Weng Weng was a Filipino actor and martial artist. Only 2 feet, 9 inches (83 cm) tall, he is listed in the Guinness World Records as the shortest adult actor in a leading role. He played Secret Agent 00 in For Y’ur Height Only
and The Impossible Kid
and also starred in the western D’Wild Wild Weng
Weng Weng was born as Ernesto de la Cruz in Baclaran, in what is now Parañaque City, on September 7, 1957. He was discovered by Eddie Nicart in a circus. His first movie part is believed to be that of the baby Moses in the 1972 Filipino biblical epic Go Tell It On The Mountain
, which also starred future Philippine president Joseph Estrada as the adult Moses. Most of Weng Weng's early movie roles involved him either playing babies, children, small cuddly animals or strange alien beings in a number of low budget Filipino sci-fi features. In 1973 he appeared in filmmaker Pedro Manoy's super-low-budget science-fiction fantasy MoonBoy From Another Planet
in which he played a lovable three-foot alien who befriends a poor Filipino boy. Manoy later claimed and unsuccessfully attempted to sue Hollywood filmmaker Steven Spielberg for ripping off the idea for ET
In the late 1970's, he came to the attention of Hong Kong movie maker Raymond Jury, who cast him in the role of Agent 00 in the 1981 James Bond-style spoof For Your Height Only
. In the movie, the brilliant scientist Dr. Kohler is kidnapped by an evil organization headed by "Mr Giant". Secret Agent 00 is called to rescue the doctor, and 00 does so by using a combination of kicking people in the knees or the genitals, shooting with remarkable accuracy, and sliding across the floor firing his pistol as he goes. The film ends with Agent 00 locating the secret island that Mr. Giant uses for a hideout, dispensing with the red beret wearing guards, and meting out his special form of justice. Weng Weng learned the martial arts from fellow Filipino Dan Inosanto and international martial arts pioneer and Ju Gran Chaud founder Laurent Painchaud. The movie was a huge hit throughout the Philippines and Asia as well as countries as far apart as Iceland, Uganda, Tonga, Bolivia and Papua New Guinea.
In the 1982 sequel The Impossible Kid
, Weng Weng is now working for the Manila branch of Interpol. The Chief sends him in the pursuit of Mr X, an arch villain with a white sock on his head, who is holding the Philippines for ransom. Two businessmen, Maolo and Simeon, pay the demands but Weng Weng suspects foul play and goes deep undercover to reveal the identity of Mr X.
Weng Weng also starred in the 1982 western D'Wild Wild Weng
, playing a character called "Mr. Weng". In the film, he and sidekick Gordon (Max Zuma Laurel) are sent to the countryside to investigate the murder of Santa Monica’s mayor. The town is now overrun by the corrupt governor Sebastian (played by Romy Diaz) and his army of banditos, all dressed up to look like Mexican revolutionaries. The ending has Weng cranking a Gatling gun - on the back of a jeep - mowing down wave after wave of sombreros, while a tribe of dwarf Indians launch a counterattack with bows and arrows.D’Wild Wild Weng
shares much of the cast from both For Y’ur Height Only
, and The Impossible Kid
: Yehlen Catral (Lola in For Y’ur Height Only
) plays Elsa the barmaid, Max (For Y’ur Height Only
’s tartan-clad villain in shades and cloth cap) Alvarado takes a turn at playing a sympathetic character as the mute Lupo, and Nina Sara (later in The Impossible Kid
) is Weng’s love interest Clara.
In the Philippines, Weng Weng became a household name and he was constantly in demand for appearances on TV chat shows, shopping center appearances and the occasional political rally. In 1990 he was awarded a special citation for services to the Filipino film industry from first lady Imelda Marcos, and joined her at the presentation in a special karaoke "duet" version of My Way
. An unauthorized recording of their performance was later released on bootleg cassette and sold 200,000 copies.
Weng Weng demonstrated martial artistry in his films. It is said that he trained in many disciplines including Jeet Kune Do under fellow Filipino Dan Inosanto and the hybrid martial style Ju Gran Chaud which he was taught by Ju Gran Chaud's founder Laurent Painchaud who travelled through Southeast Asia preaching the discipline.
By the late 1980's, film and television roles had dried up, and according to some sources Weng Weng had begun drinking heavily. Weng Weng died in Pasay City, Philippines on August 29, 1992 of a heart attack, at age 34.
From Wikepedia, the free encyclopedia.