Tragic end to Jackson Anthony’s multi-faceted life



Jackson Anthony, popular actor, singer and film and media personality died last Monday while under treatment for over 15 months at the ICU at Colombo National Hospital for injuries sustained in a collision with a wild elephant at Thalawa in the NCP on July 2, 2022.His remains were interred on Thursday at St. Peter’s and Paul Church, Ragama.

Anthony left an enduring mark on the country’s cultural annals for his singing, dancing, acting, writing, and directing, seamlessly transitioning from the stage to the screen. His exceptional storytelling ability won him a wide following.

An exceptionally talented personality he attracted tens of thousands of fans with large crowds including many VIPs including Prime Minister Dinesh Gunawardene, former Speaker Karu Jayasuriya, ministers MPs and stage and film personalities as well as a multitude of fans crowding to pay their last respects.

Speaking to the media at his home, his daughter, Madhavi Anthony, said the family did their best over a period of many months to save their father’s life. “Despite how hard we tried to care for my father, we still lost him. It feels as though thieves have stolen him from us.”

Renowned artist Udayakantha Warnakulasuriya emphasized that Anthony’s talents transcended the boundaries of a single artistic segment. He underscored how Anthony had left his mark in nearly every facet of the arts, from cinema and music to the stage.

“This is a moment of deep sorrow for all of us. The loss of Jackson is profoundly felt in our hearts,” he said.

Konganige Joseph Malsi Jackson Anthony, born on July 8, 1958, in the village of Podiwee Kumbura, Ragama, embarked on a remarkable journey of education and artistic accomplishment. He schooled at Hapugoda St. Mary’s Junior School and St. Mary’s College in Bandarawela before matriculating at Galahitiyawa Central College in Ganemulla.

He went on to the University of Colombo, where he earned an honors degree in Sinhala language and literature and subsequently his master’s degree in Mass Media at the University of Sri Jayewardenepura.

Throughout his time at the university, Anthony showcased his theatrical talents in numerous stage dramas. His early performances in Neville Dias Subasinghe’s “Vaaruwen Yana Minissu” and “Manavayo,” as well as E. M. D. Upali’s “Methanin Maruwenu,” set the stage for his illustrious career. He enhanced his reputation with acclaimed stage plays like “Marasad,” “Madhura Jawanika,” “Loma Hansa,” “Dhawala Beeshana,” “Ath,” “Mora,” and “Tharavo Igilethi,” earning widespread recognition in the realm of cinema. His exceptional acting skills earned him a Best Actor title at the National Drama Festival.

His talent was recognized overseas with a nomination for Best Supporting Actor in a Foreign Language Film at the Nice International Film Festival for his role in the movie ‘Dada ima (End of the Hunt).’ He secured Best Actor accolades at the 2018 Winner SIGNIS Award and 2018 Sarasaviya Award for his outstanding performance in the movie ‘Dharmayuddhaya.’

His remarkable contributions to drama and cinema were celebrated with multiple awards from prestigious platforms, including the “Gampaha 80” Drama Festival, National Drama Festival, Divaina Sama Drama Festival, Wijaya Rupavahini Awards, UNDA Awards, Sumathi Awards, Mass Media Awards, Critic Awards, SIGNIS OCIC Awards, Presidential Awards, Raigam Tele’es Awards, Asian Film Festival, and Fox International Film Festival.

On July 2, 2022, tragedy struck when Jackson Anthony was hospitalized following an unfortunate collision with a wild elephant while traveling with his younger brother and another in Talawa. Initially admitted to the Anuradhapura Teaching Hospital, he was later transferred to the ICU of Colombo National Hospital, where he received medical care until his untimely passing at the age of 65-years.