The Filipino Boy And The Death Of Murnau
Friedrich Wilhelm Murnau – the tragic film genius
Despite the fact that the Philippines has been producing films in Manila sine 1899, Filipinos were never heard of in America, let alone in Hollywood, during the 1930s.
The first time a Filipino became an item in Hollywood was in 1931 when a freaky accident happened in Los Angeles, where German-born Hollywood film director genius Friedrich Wilhelm Murnau died. This tragic event was in fact the very first time a Filipino became part of the Hollywood scene – and how!
Nosferatu, Murnau's well-known horror feature is amongst the creepiest horror films
Murnau, a proponent of the expressionistic film movement in Europe and who directed the film NOSFERATU – a milestone in the history of world cinema – was gay. He was well-known to like young boys.
In 1931, seven days before the premiere of his film TABU, he allowed a fourteen year-old, exotic-looking, very handsome Filipino boy named Garcia Stevenson, for a ride in his limo. And for some absolutely bizarre reason, he let the boy drive the Packard vehicle. Stevenson, driving too fast and swerving to avoid a truck, eventually crashed against an electric pole, killing the legendary film director. Garcia was not hurt, nor the other person in the car, but Murnau’s head was cracked open on a roadside pole and died in hospital shortly afterwards. He was 42 years old.
A 1930 Packard 740 Series Phaeton, similar to the limo driven by Garcia Stevenson
It was reported later on, that while Garcia Stevenson was driving, Mr. Murnau was playing with the boy’s genitals, and one report even went further by saying that the legendary director was actually performing fellatio on the boy, which distracted the latter, and eventually resulted in the tragic accident.
One of the most memorable scenes in Nosferatu that scared the hell out of moviegoers
This tragic incident was predicted by a psychic in Los Angeles and told Murnau to be careful and never ever to ride in a car for this particular trip. Murnau listened at first, but changed his mind later – a choice which led to his death.
Before Murnau came to Hollywood, he was already a well-known filmmaker in Germany. He was the most distinguished and talented of all the directors brought over to Hollywood in the 1920s with major press blitz and received the most elaborate red carpet treatment.
His first Hollywood film, Sunrise (1927) has been firmly included in the ten best lists of critics and film-historians of the world.
Sunrise (1927), is on the favorite list of film critics
Along with Fritz Lang and G.W. Pabst, Murnau was at the forefront of the outstanding creative German cinema of the early Twenties.
Pallbearers during Murnau's interment
While the scandalous rumors surrounding Murnau's death resulted in the appearance of only a handful of mourners at his funeral, Greta Garbo showed up during the interment. She requested that a death mask be made, which she kept on her desk throughout her life.
Murnau was buried in Waldfriedhof Stahnsdorf, a cemetery at the outskirts of Berlin
Greta Garbo went to Murnau's interment
And Garcia Stevenson?
Would you like to know what happened to our kababayan after the scandalous accident?
Well, one source revealed in 1986 that he was still alive and was still a hunk-looking grampa at 69.