The 66-year-old actress was in Cape Town filming a TV series when she met her untimely death.
In what many have described as an emotionally-taxing year, legendary South African actress Shaleen Surtie Richards' passing has added to our collective heartbreak. The 66-year-old TV and theatre actress died in her sleep at a guesthouse in Edgemead, Cape Town according to her friend and fellow actress Lizz Meiring. "It is surmised that she died peacefully in her sleep. There are no signs of trauma, of criminal activity or of suicide nor do we think it was COVID-related," shared Meiring in an interview with East Coast Radio.
With an acting career spanning over thirty years, the multi-award-winning actress' contribution will be remembered in the iconic film Fiela Se Kind and TV shows such as 7de Laan, Generations, Egoli, Place of Gold and Broken Vows amongst others.
Speaking to eNCA, family friend and musician Alistair Izobell said Surtie Richards was one of the most phenomenal and incredible contributors the South African entertainment and arts scene had ever seen. "We understand her contribution through what we experienced in Fiela Se Kind, and her being the longest-serving soapie actress on Egoli, Place of Gold. Everything else that she touched was just legendary. Even during the tapestry of apartheid, she made people understand that she belonged in the arts, that other people of colour also belonged here," she reminisced, adding that her contribution was about making a statement with every piece of work that she did.
A TV aunt to most who grew up on her earlier shows, Meiring added that in Surtie Richards, "the nation has lost a wonderfully warm, humorous, clever and fun person with so much compassion." Izobell urged the public to allow Surtie Richards' family some time to mourn in privacy, as the late actress essentially spent the bulk of her career in the public eye.
Below is Surtie-Richard during a promotional interview for an e.tv telenovela Broken Vows that premiered two years ago.
Broken Vows teaser: Shaleen Surtie Richards 2 www.youtube.com
Surtie-Richards shortly after filming the 1988 classic Fiela Se Kind.