People

Obituary: Dancing actor
HIM Damsyik

Multitalented actor Haji Incik Muhammad (HIM) Damsyik, who captivated the public with his acting and his moves on the dance floor, died at the age of 82 on Friday in Jakarta.

The doctors at Puri Cinere Hospital said the cause of death was old age.

Last month Damsyik’s family said they had to rush the prominent actor to the hospital due to his sudden deteriorating health.

After being treated, Damsyik’s health improved, making his passing quite a shock for everyone.

Senior actress Widyawati was among the mourners, saying she could not believe that the actor, who was known for his role as the villain Datuk Maringgih in the 1992 hit television series Siti Nurbaya, was gone.

“I never knew he was sick,” said the 61-year-old as quoted by tempo.co on Friday.

Damsyik was known by family and friends as a friendly and modest figure that liked to hang out with people from different economic backgrounds, in contrast to his bad guy image due to his frequent appearances as evil and pompous characters in movies and soap operas.

“He was famous and had a big name but he still wanted to make friends with becak drivers,” Damsyik’s fourth child, Beni Damsyik, said of his father.

The man, who was born in Lampung on March 14, 1929, started his acting career in 1959 in the film Bertamasya. He has been featured in over 60 movies.

Apart from acting, Damsyik also had a passion for dance.

He began dancing in the early 1950s before he began acting. After winning a dance competition in Jakarta, Damsyik decided to study dance professionally.

He enrolled in the Rellum Dancing School in the Netherlands for four years, making him one of the few Indonesian dance instructors with international dance certificates. The highlight of his dancing career was when he was the runner-up in a dancing competition in Bangkok, Thailand.

With such a fabulous career on the dance floor, Damsyik was known as a dancing guru who had mastered various international dances. He even established the Damsyik School of Dance and was one of the teachers there.

Little do people know that it was actually his outstanding dancing skills that led him to become an actor.

Late director Win Umboh was the first to recognize Damsyik’s talent as an actor, originally hiring him as the choreographer for a film. But after awhile the filmmaker asked Damsyik to act, and the rest is history.

But it was the 1992 soap opera Siti Nurbaya, adapted from the classic novel of the same name, that catapulted Damsyik to fame. His successful portrayal of Datuk Maringgih received nods from critics and audiences alike.

Damsyik’s death was a loss for Indonesian cinema, as no one can replace the man who possessed such a strong commitment to acting, veteran actor Didi Petet told tribunnews.com.

Damsyik is survived by his wife, five children, 30 grandchildren and four great- grandchildren.

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