BORN on August 20, 1939, Ronald Allan Kelly Poe was the son of actor-producer Fernando Poe Sr., and Elizabeth Kelly. He was the second oldest of six siblings.
Poe finished his primary education in 1953 at San Beda College. In high school, he went to San Sebastian College, Mapua Institute of Technology, and University of the East. After the death of his father, he discontinued his studies to carry the burden as the family breadwinner.
After dropping out of high school, the young Ronald Allan took on his father’s name and started a career in the movie industry that would span four and a half decades. He started taking on odd jobs, first as a messenger boy, and was given acting roles in subsequent years. Starting as stuntman for Everlasting Pictures, he was given a break to star in the film Anak ni Palaris (Son of Palaris) at the age of 14. This first starring movie was not a big hit. It was the movie Lo Waist Gang in 1957 that set Fernando Poe Jr. on the path leading to stardom.
Four years after his first big hit, Fernando Poe Jr., now popularly referred to as FPJ, established his own movie outfit, FPJ productions, and started to take a more active role in promoting the welfare of workers in the movie industry. In 1963, he and actor Joseph Estrada testified against criminal gangs which extorted money from the film industry. In 1965, he shared the lead in The Ravagers, a film depicting the United States and the Philippines working together against foreign occupation. The film is considered one of the most influential Filipino films, and it established Fernando Poe Jr.’s status as a movie icon.
He became an award-winning actor and garnered the best actor awards at the Filipino Academy of Movie Arts and Science (FAMAS) several times. Among his award-winning movies were Mga Alabok ng Lupa (1967), Asedillo (1971), Durugin si Totoy Bato, Umpisahan Mo, Tatapusin Ko (1983), and Magnum 357 (1987). Because of his achievements, he was dubbed the "Da King" of Philippine movies, a title that would forever be affixed to his name. Among his other famous movies were the Ang Panday series, Kahit Konting Pagtingin, Dito sa Pitong Gatang, and Aguila.
A very private person, FPJ married actress Movie Queen Susan Roces on December 25, 1968. Mary Grace is their adopted daughter.
This year, Fernando Poe Jr. accepted the challenge of being the standard bearer of the Koalisyon ng Nagkakaisang Pilipino for the 2004 Presidential Elections. After a bitterly contested canvassing process, instead of going to the streets in protest, which would disturb the peace and order and political stability of the nation giving the country a poor image, he chose to apply the legal process and filed a protest with the Presidential Electoral Tribunal in the interest of the nation, for which we admire him.
We bid farewell to a good man, a Movie King of the Philippine cinema, a man who not only garnered personal accolades but also contributed much to the growth of the industry and promoted its welfare.
We extend our condolences to the family of Fernando Poe Jr., his wife Susan Roces, daughter Mary Grace, his siblings and other relatives and together with them pray for the eternal repose of his soul.
May he rest in peace.