Gloria Diaz, born Gloria Maria Aspillera Diaz (b. 1950), born in the Ilocos region of Northern Philippines, is a veteran in the Philippines cinema, who became the first Filipino to bring home the Miss Universe crown. Often referred to as the Diaz Clan, in newspapers, Diaz was one of 12 children. One of her sisters, Rio Diaz-Cojuangco, was also a Filipino actress and beauty titlist, who fell ill with colon cancer and died after a 6 year battle.
Diaz was approached by an individual who believed she would do well in the Miss Universe competition and groomed the young woman. Oddly, none of her family members took the competition seriously and did not accompany Diaz to Florida. Diaz was only eighteen (the youngest ever) when she became Miss Universe of 1969 after outsmarting other candidates on the question on how to welcome the first men that has just landed on the moon; Neil Armstrong, Edwin Aldrin and Michael Collins, as soon as they are back on the planet. She was crowned in the international American-owned pageant in 1969 in Florida, USA after their footages was set on the Statue of Liberty in New York.
Diaz is also a well-respected actress in the Philippine film and TV industry. Her box-office mettle, as well as her acting prowess, was recently honored when she received the most-coveted FAMAS Award of the Filipino Academy of Movie Arts and Sciences (FAMAS Awards; the Philippines’ equivalent of the Oscars) for Best Supporting Actress in her role as a spinster adoptive mother in the FAMAS Best Picture Nasaan Ka Man (2005).