'Oldest living actress' Anita Linda dies at 95

June 10, 2020
Anita Linda

VETERAN actress Anita Linda has died today, June 10, 2020 at 6:15 AM, at the age of 95. The news was confirmed by her daughter, Francesca Legaspi. She succumbed to a lingering illness at her home in Paranaque. She also left a son, Fred Osburn.

She was considered the 'oldest living actress' in the Philippines.

Born Alice Buenaflor Lake in November 23, 1924,  in Pasay City to James Lake, a full-blooded American soldier/mining engineer father and Gorgonia Buenaflor of Iloilo.

Linda was discovered by renowned director Lamberto Avellana while watching a stage show at the Avenue Theater starring Leopoldo Salcedo, Lopito, among others. Avellana later gave her the screen name Anita Linda and cast her in Tia Juana, her first film at LVN Pictures. The film was completed shortly before the Japanese invasion of the Philippines, but released only in 1943.

Linda spent the war years performing on bodabil at Avenue Theater in Manila.

In 1951, Linda portrayed the title character in Gerardo de Leon's Sisa,  which garnered her the Best Actress Maria Clara award (a precursor of the FAMAS). De Leon then cast Linda in Sawa sa Lumang Simboryo (1952), where she was nominated for a FAMAS Best Actress Award.

In the 1970s, Linda gained renewed critical acclaim in roles she played for director Lino Brocka in Tinimbang Ka Ngunit Kulang (1974), Isa Dalawa Tatlo (1974) and Jaguar (1979). She won the FAMAS Award for Best Supporting Actress for Isa Dalawa Tatlo, and nominated for the Gawad Urian Best Supporting Actress Award for Jaguar. In 1982 she was given the Natatanging Gawad Urian ng Manunuri ng Pelikulang Pilipino.

For her portrayal of an aging film actress in Mario O'Hara’s Ang Babae sa Bubungang Lata (1998), Linda garnered a Star Award for Best Supporting Actress and her second FAMAS Best Supporting Actress Award. For this, she set a record as the oldest actress to ever win a FAMAS at age 74. In 1987, Linda also won a Gawad Urian Best Supporting Actress award for Takaw Tukso.

Linda remained active in the film industry as she reached her 80s.

In 2008, she starred in the independent film, Adela (2008), directed by Adolfo Alix, Jr.. where she was cited as Best Actress in the 10th Cinemanila International Film Festival (Southeast Asia Film Competition), as Best Actress by the Young Critics Circle, and as Best Actress (tied with Judy Ann Santos) at the Gawad Tanglaw Awards.The New York Times film critic Stephen Holden praised Linda's performance as "quietly transfixing."