Sri Lanka mourns the loss of one of its most revered actors, Jackson Anthony, who has left a significant mark on the country’s entertainment industry.Jackson Anthony’s passing follows a lengthy stay in the intensive care unit of Colombo National Hospital, where he had been undergoing treatment for 14 months.
Tragedy struck on July 2, 2022, when Jackson Anthony, along with his brother Saman Anthony and three others, including Iresh Lakmal, were involved in aserious accident. Their vehicle collided with a wild elephant near the Moragoda water tank on the Anuradhapura-Talawa road—a known area for elephant activity. The incident occurred as they were returning from shooting a film in the Budruwakanda region of Galgamu.
Born on July 8, 1958, in Podivikumbura village, Ragama, Jackson Anthony’s journey to becoming a celebrated actor began with his primary education at Hapugoda Junior College and Bandarawelashanta Maria College. Later, he attended Galahitiyava Madhya Maha Vidyalaya. He earned an Honors degree in Sinhala Language and Literature as his first degree from the University of Colombo and a Master’s Degree in Journalism from the University of Sri Jayewardenepura.
Jackson Anthony’s early life was deeply influenced by his parents, Kongani’s Benedict Anthony and Rollin Perera Jackson. Growing up in Ragama Podivikumbu, he hailed from a family of five brothers, including Seneca Titus Anthony, Sudath Anthony, Saman Anthony, and Mohan Anthony.
In the world of arts, Jackson Anthony was also known for his family ties. His wife, Kumari Munasinghe, a renowned actress and singer, was a prominent figure in the entertainment industry. The couple had three children: Akila Dhanuddara, Sajitha Anutthara, and Madhavi Vatsala. Madhavi Vatsala continues to thrive in the industry as a TV presenter, actress, and singer, while Akila Dhanuddara and Sajitha Anutthara have made their mark as television anchors, models, and actors.
Jackson Anthony’s contribution to the Sri Lankan cinema, stage, and television was immense. Over the years, he excelled as an actor, director, producer, singer, screenwriter, television presenter, novelist, columnist, lyricist, historian, and tourist. Notably, he holds the record for winning the Best Actor award a remarkable sixteen times.
His career journey began on the public stage with E. M. D. Upali’s play “Methanine Shvarvenu,” which was followed by numerous successful stage productions like “Marasad,” “Madhura Javanika,” “Loma Hamsa,” “Dhavala Beeshana,” “At,” and “Mora.”
Jackson Anthony’s entry into the film industry occurred in 1993, with notable roles in films such as “Guru Gedera,” “Chithi,” “Ayoma,” “Loku Duva,” “Bhava Dukha,” “Bhava Karma,” “Gini Avi and Gini Keli,” “Aswasuma,” “Agni Tena,” “Suriya Arana,” “Mille Toda,” and “Randiya Dahara.” He also made a significant mark in teledramas, with popular serials like “Paligu Menike,” “Ella Laga Waluva,” “Suseema,” “Veda Hamine,” “Kadulla,” “Akala Sandhya,” and “Pitagamgarayo.”
Besides acting, Jackson Anthony showcased his talent as a director with tele-dramas such as “Esala Kaluvara” and “Daskon.” He directed several blockbuster films, including “The Role of Juliet” and “Paradise.” Notably, the film “Aba,” considered one of the most expensive productions in Sri Lanka, garnered recognition at numerous film festivals.
His artistic contributions extended to the realm of music, where he collaborated with his wife, Kumari Munasinghe, and family members on popular songs like “Lande Ukula Uda” and “Ahasa Polawa Uhulanavalu.”
The passing of Jackson Anthony marks the end of an era in Sri Lankan entertainment. The nation remembers him as a multi-talented artist who enriched the cultural landscape with his remarkable contributions. May he rest in peace.