Jamaican Actress and Broadcaster Leonie Forbes has Died

Jamaican Actress and Broadcaster Leonie Forbes
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CNW- Jamaican theatre icon Leonie Forbes has died. The pioneering voice in Jamaican radio and television was 85 years old.

Forbes grew up in Kingston, Jamaica. She attended Kingston Senior School before going on to Excelsior College and the Durham College of Commerce. After leaving school, she worked as a typist at the University of the West Indies.

Forbes later began working for playwright Barry Reckord, typing his scripts. She joined the Jamaica Broadcasting Corporation (JBC) in 1959 as a radio announcer and later won a scholarship to attend the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art (RADA) in England.

Forbes spent six years at RADA studying radio, television, and stage techniques, at the same time working as a writer for BBC Caribbean and appearing in a number of television dramas – including Z-CarsThe Odd ManPublic Eye, and Hugh and I. Her first appearance in professional theatre came in 1962, when she played in Lloyd Reckord’s Busha Bluebeard.

In 1966, Forbes returned to Jamaica and resumed her work with the JBC. She lived in Australia from 1968 to 1970 while her husband worked at the University of Queensland, and during that time acted in a number of radio dramas for the Australian Broadcasting Corporation, as well as working part-time as a drama teacher.

In 1972, Forbes was appointed head of Radio Two, JBC’s FM service. She was elevated to overall director of radio broadcasting in 1976. Forbes continued acting both during and after her time at the JBC.

She appeared in many locally made plays and films. She played the leading roles in 12 pantomimes and has acted in plays such as The Rope and the Cross and Old Story Time. She also acted in overseas productions like Milk and HoneyThe Orchid House, and Soul Survivor.

In 1980, Leonie Forbes was made an Officer of the Order of Distinction for her work. She published an autobiography in 2012.


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