Many generations in Sri Lanka recognise Jackson Anthony as a talented artist, particularly in theatre and film. The acclaimed actor has been the recipient of numerous awards throughout his career. These include the Presidential Award of Sri Lanka, the Sarasaviya Award, and the Lifetime Achievement Award of the Sri Lanka Film Critics Association. His performances in classic films are widely regarded as some of the most iconic in Sri Lankan cinema.
Anthony Jackson Konganige Jacob Malsi Jackson Anthony, commonly known as Jackson Anthony, was born in Podivikumbura, Ragama, on July 8, 1958.
His father is Konganige Benedict Anthony, and his mother is Podiweekumbure Rolin Perea Jackson.
Jackson has five brothers. The eldest brother, Senaka Titus Anthony, was a well-known actor and journalist who died of health issues. His other brothers are Mohan Anthony, Saman Anthony, and Sudath Anthony.
He received his early education at Bandarawela St. Maria College and Hapugoda Junior College. Afterwards, he attended Galahitiyava Central School for secondary education.
Jackson obtained his first degree with honours in Sinhala language and literature from the University of Colombo. Later, he earned a master’s degree in journalism from the University of Sri Jayewardenepura.
Jackson’s wife, Kumari Munasinghe, is also well-known in the art world. She is a talented actress and singer. Jackson and Kumari are the parents of three children: Akila Dhanuddara, Sajitha Anuththara, and Madhavee Wathsala Anthony.
Daughter Madhavee Wathsala Anthony is an actress, singer, and TV anchor. Akhila Dhanuddara, the eldest son, is also a television anchor, model, and actress. Sajitha Anuththara, his younger son, also hosts television programs. He portrayed the role of the hunter’s son in the popular film ‘Suriya Arana’. In theatrical productions, television, and film in Sri Lanka, Jackson Anthony is a well-known actor. Apart from acting, he has shown a variety of talents as a director, producer, singer, screenwriter, television presenter, novelist, columnist, lyricist, historian, and travel writer.
Jackson is a prodigy who has won the Best Actor award a record sixteen times.
He is an acclaimed and iconic figure in the burgeoning film industry and has won the Best Actor award sixteen times.
Jackson Anthony is famous for his unique portrayals in popular stage plays such as “Methanin Maruwem,” “Maraasaadh,” “Madhura Jawanika,” “Loma Hansa,” “Dhawala Bheeshana,” “Ath,” and “Mora.”
The stage play ‘Thaarawoo Igilethi’ was a watershed in his artistic career. The world of cinema opened up to him through this.
He entered the film industry in 1993. Acting in films such as ‘Guru Gedera’, ‘Chithi’, ‘Ayoma’ and ‘Loku Duva’.
Jackson later showed his talent in films like “Bhava Dukha,” “Bhava Karma,” “Gini Avi,” “Gini Keli,” “Aswasuma,” “Agni Dahaya,” “Suriya Arana,” “Mille Soya,” and “Randiya Dahara.”
He also demonstrated his ability as a teledrama actor. Some of his most popular teledrama roles were in teledramas like ‘Paligu Menike’, ‘Ella Laga Waluva’, ‘Suseema’, ‘Veda Hamine’, ‘Kadulla’, ‘Akala Sandhya’, and ‘Pitagamgarayo’.
In 1992, he directed his debut teledrama, “Esala Kaluvara.” In 1990, he directed “Bhumika Hatha,” and then in 2014, he directed his second television drama, “Daskon.”
He has also directed several blockbuster films in Sri Lanka. His directorial debut was ‘Juliettege Bhoomikawa.” ‘Paradisaya’ was another film directed by him.
Aba, in which he played a major role, is said to be the most expensive film made in Sri Lanka and has won awards at many film festivals. He also directed the film Address Naa’.
In 2017, he joined Sri Lankan actress Piyumi Hansamali in the Kerala film “Lucknow,” directed by Anil Kumar.
All of those who enjoyed his creations still recall them and hold many of them in high esteem.
This veteran actor, Jackson Anthony, along with two other people, was hospitalized following an accident they met in July 2022. He is still lying in a serious condition, battling for his life at the hospital.
Due to the inordinate length of time, he spent in the hospital following the accident, the question of whether he should be kept alive by machines sparked a contentious public debate, dragging in not only the media but also politics.
His political views and determining whether the life-saving machines should be removed or not.
He is surely a celebrated artist; however, the only thing that devalues him is the political indiscretion done out of high devotion. There was a time when people were surprised by the political favoritism that put aside his moral obligations and values. His political attitude has drawn a lot of criticism.
Yet, it should be agreed that his political views should not be taken into consideration when determining whether the machines that are keeping him alive should be removed or not.
At present, we, the common people, do not have the moral capacity to talk about removing or keeping the life support machine, but there is a moral justification for his family to determine whether this iconic figure should prolong his suffering lying in a hospital bed in an unconscious state.
The situation has changed now and is at a different level. When President Ranil Wickremesinghe came and asked everyone to provide facilities, the Government’s National Hospital arranged to provide the best medical facilities. Now even the President cannot order the removal of the life support machine, as he does not want to incur the wrath of the public or have slanderous rumors about him spread.
The medical community is also unable to perform a thorough evaluation and turn off this life support system due to the president’s instructions. Now Jackson’s family must make a judicious decision. However, they disagree with that judgment.
Hopefully, if he recovers at any moment, is yet another moral question that should be posed. Doubts have arisen in the medical sector about whether there is such a hope, other than the costs incurred to the state
Nevertheless, let us all agree that it is not up to us to come to a conclusion about the life of another human being. He should be regarded as a patient, with medical ethics at the core of whatever decision is taken at the end.
Let’s hope for a speedy recovery for Jackson Anthony!