Stella Strada

Stella Strada, born Suzette Bishop, had a challenging youth. Her mother reportedly died while she was young, and her father was absent during much of her childhood. She had no permanent home, was sexually molested at the age of nine, and was in and out of jail on vagrancy charges.

When she was 16, Robbie Tan, then head of Seiko Films, discovered her. That year, she debuted as Stella Strada, the sexy star of the 1983 bold movie Kirot. The film was a box office hit and was followed by a string of other successful bold movies with her as the star.

In 1984, Stella became a born again Christian and stopped doing bold films. Acting offers dwindled. She became depressed and began using drugs. Ernie Garcia, who co-starred with her in Angkinin Mo Ako, said she become suicidal: during their shooting of the film, Strada covered her arms with bandages, apparently because she had cut her wrists in one of several suicide attempts.

On December 28, 1984, she committed suicide together with her confidant and make-up artist, Rene Mas. The two hung themselves in her bedroom in San Juan. A suicide note was found in Stella’s handwriting.

She earned a posthumous URIAN citation for Best Actress for the movie Puri. Like Pepsi Paloma, her beautiful flame was extinguished much too early.

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