Show business loses a ‘petite gaint’

2010-08-19 00:00

JOHANNESBURG — “She was fiery and fabulous.” This is how Kee-Leen Irvine, producer of The Weakest Link, described the programme’s witty presenter, Fiona Co yne, yesterday.

Irvine said she had a long phone conversation with Coyne on Tuesday. “Coyne might have been petite, but she was a giant as far as her talent, professionalism and work ethic were concerned.

“To me she seemed like poetry in motion. Behind the scenes of The Weakest Link she was witty, warm, genial, amusing, kind and considerate. She had no tolerance for stupidity, but she had a heart of gold. Fi was a beloved friend and I’m going to miss her.”

Singer Steve Hofmeyr, who studied drama with Coyne, told Beeld he had always looked up to her. “It’s terrible to lose a young, extremely talented fellow student so soon. Fiona was always a senior one could look up to. She was also one of my last guests on Dis Hoe Dit Is. She was always a guest of honour in our industry.”

Coyne had a great love for her border collies, crossword puzzles, sky-diving and nature conservation. She spent years in Kenya working on an awareness campaign for the David Sheldrick Wildlife Fund, which rehabilitates orphaned elephants and black rhinos.

As a communications specialist with an honours degree in clinical psychology, she was well known as a writer and as an actress. Her book Who Moved my Ladder? appeared in 2007. Last year she played the role of Catarina the Cat in Janice Honeyman’s pantomime Pinocchio.

Coyne was also a former member of the Cape Performing Arts Board’s theatre company and served on the National Arts Board’s theatre consultation team.

Fahiem Stellenboom of Cape Town’s Baxter Theatre said the country “has lost one of its top theatre-makers”.

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