A book signing for “The Legend of Tessie Agana: Beloved Child Star of the Philippines: An Intimate Portrait of My Mother” by author Mylene Agana Jao Richardson took on Friday, September 22, 2023, at the Barnes & Noble Valparaiso.
The former movie star Tessie Agana signed books and posed for photos as Richardson introduced the book. After a legendary movie career in the Philippines, Agana moved to Northwest Indiana where she lived for 60 years.
Richardson’s mother and grandmother – Tessie Agana and Linda Estrella, respectively – were the Philippines’ iconic mother/daughter film star duo of the 1950s, starring in 40 films collectively and winning the hearts of millions of fans worldwide.
Tessie was affectionately deemed “The Nation’s Little Sweetheart” and known as the “Shirley Temple of the Philippines.” With unsparing truth, Richardson offers the first intimate portrait of her mother, whose early fame and exposure to the public eye led to dark shadows that impacted her entire life.
As the author learns more about her famous mother, she experiences her own voyage of self-discovery which provides invaluable insight into her life.
“The process of writing this book was an eye-opener in every way, and my mother and I have rebuilt a more fulfilling relationship,” Richardson said. “We have learned to embrace the past and celebrate the present. This story, I believe, can only be told from the lens of a family member revealing details with love, respect, and honor.”
Mylene Richardson grew up in Valparaiso and attended Andrean High School. She is a first-time author who in 2009 developed a passionate desire to write a book as a way for her sons to learn about their grandmother and great-grandmother. This effort turned into years of interviews with family members and friends, and it provided a unique glimpse into the lives of these important women.
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