AJ Perez was one of the most promising actors of his generation. His name is not immediately recognizable to some people but when you mention Sabel, the series that also starred Jessy Mendiola, then they’d remember, “Yes, the good boy who played Dido, he’s good looking and a fine young actor.”
AJ, born Antonello Joseph S. Perez on Feb. 17, 1983, was launched as a member of Star Magic Batch 13 in 2006. His television appearance started when he was cast in the miniseries Star Magic Presents (All About a Girl, Abt Ur Luv, Hay School Lyf, and Luvin’ Life) followed by another miniseries Your Song Presents (Underage, Boystown and Imposible). His first known team-up was with Lauren Young when they both appeared in the television series Lobo as Zoey and Yani.
Apart from being an actor and a product endorser, AJ was also a dancer. He was a member of the disbanded all-male dance group Gigger Boys that also include Enchong Dee, Sam Concepcion, Dino Imperial, Robi Domingo, Chris Gutierrez, and Aaron Villaflor. The group was an Asap regular.
AJ made a total of 10 movies under ABS-CBN production arm Star Cinema. Some of his notable film projects were Kasal, Kasali, Kasalo (2006), Sakal, Sakali, Saklolo (2007), Bahay Kubo (2007) BFF (Best Friends Forever) (2009), Ang Tanging Pamilya: A Marry Go Round (2009). In 2010, he was cast in three blockbuster films namely Babe, I Love You, Cinco and Mamarazzi.
Away from the limelight, AJ excelled pretty well in school. Indeed, he was a bright student. Last year, he ranked third in their batch. He graduated last month at the La Salle Greenhills and planned to attend college at De La Salle in Manila. He was also active in sport, listing basketball as his top sport.
His career was on the right track until the fatal accident on April 17.
According to police reports, the 18-year-old actor suffered multiple head injuries and was pronounced dead at exactly 12:20 a.m.
Hours after his demise, Johnny Manahan said in a statement that AJ is being groomed as a leading man material, the next young talent to follow in the footsteps of Jericho Rosales, Piolo Pascual, and Diether Ocampo. His last television project is an episode in Maalaala Mo Kaya, which will be shown on April 30.
Meanwhile, the family of AJ decided to donate the young actor’s cornea to miracle child and blind singer Fatima Soriano, who was interviewed by Boy Abunda in The Bottomline. The interview was aired almost at the same time when the accident happened.
On his way back to Manila, the young actor posted a message on his Twitter page that said: “On the way home already from Dagupan. Long drive ahead. Thanks to everybody who watched.”
A long drive, indeed.