October 29th: Bob Ross & Narcisa de Leon

Today, a Doodle was posted honoring the 70th anniversary of the birth of Bob Ross, the painter and TV host of The Joy of Painting. For those of you keeping track, that makes Ross the 19th man honored with a Doodle in the U.S. this year, compared to just 4 women. On Speaking Up, we’ll take a look at someone who also found success in the intersection between art and commerce: Narcisa Buencamino-de Leon.

de Leon was born on this day in 1877 and lived until February 6, 1966 in the Philippines. She was a prominent businesswoman and entrepreneur and led, as a film producer, one of the major companies in mid-century Filipino cinema. de Leon is the winner of many awards in the film industry and many cultural awards in the Philippines.

After becoming a widow at the age of 57, de Leon took over her family’s business and expanded their interests into real estate and film. As a result of her business acumen and sharp eye for talent and good investments, de Leon eventually became the first woman serving on the board of directors of a government corporation. de Leon’s film company, LVN Pictures, was a pioneer in color processing and in maintaining the Filipino cultural perspective in film. By recognizing and then carefully fostering the talent and appeal of actors and actresses, de Leon built LVN’s popularity and reputation as a star-making machine. Her successes also allowed de Leon to make major philanthropic contributions to her country.

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