A Glimpse Into The Life Of Douglas MacArthur’s Filipina ‘Mistress’

A Glimpse Into The Life Of Douglas MacArthur’s Filipina ‘Mistress’

The late actress Isabel Rosario Cooper performed the first kiss in Philippine cinema in the 1926 silent movie Tatlong Hambog. Incidentally, the first silent movie in the country, Dalagang Bukid, was released 100 years ago today or on Sept. 12, 1919.

She performed the first on-screen kiss in the country. And she was called a “mistress” of Douglas MacArthur — the US Army general assigned in the Philippines who became renowned for the words “I shall return” — even if he was free to marry her. She appeared in bit roles in Hollywood films. At the age of 46, she committed suicide.

The mysterious life of Isabel Rosario “Dimples” Cooper piqued the curiosity of multi-disciplinary artist Miljohn Ruperto while researching on the life of MacArthur. Ruperto’s first exhibit featuring Cooper’s film clips, photographs, a script and a video imagining the life of the late actress was first mounted in 2014 by Koenig and Clinton, an art gallery in New York.

A scene from a movie where the late actress Isabel Rosario Cooper appeared and presented in the exhibit of Fil-American artist Miljohn Ruperto at the Archivo 1984 Gallery in Makati City from Aug. 15 to Sept. 6, 2019. Photo by Nathalie Tomada, The Philippine STAR

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