I was shocked to read on the online Straits Times a few days ago that the much-loved local actor had passed away last Saturday the 20th, at the age of 60 (uhm, the poster above while sweet and nice-looking, should have read 1952. He was born on 25 July 1952). I don’t recall reading in the news previously about him being in poor health. It emerged that he had gone through a six-month battle with lymphoma, which he was being treated for with chemotherapy. He kept his condition secret from fans and many colleagues as he did not want to alarm them.
Actress Xiang Yun revealed in a tribute to him on her Facebook recently that he did not let her visit him in hospital as he did not wish her to see him in his condition. She continued to encourage him through his illness. They had been friends for 30 years. She described him as an actor who was very dedicated, giving his all to his craft.
Like Xiang Yun, Wenyong is one of the most familiar faces on Singapore television to me. I haven’t watched our local Mandarin TV dramas for some years now (same for Malay and English; I just don’t watch TV so much anymore), but voraciously followed them as a kid and teenager in the 80s and 90s. So I’m familiar with names from the earlier era like theirs along with the likes of Zoe Tay and Fann Wong, Li Nanxing, that yummy Flying Fish guy Yu Qing, Hong Huifang, and some others.
According to his Wiki page, Huang Wenyong appeared in more than 100 television programmes, and was among the first few locally-trained actors to enter the local entertainment industry. He is considered to be one of the pioneers of local Chinese drama.
Wenyong’s funeral was held yesterday at Bright Hill Temple. His hearse was routed along Caldecott Hill, where Singapore’s largest broadcaster Mediacorp is located. The road around Caldecott Hill was lined with fans and colleagues paying their last respects, applauding him as his hearse passed by.
A one-hour television special will also be produced to honour him, tentatively titled Remembering Huang Wenyong. According to Today Online it is to air 29th April, 8pm on MediaCorp Channel 8. That’s this Monday. I hope there will be subtitles as I’ll be tuning in.
( Other sources also include: Channel News Asia – ‘Last Applause for Huang Wenyong’ )