Elizabeth Ramsey (Elizabeth Indino Ramsey-Johnson)

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Elizabeth Ramsey (Elizabeth Indino Ramsey-Johnson)

Ramsey, Elizabeth

Elizabeth Ramsey (Elizabeth Indino Ramsey-Johnson)

Elizabeth Ramsey (Elizabeth Indino Ramsey-Johnson) was a singer and TV, film, and stage actor, and comedian. She was born in San Carlos, Negros Occidental on 3 December 1931. She died in Metro Manila on 8 October 2015. She was the daughter of Arturo C. Ramsey, a Jamaican merchant marine, and Marcelina Rivera Indino, a Filipina of Spanish descent. She had three children with her first husband, and a daughter, Maria Luisa “Jaya” Ramsey, in her second marriage, with Ray Kagahastian. Jaya is a singer, dancer, record producer, TV host, and actor. Ramsey attended grade school in San Carlos, Negros Occidental.

Ramsey started singing at 16 years old touring around Negros with a 26-piece band earning about three to four pesos a night to help pay for her mother’s medications. She first caught the public’s attention when she entered the amateur singing competition in 1958 in the noontime variety television program Student Canteen on CBN Channel 9. With her raspy, soulful voice peppered with a distinct Visayan accent, coupled with her comedic timing when interacting with the show’s hosts, she was a hit. She was the undefeated champion of the amateur singing competition with a sassy rendition of the novelty song “Ragmop.” She then performed onstage at the Manila Grand Opera, then at its rival theater, Clover, where she earned the moniker “Queen of Rock and Roll,” bestowed on her by the National Press Club.

On television she performed with the ReyCard Duet, Eddie Mesa, Aruray, Casmot, and Balut. She also appeared in the television drama Dyesebel (Jezebel) in 2008 on GMA Channel 7, where she played the role of “Mother of Pearls,” and in the first kantaserye (musical series) Diva in 2010, also on GMA starring Regine Velasquez, where Ramsey played the role of Tita Turner.

Ramsey appeared in 26 films over a span of 40 years, including her first, the 1958 movie based on the radio program Mga Liham kay Tiya Dely (Letters to Aunt Dely). She played the perfect antagonist in the 1959 Prinsesa Naranja (Princess Naranja), where she played the vain queen who tricked a prince played by actor Fernando Poe Jr to kiss her a thousand times in order to break the spell that made her skin dark. She was also nominated for Best Supporting Actress at the Filipino Academy of Movie Arts and Sciences Awards for her role in Ang Bukas Ay Akin! (Tomorrow Is Mine!) (IMDb 2015g). Ramsey starred in television commercials, the most memorable of which was her 1976 spoof on Cleopatra for Superwheel Detergent Bar, where her tag line “Magapatuka na lang ako sa ahas!” (I’ll just let the snake bite me!) became so popular that it spun off a movie of the same title starring Chiquito, with her soundtrack that became a record single in 1977.

Ramsey made people laugh by making fun of herself, her dark color and Afro hair, and by making faces and performing barefoot (ABS-CBN News 2014). Between the gags, she belted out jazzy and soulful tunes and her distinctive renditions of “Razzle Dazzle” and the Visayan tune “Waray-Waray.”

 

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