Cinematic icon, Joe Abeywickrama bids adieu to the nation. The funeral of this veteran and most popular actor took place at General Cemetery Kanatte this afternoon.
No one thought that Gammana Patabendige Don John Abeywickrema, born at Lellopitiya in Pelmadulla on 22nd January 1927, would revolutionize the Sinhala cinema. John Abeywickrema was re-born in the Sinhala cinema as Joe Abeywickrema. He entered the Sinhala cinema by portraying in “Deva Sundari” and had made an indelible mark in the Cinema with half a century by playing roles in more than 150 films. He was a lover in the comedy Film Allapu Gedara and then a villain in the film “Welikathara”. His character enlightened more when he played as “Gorin Mudalali” in ‘Weli Katara’. He portrayed an innocent in the Award winning Film “Purahanda Kaluwara. He had also played roles in many award winning films such as “Siribo Aiyya”.
He was awarded as the Best Actor in Asia, in the Singapore Film Festival for his eminent role in “Purahanda Kaluwara”. He was also esteemed as the Best Actor on several occasions of OCIC and Presidential Film awards.
He also served as a producer and a script writer.
He played roles in more than 100 films, where he played the lead role in more than 60 of them. No one marginalized him until his journey from the Jayaratne funeral parlour to the Art Gallery and to the General Cemetery Kanatte in Borella from the Art Gallery. Joe Abeywickreme was one of the screen’s greatest enigmas. And, there will never be another like him.