Honouring SA actor Sam Phillips: 'He will take place on our mantle as one of the greatest actors'

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Sam Phillips
Sam Phillips
Photo: Facebook/Screengrab
  • South African actor Sam Phillips has died at the age of 72.
  • Tributes came pouring in for the actor, who got nominated for an Oscar for his lead role in Senzani Na? and recently appeared in Kings of Jo'Burg.
  • "We will remember him fondly for his smile and miss his visits to the office over a cup of tea and a story of the good old times," Gaenor Artiste Management said in a statement.


Veteran South African actor, Sam Phillips has died. He was 72 years old.

Survived by his children, Choppa, Mpho, Mpumi, Late Nomzamo, Mthunzi and Ntsoaki, Sam died on Saturday, 16 January, his daughter, Mpumi confirmed on Twitter while his agency, Gaenor Artiste Management, released a statement.

"We are devastated to inform you of the sad news that our beloved Sam Phillips has left us," the statement said.

"A revered actor, director, producer, writer, and music composer the list is long of accreditations. More than that he was a father, grandfather, and loving friend to all who had the privilege of knowing him."

The actor's illustrious career started in theatre when he left Cape Town for Johannesburg in his early twenties.

"He became part of the Non-racial Peoples Space Theatre within which he played in the first multi-racial production of Lysistrata. Sam was one of the first faces to appear on SABC TV 2 in 1980. Featuring in numerous programs including religious ones such as Monna wa Cyrene and Ibali lika Yona," the statement says.

"A great number of skills shaped Sam into the award-winning actor and writer he was, but without a doubt, the numerous languages he spoke was top of the list. Enabling him to appear in a great many drama TV series, films, telenovelas and even comedies. There was not a genre that escaped him. From Johannesburg to Los Angeles, acting, teaching writing, and appearing on stage, he loved what he did, which was always evident when watching him perform. Even appearing as a support in Ace Ventura: When Nature Calls in 1995."

Sam was nominated for an Oscar for his lead role in Senzeni Na?, which was nominated for Best Short Story by the American Film Institution (AFI) in 1990.

"We will remember him fondly for his smile and miss his visits to the office over a cup of tea and a story of the good old times. For us, he will take place on our mantle as one of the greatest actors and will always be part of The Gaenor Artist management team." 

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