Jamie Bartlett

South Africans are lost for words after e.tv announced the passing of well-established actor and former Rhythm City lead, Jamie Bartlett.

He was 55. His cause of death is unknown. 

The English-born South African actor was best known for his roles as villain David Genaro in the e.tv soapie Rhythm City and the dodgy Mike O’Reilly in the SABC3 soapie Isidingo.

The award-winning actor was also a judge on the reality competition show, SA’s Got Talent.

Formerly married to acting coach Camilla Walman, the two stars – now divorced – have one child, Hector.

He left Rhythm City towards the end of 2019 after his character David Genaro was written out of the show. He made his final appearance on 5 February, 2020 when Genaro was shot.

After playing the role of David Genaro for almost 13 years, Jamie shared in a previous interview with Drum why he decided to leave the well-loved role and how he will go down as one of the meanest men in Mzansi soapies who relentlessly terrorised his rivals without so much as a thought to the devastation.

“I’ve been playing David for a long time – I’m not saying he’s easy, but my God, we have explored every part of him,” he said.

“I know what he smells like, I know how much wax he has in his ears. It had come to an end. I thoroughly enjoyed his first death, 10 years ago,” Jamie added.

Leaving the soapie after 13 years wasn’t easy.

“I needed to sit down and have a look in the mirror,” he said.

“Do I spend more time with Mom in Cape Town? Do I teach and travel more between here, London [where he’s originally from] and Cape Town? Do I open myself up to more acting and how many British movies do I want to do, or do I want to be in Cape Town?”

But he wasn’t done acting when he passed.

“I’m not done with acting – not by a long shot,” Jamie said. “I think I’m ready to inherit 25 years of something different.”

With years of experience, Jamie believed in sharing his knowledge and hosted a masterclass in acting at The Finishing College, an accredited private college in Bramley, Joburg.

“I teach other actors and corporates confidence – things like being comfortable in your own skin, how to leave an impression on somebody, how to speak with a smile in your voice.

“That’s where I want to be right now.”

Tributes pour in from colleagues, friends and those who enjoyed his acting:

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