others who paid tribute to Jaclyn were Actor Alden Richards, who worked with her  in the historical series Illustrado. He shared a photo of them on his Instagram.

“My heart aches like a son who lost his mom. You will be with me always. I love you, my Tita Jane,” Alden wrote.

Fellow actor John Arcilla also posted a photo of a younger Jose with the caption “Jane” and heartbroken emojis.

Gladys Reyes recalled how she first met the actress on the set of Lovingly Yours, Helen.

“We have shared so much. From when I was 9 years old in Lovingly Yours, Helen up to our latest movie Apag, you didn’t change,” penned Reyes.

Gardo Versoza and Ice Seguerra, who had a close relationship with the actress, also honored Jose through social media posts.

“I love you very much, Abe. It’s painful to say goodbye,” wrote Versoza.

“I still can’t believe it. Thank you very much for loving Liza [Diño]. You always supported her when she was at FDCP and defended her when she was no longer there. Thank you for your kindness. It’s really sad,” the singer stated.