The Philippine Star

She is many things to many people

- By Pablo A. Tariman

There is no way you can avoid Lolit Solis in the showbiz kingdom.

She is a mainstay on GMA 7’s Startalk every Saturday with former college classmate Joey de Leon. She also reports the latest in showbiz happenings for a radio station.

Readers on the lookout for the hottest items read her regular column in Pilipino Star Ngayon. Every movie celebrity’s birthday, wedding and anniversar­y are incomplete without the presence of La Solis.

From what one can figure out, Lolit is many things to many people.

For one, she is a good mother and a good provider.

She is easily moved by friends and relatives in distress; she could easily write a check for acquaintan­ces in need of help.

She is a good talent manager and on many occasions, she will risk life and limb for her artists.

To many in the showbiz kingdom, there is no fury like a Lolit Solis scorned.

Her pen is mightier than the sword, in many sense.

Said Gretchen Barretto in her now famous Manila City Hall appearance 17 years ago: “Lolit Solis is a name to reckon with in the movie industry. She can make or unmake you, she has friends, she has connection­s, she can isolate you in these awards events because she handles the talents like she did in this festival. Like as soon as I came out with my revelation, she had the guts to announce on TV she’d slap me if I don’t keep my mouth shut. She is perfectly capable of doing that.”

Movie scribes swore Lolit had done just that to Maritoni Fernandez, whom she used to manage.

They recalled that she had thrown ashtrays at movie newshen Nene Riego when the latter wrote unsavory things about Lolit’s talents.

But alas, in those days, incidents like that were what make showbiz colorful. Truth was, those incidents were considered quite commonplac­e — as common as the microphone-hitting scene in a live telecast between sexpot Divina Valencia and the late star manager Rey de la Cruz and as common as the sight of Robin Padilla slugging it out in a disco joint with a punk who made the mistake of ogling at his girlfriend.

When that film festival controvers­y broke out in the mid-’90s, La Solis edged out Frank Sinatra and the Abu Sayyaf from the front pages, and had even managed to steal the thunder from the VAT issue. Even non-movie columnists wrote about her as though she’d just done something to upset the country’s Gross National Product.

Even political columnists no longer found it beneath them to tackle Lolit.

The late Teddy Benigno said that at any way you looked at Lolit, she looked like a mini-patton tank positionin­g its gun turret for a belch.

To this date, La Solis’s column exposés attracted quite a lot of libel cases and on TV primetime news, Lolit was there being asked for sound bites which to most TV viewers were sources of fun and amusement.

But as one watched Lolit in recent TV appearance­s, it was obvious she has come to terms with “the indiscreti­ons” of the ’90s and was just glad in her role as grandmothe­r.

How was Lolit’s life like before she became movie writer, star builder and talent manager?

She started as a movie reporter in the early ’70s, submitting to komiks outlets yarns on the movie beat. She could have had in mind a journalism career since she took up Masscom at the University of the Philippine­s where comedian-actor Joey de Leon was a classmate.

She grew up in the squatters’ area in Lardizabal, Sampaloc, near National University, and in one journalism seminar she attended, she met her husband-to-be Angie Pasamonte, an engineer-architect. She had two daughters — now aged 49 and 51 — from that marriage which didn’t last.

How did Lolit of 40 years ago look like?

“She was a very jolly person,” said a movie scribe who used to attend journalism seminars with her. “But already she had that kiti-kiti (wild streak) in her.”

The house she lived in Sampaloc was a far cry from the mansion she owned today in Fairview. It was an “aksesorya” in Lardizabal Street shared with her parents and a large brood.

The job she settled in as soon as she got out of college was writing about movie stars. As a newcomer in the game, she literally had to beg publishers to use her story so her subject would come across, so to speak. These articles soon got her movie passes. And her marriage? It was short-lived and the couple never reconciled after the first separation. They lived in a Pampanga town where for a while, Lolit played the full-time housewife. She opted to stay home until financial problems cropped up. Her husband couldn’t provide enough, and then staying home began to bore her. One Christmas in that short-lived marriage, Lolit found herself staring at her two daughters with no food on the table.

She left the marital abode with her daughters, went back to Sampaloc and into movie reporting with a vengeance.

Then it dawned on her: If she pushed people’s showbiz career with her writings, she might as well make the most of it. So she maintained her movie columns, built stars, managed their careers, handled talents — a multi-faceted career which brought her from one fiesta event in Luzon to as far as the West Coast and even Europe. Lolit had begun to enjoy the luxuries of the job.

Movie scribes are a colorful lot and Lolit holds the crown as the most inimitable of them all.

Before the punk hairdo, she’d tie her tresses on top, make them look like bizarre pies and she’d stray into a hotel’s function room looking like she was the

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