Monday, December 15, 2008

In memoriam: Sayan Doksadao

Sayan Doksadao Muangcharoen (สายัณห์ ดอกสะเดา ม่วงเจริญ), a comedian and actor with Down syndrome, has died.

A popular comic character actor in Thai TV series, variety shows and films, Sayan was reputed to be one of the world's few working actors with Down syndrome.

Sayan, whose real name was Sayan Muangcharoen, was admitted to Rangsit Hospital in Pathum Thani in October after suffering from a severe brain hemorrhage. He was later transferred to Chulalongkorn Hospital, where he was pronounced dead of cerebral meningitis at 6:08pm on Sunday (December 14, 2008).

Sayan was featured in several films, including Woak Wak, The Groan, Rohng tiam , Ghost Variety, Headless Hero 2 and The Holy Man.

He and his adoptive father and comic partner Der Doksadao (Somjai Sukjai), were at the center of a controversy in 2004 when Der planned to make a political satire movie called Yodchai Nai Oakark (Oakark the Great Guy) about a family closely patterned after that of then-prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra. Sayan was to have played Oakark, the wealthy family's son. Authorities put pressure on Der to halt production on the film. But, after making some changes, the project was greenlighted. However, I don't recall if the movie was ever released in cinemas or broadcast on TV. Maybe it morphed into Woak Wak?

Both Sayan and Der were featured in Yuthlert Sippapak's horror-comedy Buppha Rahtree.

For me, Sayan's best performance was in Mum Jokmok's The Bodyguard, in which he was often portrayed as the slickest, smartest and toughest bad guy in the room. In the movie's closing climactic fight scenes, with the help of a stunt double, Sayan held his own against Mum's no-nonsense bodyguard character, only to be waylaid by a swinging crane.

Sayan was 48. Funeral rites are set for the next seven days at Wat Arun Ratchawararam.

(Via HaPPi like a HiPPo)

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