Const. Don Laurel catches thieves as a Toronto police officer, but he also steals the hearts of fans who recognize the former actor from his days as a soap opera star in the Philippines.

Meet the Toronto cop who's a former Filipino soap star

Const. Don Laurel catches thieves as a Toronto police officer, but he also steals the hearts of fans who recognize the former actor from his days as a soap opera star in the Philippines.

"We were patrolling an event in Earl Bales Park," Laurel told CBC Toronto as he described the day his fellow officers first learned about his past life in the limelight. "People kept coming up to talk to me and take pictures." 

Staff Sgt. Andy Sawyer said everyone in 32 Division was floored.  

"Out of curiosity, I actually Googled Don to see what all the fuss was about, and I saw one or two of his shows online and I thought it was very interesting," said Sawyer.

How Laurel, who moved to Canada with his family from the Philippines when he was 12, became a heartthrob in Filipino movies and TV shows is a story in itself. 

In the 1990s, when Laurel was 22 and living in Bradford, Ont., he won a talent competition where the winner got a chance to audition in the Philippines. 

He had continued to speak Tagalog at home after his family immigrated to Canada, so he had no trouble booking gigs almost immediately once he went back to the country of his birth.

His career took off thanks to his work on TV shows like Gimik and Sa Dulo ng Walang Hanggan.

But Maria Cuaresma, who once ran into him in Toronto's Little Manila area near Bathurst Street and Wilson Avenue, remembers him from the movies. 

"He still looks cute!" she told CBC Toronto 

She thinks the career shift to police officer is a suitable choice, "He's still the macho man." 

Source: CBC Toronto



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