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IN MEMORIAM (article first published : 1999-04-15)

Well-known stage, radio and screen actor Graham Armitage passed away in Johannesburg last month.

"His death has broken another link with the days of Napac drama," says former Napac chief director Robert Cross.

Graham Armitage, who directed seven highly successful productions for Napac in the late 70s and 80s, first came to KZN to direct Ayckbourne's How the Other Half Loves and Wilde's Impor-tance of Being Earnest. On later visits he directed The Circle, Don't Drink the Water, When We are Married and Pygmalion - all well received by critics and audiences.

Graham Armitage, who directed seven highly successful productions for Napac in the late 70s and 80s, first came to KZN to direct Ayckbourne's How the Other Half Loves and Wilde's Impor-tance of Being Earnest. On later visits he directed The Circle, Don't Drink the Water, When We are Married and Pygmalion - all well received by critics and audiences.

"Graham started his career in Britain, appearing in repertory in a string of West End successes, several of Ken Russells' films and on television," adds Rob. "He came to South Africa in 1973 to play in the Noel Coward revue Cowardy Custard and stayed on - soon becoming a well-known figure on local television (Westgate, Shaka Zulu and Trucking).

"He was always enormous fun to be with, he had an inexhaustible supply of hilarious stories about the theatre which he delivered in that clipped, totally distinctive voice with impeccable timing," Rob reminisces. "Actors enjoyed working with him and he coaxed fine performances from them. In later years, he concentrated less on the stage and more on film and television appea-rances where one always enjoyed spot-ting him in cameo roles, in which he was always excellent."


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