Nora Aunor (born Nora Cabaltera Villamayor on May 21, 1953 in Iriga, Camarines Sur) is a multi-awarded Filipino actress, singer and producer. Aunor had several leading-role performances in stage plays, television shows, and concerts. She is also known as the Philippine one and only "SUPERSTAR". Considered by people masses, critics and contemporaries as the Philippine cinema greatest thespian and major icon of the century. She is also the only actress included in the prestigious "Centennial Honor for the Arts" given by the Cultural Center of the Philippines (1999). Aunor’s rise to stardom is phenomenal, the young water vendor by the railroad has emerged into the country’s most sought-after movie superstar.
In Philippine Cinema as An Actress
Since the late 1960s, Nora Aunor starred in more than 170 films, with the majority becoming box-office hits. She reaped three international best actress trophies, numerous local acting awards, and several industry citations. Her films had been shown in wide-ranging and diverse international film festivals in Cannes, Berlin, Moscow, New York, Chicago, Hawaii, Toronto, Rotterdam, Fukuoka,Cairo, Penang and Brussels. On screen, Aunor has starred with the popular actors (leading men) of her time, including Philippine president Joseph Estrada, a former actor. She also co-starred with international movie stars like Don Johnson and Sajid Khan in the early 1970s. As an actress, Nora is said to have an exceptional acting prowess any local actors can have. She can act through her eyes or without uttering a single word and can deliver the message without using glamour. One quality that Aunor has that others don’t have is, "the sadness of her eyes that set off instant sympathy among moviegoers, what some might call stage presence that dwarfs the rest of the cast."
Critics honored her performances in film after film – Minsa’y Isang Gamu-gamu; Tatlong Taong Walang Diyos; Bona; Bulaklak sa City Jail; Condemned; ‘Merika; Andrea, Paano Ba Maging Isang Ina; Ina Ka ng Anak Mo. She even surpassed herself in Himala and went on to render three more memorable performances in Joel Lamangan’s Sidhi; Bakit May Kahapon Pa, and The Flor Contemplacion Story. But even downright commercial undertakings benefited from her sheer presence. Nora Aunor remains the actress against whom all other contemporary Filipino actresses are measured.
In Philippine Music Industry as a Singer
Known as the Lady with the Golden Voice, Nora recorded more than two dozen albums and scores of hit singles. She received countless gold and platinum record awards, and a handful of music industry recognitions. She has notched more than 30 gold singles, a record in the local music industry. With estimated sales of one million units, Nora’s cover of "Pearly Shells" (1971) is one of the biggest-selling singles in the Philippines ever.
At the height of her popularity as a recording artist in the late 1960s and early 1970s, local records soared up to 75% of national sales. She is the artist with the most singles in Philippine recording history (with more than 260 singles). Over-all she has recorded more than 500 songs. In 1991, Aunor’s first major concert (Handog) at the Araneta Colesium (more that 17,000 persons capacity) equalled the audience attendance of The Beatles and Frank Sinatra making her as one of the most beloved concert performer of the Philippine music Industry. On her 50th birthday she also had a major concert ("Gold") which became a reunion for all of her fans and people who loved her through the years. Even up to now, Nora is still doing a series of concerts in the U.S.
In Philippine Television as T.V. Personality
Aunor used to sell cold water by the railroad tracks of Iriga City but soon became famous in 1967 after winning at the "Tawag ng Tanghalan", a national amateur singing contest in the Philippines.
Aunor hosted the longest-running musical variety show in Philippine television. Her show Superstar was broadcasted for 22 years. She was the first actress to do the Star Drama Theater Presents: a drama anthology program. She even hosted a Public Service program. In 2002, Aunor made her first soap opera, Bituin (Star), which was aired on ABS-CBN Broadcasting Network.
In Philippine Theater as Stage Actress
Acting in front of live audiences is very different from acting in the movies or television. It needs a lot of mental preparations and emotions to do scene after scene. But Nora as a great actress she is, was able to deliver a good and memorable performance. A Performance that received numerous standing ovations from the audience. She made three stage plays and that includes, Minsa’y isang gamu-gamo, Trojan Women and DH ( Domestic Helper.) Aunor lives up to one’s high expectations. The depth, fire and intensity are there, and she receives solid support from an excellent ensemble. "She really is a great actress," The National Artist Lamberto V. Avellana once said, and she is until now and no one can even comes close to her, She’s indeed a multi-media superstar.
A mother of five, Aunor’s marriage Philippine actor , Christopher de Leon, was annulled in the late 1990s. In recent years, despite retaining Philippine citizenship, Aunor spent most her time at her home in California.
In 2004, the dynamic San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom declared Aunor’s birthday as Nora Aunor Day in the City and County of San Francisco to honor Aunor for her numerous achievements as an award-winning multi-media artist and entertainer in the Philippines and in San Francisco.
On March 30, 2005, Aunor was arrested at the Los Angeles International Airport for allegedly carrying 7.7 grams of methamphetamine hydrochloride inside her carry-on luggage together with a glass pipe (a drug paraphernalia) wrapped in a T-shirt. Aunor was on her way to Oakland, California. Aunor was released after posting a $10,000 bail. On April 21, 2005 she pleaded not guilty before the court. Her trial was set on December 16, 2005.
On March 29, 2006, Aunor pleaded guilty to the charge of possession of a controlled substance. She enrolled for a drug diversion program resulting to the subsequent suspension of the criminal proceedings against. After completing her rehabilitation treatment, it is expected that te charges against her will be dropped.
After a successful show in Las Vegas last August 31, 2006, Nora received a certificate of recognition from Nevada State Governor Kenny C. Guinn for her phenomenal talent and for being an extraordinary performer.
On September 23, 2006, Mayor Timothy Hancock of Killeen, Texas, proclaimed the date as Nora Aunor Day in the City of Killeen after she held a successful concert there.
On May 2007, Aunor was reported to have married her current manager Norie Sayo who is openly lesbian in Clark County Las Vegas on May 22, 2000(marriage certificate # D190650, according to the Clark County, Nevada website).
Nora Aunor is close to her fans that she already invited some of them to her awards nights and Superstar shows. Her fans made caps, t-shirts, posters and pins with her picture in them.
Her undying crowd of fans are called "Noranians" and back in the ’70s, "Vilmanians" (Vilma Santos fans) and "Noranians" fight for their idols since the two stars became popular at the same time. Even classmates fought during lunch breaks for their idols. The ’70s was the height of their rivalry. In real life, the two stars are friends.
On September 2000, some Noranians formed a group which they call themselves as ICON or International Circle of Online Noranians. This group are Noranians from all over the world, professionals and respected people who communicate and discuss about their experiences as movie fans, thier love for Nora and their wishes for her. ICON was incorporated as an organization in Texas, USA, and as an organization. It seeks to establish an online forum that encourages appreciation of Miss Nora Aunor’s body of work among the general public through discussions, documentation, awareness, and collaboration with other relevant and interested parties in preserving her artistic contribution to the Philippine movie industry and to continue to support her continued success.
Leading Men In Philippine Cinema
Aunor had lots of leading men in her whole showbiz timeline. Singer-actor Tirso Cruz III, nicknamed "Pipo" or "Pip", is her fans’ most beloved leading man for her. Their tandem in the ’70s to the ’80s is called "Guy and Pip" based on their nicknames. Together, they swept the feet of their fans with their unforgettable love scenes. They did movies like "And God Smiled at Me", "Guy and Pip" and "Till We Meet Again". Maria Leonora Theresa, Aunor’s doll from Tirso, is a remembrance of their tandem. In the film, Aunor considered it as their daughter. Frankly, though the Guy and Pip tandem is a hot love team, Nora and Tirso never had a relationship.
Edgar "Bobot" Mortiz, another Tawag ng Tanghalan singer, also became Nora’s leading man. But fans prefer Bobot more to Vilma Santos since they are fit to be a love team.
Award-winning actor Christopher de Leon became her husband and had five children with him while Ian, Lot-Lot and Matet are the only ones who became celebrities. The two appeared in numerous films such as "Tatlong Taong Walang Diyos" which is about the World War II. Their marriage was annulled in the 1990s.
Edu Manzano mostly appears to be a third party to Aunor’s tandems.Yul Servo was his younger leading man in a film recently.
Albert Martinez was her leading man in indepedent film, "Sidhi", with Glydel Mercado.
Notable Citations as an Actor
* The Filipino actor with the most number of International awards (Cairo ’95, East Asia ’97, Brussels ’04), and nominations (Berlin ’83, Singapore ’97, Cairo ’99, Singapore ’99).
* The first Filipino actor to win an International acting award in a Major Film Festival (Cairo ’95 for the movie "The Flor Contemplacion Story").
* The first and only Filipino actor to receive an acting nomination from a Top-Tier International Film Festival (Berlin ’83 for the movie "Himala").
* The first Filipino actress to sit as juror in an International Film Festival (Hawaii ’96).
* The only Filipino and Asian actress (apart from China’s Gong Li) to be featured by HBO, an American cable network, in a documentary film about the lives and achievements of the world’s greatest actresses (1997).
* Himala was the first and only Filipino film ever to qualify in the Competition Section of the Berlin International Film Festival (1983).
* The Flor Contemplacion Story became the first Filipino movie to win the grand prize in a Major International Film Festival (Cairo ’95).
* The Flor Contemplacion Story grossed US$ 3.3 million in its domestic and international exhibitions, making it one of the highest-grossing films in Philippine history.
* Bona was cited as one of "The Best 100 Films in the World" by the Museum of Tolerance in Los Angeles, USA (1997). * The Filipino actor with the most "Best Performer" awards (5).
* The first Filipino actor ever to win the "Best Performer" award (1978).
* The only actress included in the prestigious "Centennial Honor for the Arts" given by the Cultural Center of the Philippines (1999).
* The first actress to be honored with the "Ten Outstanding Women in the Nation’s Service" (TOWNS) award (1983).
* The youngest recipient of the "Lifetime Achievement Award" given by the Film Academy of the Philippines (1993).
* The only actor that won three successive best actress awards on Film Academy of the Philippines for years 1989,1990,1991.
* Chosen by Gawad Urian as Best Actress of the decade for 80′s and 90′s.
* The only actor that has won seven MMFF best actress awards, thus dubbed as Film Fest Queen.
* The first actresss to be crowned as the " Box Office Queen of Phil. Cinema".
* Considered by people masses and critics and contemporaries as Philippine cinema greatest thespian and major icon of century.
* Named as the Philippine’s Best Actress of All Time by S Magazine in 2006.
Notable Citations as a Recording Artist
In 1968, a little brown girl with a golden voice named Nora Aunor was contracted by Alpha Records upon the recommendation of singer Carmen Soriano. This marked the beginning of the Golden Age of Local Recording. Although Nora’s first singles were not major hits, she smashed all record sales with her series of hits which included "It’s Time to Say Goodbye", "Silently", "Forever Loving You", "It’s Not Unusual", and countless others. In her seven years with Alpha Records, she was able to set all-time high record sales which up to this day has not been surpassed.
* At the height of her popularity as a recording artist in the late 1960s and early 1970s, local records soared up to 75% of national sales according to Alpha Records Philippines.
* She is the artist with the most singles in Philippine recording history (with more than 260 singles). Over-all she has recorded more than 500 songs.
* She has notched more than 30 gold singles, a record in the local music industry.
* With estimated sales of one million units, Nora’s cover of "Pearly Shells" (1971) is one of the biggest-selling singles in the Philippines ever.
* Nora has also recorded some 46 hit long-playing albums, and several extended plays.
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