‘Joe-what a character’
He won the Best Actor award at the Singapore International Film Festival in 1999 for “the simplicity and maturity of his performance as the role of a blind man whose nobility and honour transcends the depth of his personal sorrow.”
That was Joe Abeywickrema in ‘Purahanda Kaluwara’ – Prasanna Vithanage’s powerful award-winning cinematic creation.
Not many will disagree that Joe who died on Wednesday at the age of 84, was the best character actor Sri Lanka has produced. Joe did not act. He just lived the character of Wannihamy, the innocent but astute Dry Zone villager who could not be bought.
As Wannihamy, he was the genuine article, a decent human being. He was just that in his real life as well. We admired his simplicity, his friendliness, his sincerity, his kindness.