WILLIE Nepomuceno, the popular satirist known for his impersonations of Philippine politicians and celebrities, passed away on July 26. He was 75. His family announced through his Facebook page that their beloved father “has peacefully joined our creator.”
His son Willie Wilsson Nepomuceno said in a statement sent to GMA News Online that his father fell out of bed and hit his head. He was rushed to the Marikina Valley Medical Center on Monday morning where it was found that he had suffered a subdural hematoma. Despite undergoing a craniotomy, he did not recover and died on Wednesday.
Born on July 8, 1948, Nepomuceno rose to fame in the late 1980s to the early 1990s due to his satirical impersonations of notable Filipino personalities. Among his targets through the years were actor Fernando Poe Jr., comedian Rodolfo “Dolphy” Quizon, former presidents Joseph “Erap” Estrada and Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III, and politician Juan Ponce Enrile.
His YouTube channel named NEPFLIX showed some of his transformations. Aside from their remarkable resemblance to the personalities in question, his impersonations were often praised for both their intelligence and humor.
From 2002 to 2004, Nepomuceno led the cast of ABC-5’s sketch comedy show Ispup. He also released six studio albums, spanning the 1980s to the early 2000s.
The veteran impersonator briefly joined the noontime show It’s Showtime in 2013. As a guest judge of their celebrity look-alike segment “Kalokalike,” his mastery of impersonation was introduced to a new generation.
His son, Wilsson Nepomuceno, paid tribute to the veteran comedian in a separate Facebook post, where he recalled memories of his father.
“Farewell, Tatay. Though it’s incredibly hard to say goodbye, I am grateful for the time we had together. Your love, guidance, and presence in my life have shaped me into the person I am today. I will forever treasure the memories we created, the laughter we shared, and the lessons you taught me. Thank you, Tatay, for your unwavering love and for being an incredible father. Your legacy will forever be engraved in my heart. Rest well, knowing that you are deeply loved and missed,” he wrote.
His fellow performers took to social media with stories of their interactions. Singer Celeste Legaspi recalled how, back in 1986, she and the impersonator found themselves watching Ferdinand Marcos, Sr. on television making an announcement imposing a curfew. She remembered that the dictator had to clarify that he was not Willie Nepomuceno as people thought it was one of the impersonator’s bits.
Singer Odette Quesada wrote in a Facebook past: “You used to jokingly say: ‘How can I miss you, if you don’t go away.’ You will be forever missed.”
Lawyer, legislator, and activist Neri Colmenares wrote: “Maraming salamat Willie Nep sa pagbigay halaga sa kalagayang pulitikal ng bansa sa pamamagitang ng iyong sining (Thank you Willie Nep for giving value to the political state of the nation through your art).”
The family announced that they will post about the details of the wake soon. — Brontë H. Lacsamana