Actress Elize Cawood, 68, who died of lung cancer on Saturday, has left the world a better place.
So says director Gerrit Schoonhoven, who often worked with Cawood and her husband, actor Wilson Dunster.
“She was fearless in coming to the truth of her character,” says Schoonhoven.
“But she tempered everything with humor. In the same way she lived, her sense of humor never reaching far beyond. Lately you have been able to add bravely. ”
Director Koos Roets met her through her brother, Bromley Cawood, also a director.
“But (the director) Manie van Rensburg actually put her on the map,” says Roets about the series Lost Spring series in which Cawood played the role of Pop le Roux.
“She just ‘popped out’. There he made his name. She was great to work with. Her personality made it fun on set. ”
Roets has worked with her on series such as Pawnshop , Co-operative Stories , Underneath the Devil Turns Around and the movie The Miracle Worker .
Cawood received a kykNET Fiesta honor earlier this year for her lifelong contribution to the industry.
She recently appeared in the kykNET soapie Binnelanders and was heard in RSG’s first Covid-19 drama, Krag .
She was also known for her role as Girly in Leon van Nierop’s radio story Stralerjakkers .
“She had just as much to do with creating that character as I did,” says Van Nierop.
“She gave the most wonderful one-liners and many of them found their way to the story. I often wrote behind her humor.
“Her presence in the studio… The way she got in there every time and talked and laughed with us all.”
Van Nierop modeled on a woman leaning over her garden gates with a cigarette in the Johannesburg suburb of Newlands.
Cawood later read the book version of Radiant Jackets on RSG.
“This was especially a monument,” says Van Nierop. She also received an ATKV media feather for this lecture.
“When I listened to it on the radio,” says Van Nierop, “I often sat and cried, just to hear it.”
She was a big part of Van Nierop’s life.
“I am stunned and sad. We lost a great, great talent. Wilson, her children. I can not imagine a world without Elize Cawood. ”
Kobus Burger, executive director: drama at RSG, has recorded three book lectures with her over the past eight years.
“I remember her reading of Esta Steyn’s book Droomdelwers .
“Esta let me know she was listening to the book reading and she said Elize read those characters exactly as she heard them in her head when she wrote them.
“Elize was actually the Olympic swimmer of book readings. She had incredible stamina. She could read and read without fluffing and not catching her breath. ”
Cawood has acted in many radio dramas.
“She was always prepared and she gave you what you needed. She understood human and earthly characters very finely, also with a humorous interpretation. That honesty. ”
Singer Lizanne Barnard approached Cawood to perform in the production A Storage Box Full of Feathers, which consists of the word and visual art of Lidi de Waal.
“I knew right away that Elize had to read it aloud,” Barnard said.
“The two of them (Elize and Wilson) tackled life together ,” says Barnard.
“It was so wonderful to see how close they are to each other. How they always talked nicely to each other. Their love and respect for each other has always remained visible, over the years.
I learned so much from her about how to be with your fellow artists in the industry.
She called the very last performance of Bêreboksie a highlight in her career. ”
Presenter and actor Hannes van Wyk says Cawood took him under her wing on the set of the drama series Towers .
“I was so scared and new to the world of television,” says Van Wyk, “and Elize was incredible.
“Not only was she an incredible actress, but also a wonderful person. I was and am very much in love with her. She was one of those people who treated everyone the same and it was always great fun to share things with her. ”
Cawood could always make Van Wyk laugh.
“I also know of few people who love each other as much as Elize and Wilson. Apart from her exceptional career, Wilson and her children were the most important in her life.
“The fame and success she achieved, she always accepted with humility. What a woman! ”
Van Wyk says the South African entertainment industry is poorer without her. ”
Katinka Heyns was the director of the movie Die Wonderwerker in which Cawood played the role of Maria van Rooyen.
“Elize could read an atmosphere and relieve tension like no other,” says Keyns. “She was her own person, with a generosity of spirit and a fine intuition. And she was funny. Not just on stage or in front of the lens. Also in real life. It was a feast to have her on set, especially if something went wrong. ”
Cawood joked at the time that if she could ever make a movie with Heyns, she could only play in soap operas after that.
“And she was beautiful,” says Heyns. “After all the comic roles she played for us with Tobie Cronjé, she was the one chosen as Maria opposite Dawid Minnaar and Marius Weyers in Die Wonderwerker . The iconic scene of her as Maria David as Eugène Marais in the bedroom, was a highlight for me. We technically planned it without a rehearsal. She allowed the angels to take over and become Mary. For me one of the strongest scenes in the movie. Elize was never put off by vanity. ”
The actor and announcer Charl van Heyningen played opposite her in Van Nierop’s drama series Wolwedans in the twilight.
“We knew each other very well in earlier years. We often played opposite each other in productions. Wolwedans was the most prominent one. We played two lovers. She’s one of the funniest women I’ve ever met. I will always remember her for how we could laugh together. That dry humor. She was a master of understatement , of underplay . She was really an excellent actress. I remember her with great love and tenderness as someone who just brought light into everyone’s lives and a wonderful colleague. ”