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Guy Willoughby Dies

Guy Willoughby and Lesley Marx

ArchangelsDurban-born actor, playwright, novelist and journalist Guy Willoughby has died, News24 is reporting:

Actor, director, playwright and entertainment writer Guy Willoughby died on Tuesday of Aids-related complications, after being ill for some time.

“We’ve lost a great actor. He was brave and clear-sighted to the end,” ex-wife Finuala Dowling told News24. “He’s been sick for a while and it was a relief to speak to him about his illness and approaching death.”

Willoughby, a larger-than-life personality who, as noted above, was once married to Finuala Dowling, was the author of numerous works large and small. His debut novel, Archangels, was published in 2002; and his latest source of first-class Cape Town skinner – which he famous for distributing with panache at city soirées, where he was a favoured guest – was none other than Tony Leon, the Democratic Alliance politician whom Willoughby worked for as a speechwriter toward the end of Leon’s tenure as party leader. (He later had a falling out with the DA that attracted some notice earlier this year.)

Willoughby was an Oscar Wilde scholar and devotee – in 1990, he serialized Wilde’s The Picture of Dorian Gray as a radio play; and in 1993, he published Art and Christhood, which treats Wilde’s “imaginative engagement with the figure of Jesus Christ” – and he never failed to sparkle, in true Wildean style, when out and about. He lived life to the fullest, seeming to epitomize one of Wilde’s more famous dicta: “One can survive everything nowadays, except death, and live down anything, except a good reputation.” Willoughby was the life of the party, wherever he went.

His Facebook page remains operative as of this writing, and supplies a recent photo:

Guy Willoughby

BOOK SA extends condolences to his family and loved ones. Rest in Peace, Guy Willoughby, you will be sorely missed.

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Recent comments:

  • <a href="http://helenmoffett.book.co.za" rel="nofollow">Helen</a>
    Helen
    August 11th, 2009 @16:01 #
     
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    Such sad and shocking news. My heart goes out to his daughter Beatrice, and the many who loved him.

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  • <a href="http://hughhodge.book.co.za" rel="nofollow">Hugh</a>
    Hugh
    August 11th, 2009 @20:21 #
     
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    I am so very very sad.

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  • <a href="http://sarahlotz.book.co.za" rel="nofollow">Sarah Lotz</a>
    Sarah Lotz
    August 11th, 2009 @22:54 #
     
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    Really upset to hear about this. Condolences to Guy's family and many friends - he's going to be sorely missed indeed.

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  • Ben - Editor
    Ben - Editor
    August 12th, 2009 @00:11 #
     
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    Tributes pour in for GW:

    http://is.gd/2cnq5

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  • <a href="http://taniavanschalkwyk.book.co.za" rel="nofollow">Tania</a>
    Tania
    August 12th, 2009 @09:12 #
     
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    I met Guy when he joined the Litblitz crew as an MC and organiser and so much more. He truly was a wonderful man-- irreverent and witty in the best of ways and so kind. He had style and could pull off a cravatte-- no mean feat. My deepest condolences to all his family and friends.

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  • <a href="http://henriettaroseinnes.book.co.za" rel="nofollow">Henrietta</a>
    Henrietta
    August 12th, 2009 @10:40 #
     
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    I am very sorry to hear this news. I had only a few conversations with Guy, but they were long and intense ones; I'd hoped to have more. My condolences to all who were close to him.

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  • <a href="http://www.brainwavez.org/" rel="nofollow">Mandy J Watson</a>
    Mandy J Watson
    August 12th, 2009 @14:16 #
     
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    My condolences to Guy's family and friends. He was one of my communications lecturers in college many years ago. His lectures were always very interesting (and I think they may have contributed that spark that got me thinking about magazine journalism and writing) but it was only years later that I realised how lucky I had been to have had him as a lecturer.

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  • Ben - Editor
    Ben - Editor
    August 13th, 2009 @12:57 #
     
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    Shaun de Waal has just posted the Mail & Guardian's obituary:

    [Willoughby] adapted South African literature for radio, including Jane Rosenthal’s novel Uncertain Consolations and Douglas Blackburn’s 1908 novel Leaven. His critical work included a study of Oscar Wilde, Art and Christhood -- Wilde being an ongoing source of inspiration to Willoughby. He also wrote the novel Archangels, a “queer romance” published in 2002, which (along with his former wife Fianoula Dowling’s debut novel) provided many readers with the enjoyable puzzle of identifying key figures in Capetonian literary circles.

    http://www.mg.co.za/article/2009-08-13-guy-willoughby-a-man-of-letters-dies

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  • Ben - Editor
    Ben - Editor
    August 15th, 2009 @22:00 #
     
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    Guy's memorial service is tomorrow, Sunday 16 August, on UCT's Hiddingh Campus at 2:30pm.

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  • Ben - Editor
    Ben - Editor
    August 16th, 2009 @15:40 #
     
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    Here's Maureen Isaacson's piece on Willoughby, published in the 16 Aug Sunday Independent

    I corresponded with Dowling by e-mail about Willoughby's death. She said Willoughby had known of his positive status for five years but had kept it to himself for fear of stigma and had, in his last days, been greatly relieved that he was not judged but greatly loved by the people in his life.

    He had apparently not tolerated antiretrovirals and had stopped taking them after three years.

    Dowling wrote to me that "Guy had tremendous presence; he was always original, often inspired, and the best possible company.

    "He left it to other people to change lightbulbs and nappies while he did more fascinating things like speaking off-the-cuff to a charmed audience, quoting chunks of Oscar Wilde from memory, performing hilarious skits and send-ups, or delivering an acutely insightful analysis of current political events.

    "After all, there are enough of us who know how to change nappies and lightbulbs, and all too few wits and intellects."

    http://is.gd/2jD1E

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  • Ben - Editor
    Ben - Editor
    October 14th, 2009 @14:31 #
     
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    I've just got word that there will be a radio tribute to Guy Willoughby this coming Sunday, 18 Oct, at 2.30pm on SAFM.

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