Ashley Callie remembered


Award-winning South African actress Ashley Callie’s (32) life was celebrated at a moving memorial service held on Thursday 21 February at the Johannesburg Country Club. The actress, best known for her role as Lee Haines in the TV soap opera Isidingo, was in an accident on the corner of Fourth Avenue and Tana Road in Johannesburg last week. She died on Friday 15 February.

Close family friend and master of ceremonies Kate Turkington said that Ashley’s life motto was “Carpe Diem” (seize the day). “She saw opportunities and took them. She lived life to the full. There is no point in asking what ifs, or reflecting on the negative — look at the love and warmth here today.”

At the ceremony various tributes were paid to Callie by family, close friends and colleagues. Local singer, Loyiso Bala, sang Nat King Cole’s Unforgettable as a tribute. Ashley’s sister Lauren Callie read out her favourite poem by Khalil Gibran. Pumla Hopa, executive producer for Isidingo said that there would always be a gaping hole in the Isidingo family.

Robert Whitehead who played the role of Leone’s villainous father, Barker Haines, on the show read William Shakespeare’s 18th sonnet “Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day?” Unable to hold back his tears he concluded,” I always thought she would be snatched away by Hollywood. I never dreamt she would be snatched away like this.’

A coral-coloured rose, Ashley’s favourite colour, has been named after her.

Callie was born in Johannesburg and received a BA Honours degree in dramatic arts at the University of the Witwatersrand. Her performance on the soap opera won her the 2006 Best Actress Award at the South African Film and Television Awards.

Callie is survived by her mother, Claire, father Graham, sister Lauren and brother, John.

Screen Africa extends warm sympathy to Ashley Callie’s family and close friends.


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