In a different time, Lotis Key was known as the love interest of Philippine comedy royalty.
Now, she is known more as the parental influence behind the king of another, entirely different world — that of international chess.
Key figured prominently in a lengthy piece posted on the Washington Post on Monday that provided a snapshot of the life of Filipino chess prodigy Wesley So, whom Key has taken care of since 2014.
“He is, naturally, the happiest boy I’ve ever met,” Key told the Post’s Chuck Culpepper, who gave a glimpse of the relationship between So and his adoptive mother.
Local movie fans of the 1970s know Key more as an actress whose showbiz career will always be linked with Dolphy, in those days her boyfriend, a man she considered the “sunshine of her life.”
“Our big attraction was that we could both die laughing from our own jokes,” Key once wrote, recalling the times she spent with Dolphy, which included co-starring in 11 movies.
“Our years together were marked by hysterical kwentuhan that made us laugh so hard we’d both get asthma attacks.”
She left the Philippines to live in the US in the 1980s “to make a new start without any societal pressure,” she once told website PEP.
“I’ve always been adventurous and wanted to try my hand at a variety of new things and see what I could accomplish in a new place.”
Key worked on a few Hollywood films, including “Untamed Heart” in 1993, which starred Christian Slater and Marisa Tomei.
Later on, Key focused on Christian-based stage work, organizing a theater company, and writing and producing plays. She has also written two books.
She currently lives in Minnetonka, Minnesota, with husband Renato Kabigting and her family.
“I don’t miss show business . . . But I often miss the Filipino people,” Key told PEP. “They’re the prettiest and funniest people on Earth.”