Leonie Forbes, a well-known actress, presenter, and producer, died on October 25 at the age of 85. In a tweet, Prime Minister Andrew Holness said that Forbes’ name, along with Jamaican theater and TV, is associated with Jamaica. According to the tweet,
“She was always an exquisite, polite lady with a voice that demanded respect and adoration.” We convey our gratitude to Leonie for her contributions to Jamaican arts and culture, as well as our heartfelt regret at her departure.”
Leonie has been featured in a number of local films as well as TV series such as Z-Cars, The Odd Man, The Public Eye, and others.
Leonie Forbes was appointed an Officer of the Order of Distinction for her distinguished career and contributions.
Forbes was born on June 14, 1937, in Kingston, Jamaica. She attended Kingston Senior School, Excelsior College, and Durham College of Commerce. Following her education, she worked as a typewriter at the University of the West Indies. She subsequently went to work for writer Barry Reckord, typing his works. In 1959, she began working as a radio broadcaster for the Jamaica Broadcasting Corporation and received a scholarship at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art in England.
Forbes spent six years at RADA studying radio, television, and stage methods. She has also worked as a writer for BBC Caribbean and has starred in programs such as Z-Cars, The Odd Man, Public Eye, and Hugh and I. In 1962, she made her stage debut as a major character in Lloyd Reckord’s Busha Bluebeard. Leonie returned to Jamaica in 1966 and continued to work with the JBC. She stayed in Australia from 1968 to 1970 since her spouse worked at the University of Queensland at the time. She also performed in a couple of radio plays for the Australian Broadcasting Corporation and taught theater part-time.
In 1972, she was appointed as the head of the JBC’s FM station, Radio Two, and in 1976, she was elevated to director of radio broadcasting. Leonie later featured in a number of local plays and films, as well as international productions such as Milk and Honey, The Orchid House, and Soul Survivor. In 1980, she was appointed an Officer of the Order of Distinction. Leonie: Her Autobiography, Forbes’ autobiography, was published in August 2012. She told The Sunday Gleaner at the time that she loved helping people smile and forget their problems, and that it was a sequence of fortunate coincidences that brought her to her job. She continued,
“It was rather different. For starters, we are now compensated. We did it entirely out of love and interest back then.”
Leonie said that things have changed since there are more performance places, shows run longer, and individuals can now travel and demonstrate their abilities.
On Twitter, users pay homage to Leoni Forbes.
Many others paid homage to the late actress and presenter on Twitter, with many reminiscing about their meetings with her. Leonie Forbes is survived by her husband, Dr. Keith Amiel, as well as her four children and extended relatives.
Jamaican legendary actress “Leoni Forbes” has died at the age of 85.@republicofmobay https://t.co/I5Bgwe1aF3
— REPUBLIC OF MOBAY (@REPUBLICOFMOBAY) October 26, 2022
RIP( Rest In Power) To Leoni Forbes https://t.co/z49XCaN7nM via @YouTube
— milesgoodisonfearon (@mgferadicator) October 28, 2022