- Katy de la Cruz
name = Katy de la Cruz
birthname = Catalina M. de la Cruz
birthdate = Birth date|1907|2|13|mf=y
Intramuros, Manila, Philippines
deathdate = death date and age|2004|11|10|1907|2|13|mf=y
San Francisco, California, USA
othername = Mommy Kate
occupation = Filipino
yearsactive = 1914–1980s
awards = FAMAS Best Supporting Actress
Katy de la Cruz (born Catalina de la Cruz;
February 13, 1907– November 10, 2004) was a leading Filipino singer who specialized in jazz vocals and torch songs in a performing career that lasted eight decades. Hailed as "The Queen of Filipino Jazz" cite news | author= Ricky Lo |url=http://www.newsflash.org/2004/02/sb/sb003517.htm |title =Katy de la Cruz: Remembering Mommy Kate | publisher=Philippine Star/Philippine Headline News Online |date=2004-12-20 |accessdate=2008-03-14 ] [cite web |url=http://www.imdb.com/name/nm1028801/bio |title=IMDB Biography |accessdate=2008-03-14 ] and as "The Queen of Bodabil", [Fernandez, CCP Encyclopedia, p. 69] [cite web |url=http://www.geocities.com/katy_delacruz/interview.html |title=Interview with German Moreno |accessdate=2008-03-14 |work=Katy de la Cruz Homepage ] cite book |title= Pinoy Jazz Traditions |last=Quirino |first=Richie C. |year=2004 |publisher=Anvil Publishing, Inc. |location=Pasig City, Philippines |isbn=971-27-1518-3 |pages=17 ] she was, by the age of 18, the highest paid entertainer in the Philippines.Maniquis, CCP Encyclopedia, p. 287] De la Cruz also appeared in films and received a FAMAS Best Supporting Actress Award in 1953.
De la Cruz was born on
February 13, 1907, in Intramuros, Manila. Even as a young child, de la Cruz would be hired to sing at town fiestas, and at intermissions during cockfights and boxing matches. Her formal schooling ended at the third grade.
In 1914, when de la Cruz was seven, she was hired by the owner of a Manila film theater to sing to the audiences in between movie screenings. Such performances were typical in Manila theaters during that period, and from those routines would emerge a distinct genre eventually known as
bodabil. [Fernandez, CCP Encyclopedia, p. 69] De la Cruz learned her songs through listening to phonograph records,cite web |url=http://www.geocities.com/katy_delacruz/Biography.html |title=Katy de la Cruz - Biography |accessdate=2008-03-14 |work=Katy de la Cruz Homepage ] and mastered the English language with the help of her brother.
By the age of thirteen, de la Cruz was a rising star in the bodabil circuit, performing alongside other leading stage performers such as
Atang de la Rama. She soon became a solo headliner, performing in Manila's largest theaters such as the Savoy, the Palace, and the Lux. By 1925, de la Cruz was the highest paid entertainer in the Philippines. She fell in love, and later married, the piano player of her stage show. Some of the chorus girls who performed alongside her onstage, such as Chichay, Etang Discher, Patsy, and Mary Walter, later become prominent entertainers in their own right.
De la Cruz was acknowledged as a proficient performer of
torch songs who drew comparisons to Sophie Tucker. [ cite web |title=Philippine Theater in English |url=http://www.ncca.gov.ph/about_cultarts/articles.php?artcl_Id=279 |author=Doreen Fernandez |publisher=NCCA |date=2004-12-06 |accessdate=2008-03-14 ] Initially, her signature tune was the bluesy ballad "St. Louis Blues". After jazzbecame popular in the Philippines in the 1920s, de la Cruz adapted her singing style and soon mastered the art of scat singing, which became a trademark of hers. By the 1930s, de la Cruz would be most identified with the song "Balut", a fast-paced jazzy tune written by Jerry Brandy. cite news |author=Kaye Villagomez |url=http://www.mb.com.ph/issues/2004/11/14/ENTR2004111422479.html |title=A Tribute to a Queen |publisher= Manila Bulletin|date=2004-11-14 |accessdate=2008-03-15 ] De la Cruz's take on the song, which afforded her to showcase her scatting ability, has been described as impish and rustic, rounded out by her low, playfully dragging key. A slightly bawdy take on the notorious Filipino culinary delicacy, "Balut" remains popular to date, with versions performed by the New Minstrels, Pilita Corrales, and Lani Misalucha. [cite web |url=http://www.geocities.com/katy_delacruz/songs.html |title=Katy de la Cruz - Songs |accessdate=2008-03-14 |work=Katy de la Cruz Homepage ]
De la Cruz occasionally acted in films, most prominently in "Inspirasyon" (1953), for which she received the FAMAS Best Supporting Actress Award in 1953. Many of her films were for
As bodabil slowly declined, de la Cruz concentrated on
concertperformances and international tours. In the late 1940s and early 1950s, she was a top-billed performer at the famed Forbidden City nightclub in San Francisco. [cite news | author= Ricky Lo |url=http://www.newsflash.org/2004/02/sb/sb003568.htm |title =Mrs. World Bets All Praises for Melanie Marquez | publisher=Philippine Star/Philippine Headline News Online |date=2005-02-25 |accessdate=2008-03-14 ] In 1961, she starred in her own stage show in Las Vegas. De la Cruz also performed concert tours in Thailand, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Singapore, Australia, and Hawaii.
De la Cruz eventually retired to
San Francisco, California, though she would occasionally perform until the late 1980s. In 1989, she visited the Philippines to attend the premiere at the Cultural Center of the Philippinesof "Katy!", a highly-publicized stage musical based on her life. Produced by Celeste Legaspi, "Katy!" starred Mitch Valdesin the title role, and its music was composed by Ryan Cayabyabwith lyrics by Jose Javier Reyes. During this visit, the eighty-two year old de la Cruz appeared on several Philippine television programs, performing her signature tune "Balut".
Ill health caused de la Cruz to retire from public life in the 1990s. She died on November 10, 2004, at the age of 97.
Of de la Cruz's four children, her daughter Angie followed her into showbusiness, pairing with Nikki Ross to form
Wing Duo, a singing tandem that was popular on the bodabil circuit and on film during the 1950s. [ cite news |author=Bayani San Diego, Jr. |url=http://services.inquirer.net/print/print.php?article_id=31048 |title=On Wings of a Duo |publisher= Philippine Daily Inquirer|date=2006-11-07 | accessdate=2008-03-14 ]
*cite encyclopedia |author=Ma. Lourdes Maniquis |editor=
Nicanor Tiongson|encyclopedia=CCP Encyclopedia of Philippine Art |title=Philippine Theater |accessyear=2008 |accessmonth=January |edition=1st |year=1994 |publisher= Cultural Center of the Philippines|volume=V |location=Manila |pages=287 |isbn=971-8546-30-8 |quote=
*cite encyclopedia |author=Doreen Fernandez |editor=
Nicanor Tiongson|encyclopedia=CCP Encyclopedia of Philippine Art |title=Philippine Theater|accessyear=2008 |accessmonth=January |edition=1st |year=1994 |publisher= Cultural Center of the Philippines|volume=VII |location=Manila |pages=p. 68-70|isbn=971-8546-30-8
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