Kala Keerthi Sembuge Gamini Shelton Fonseka (Sinhala:සෙම්බුගේ ගාමිණි ශෙල්ටන් ෆොන්සේකා) (21 March 1936 - 30 September 2004 as ගාමිණී ෆොන්සේකා), was a Sri Lankan film actor, film director and politician. Often considered as the Greatest Actor in the Sinhala Cinema, Fonseka dominated the cinema in 1960s and 1970s to bagged Best Actor award in multiple times. Apart from acting, he was the Deputy Speaker of Sri Lanka Parliament from 1989 to 1994 and Governor of the North-Eastern Province from 1995 to 1998.
|3rd Governor of North Eastern Province|
13 January 1995 – 20 October 1998
|Preceded by||Lionel Fernando|
|Succeeded by||Asoka Jayawardena|
|Deputy Speaker of the Parliament of Sri Lanka|
9 March 1989 – 24 June 1994
|Preceded by||Norman Waidyaratne|
|Succeeded by||Anil Moonesinghe|
|Member of Parliament|
for Matara District
9 March 1989 – 24 June 1994
|Majority||19,618 Preferential Votes|
Sembuge Gamini Shelton Fonseka
21 March 1936
Dehiwala, Sri Lanka
|Died||30 September 2004 (aged 68)|
Ja-Ela, Sri Lanka
|Political party||United National Party|
|Spouse(s)||Dorothy Margaret Valancia (m. 1962)|
|Education||S. Thomas' College, Mount Lavinia|
|Occupation||Actor, film director, politician|
|Known for||Crowned king of Sri Lankan cinema|
Fonseka was born on 21 March 1936 in Dehiwela the third child of William and Daisy Fonseka. Starting school at a Presbyterian institution, he moved on to S. Thomas' College, Mount Lavinia. As a youngster, he gained repute for imitating administrative figures at school. Foneska also prospered in the study of the Sinhala language and literature (under the guidance of D. S. Jayasekera, who is also reputed to have introduced him to acting in stage plays) and placed in the upper fourth for a Sinhala literature prize. The award for this achievement was presented to him by S. Thomas' graduate and Sri Lankan Prime Minister D. S. Senanayake. Foneska was also an accomplished cricket player.
Fonseka was married to his longtime girlfriend Dorothy Margaret Valencia also known as "Tina" in 1962 and had four children Chamila, Thanuja, Dammith and Ishara. Many years later he also fathered Kaushalya and Poornima. He remained married to Tina until his death in September 2004.
He was married to Angela Senaviratna
His son Damith was a popular film actor in 1990s. He acted in many commercially successful films such as Chandi Rejina, Ira Handa Illa, Chandiyage Putha, Cheriyo Darling, and Raththaran Malli.
Fonseka abruptly ended his secondary education and dove into the film industry. He originally wanted to be a cameraman and in this line worked as the second Assistant Director on David Lean's Bridge on the River Kwai and Lester James Peries's Rekava (1956). Fonseka was first on-screen in Rekava as part of a crowd. He also did some work on an English television series filmed in Sri Lanka.
Fonseka's first credited acting role was in Daiwa Yogaya (1959) in which he played a small role. Lester James Peries Sandesaya (1960) first established him in a leading role. With films like Adata Wediya Heta Hondai, Ranmuthu Duwa, Getawarayo, and Dheevarayo Fonseka achieved popularity and became a box-office draw.
Seeking to not play just commercial roles, Fonseka appeared as Jinadasa in the groundbreaking Gamperaliya (1964) working again with Peries. In Titus Thotawatte's Chandiya, Fonseka played the first anti-hero role in Sri Lankan cinema and in Mike Wilson's Sorungeth Soru (1968), he played the role of Jamis Banda, the Sinhala James Bond. In 1964 at the first awards ceremony of the United Ceylon Fan Club held on 12 January at the Royal College Hall, Colombo, Gamini won the Best Actor award in 1963 for his role as Jinadasa in the film 'Gamperaliya'. This was Gamini's first award.
Fonseka also tried out directing many accolades. His debut directorial work Parasathu Mal was warmly received. He directed a political satire Sagarayak Meda. The other films that were directed by him include Koti Waligaya and Nomiyana Minissu. He entered television as well and became the best teledrama actor for the role he played in Kalu Saha Sudu.
Fonseka's role as Willie Abeynayake in Nidhanaya (1970) and as ASP Wicrema Randeniya in "Welikathara" are considered his crowning achievement. Both films have been recognised with Presidential awards among the 10 best Sri Lankan film. In 1980 Fonseka played Jaffna Tamil clerk Nadarajah in Sunil Ariyaratne's Sarungale. He has also has written some songs for the movies Sarungale (1979) and Mayurige Kathawa (1980).
In 1989, Fonseka entered politics after he joined the United National Party. He was elected to Parliament in 1989 as a representative of the Matara District with the highest number of preferential votes and was appointed Deputy Speaker of Parliament of Sri Lanka. He was later appointed by President Chandrika Kumaratunga as Governor of the former North-East Province.
|1965||Sarasaviya Best Actor Award||Deewarayo|
|1966||Popular Actor (Swarna Sanka)||–|
|1967||Sarasaviya Best Actor Award||Parasathu Mal|
|1967||Sarasaviya Most Popular Actor Award||–|
|1968||Sarasaviya Best Actor Award||Sorungeth Soru|
|1968||Sarasaviya Most Popular Actor Award||–|
|1969||Sarasaviya Most Popular Actor Award||–|
|1972||Popular Actor (Deepashika Award)||–|
|1976||Popular Actor||Kasthuri Suwanda (Sarasaviya Peoples Award)|
(He rejected this award)
|1980||Sarasaviya Best Actor Award||Sarungale (The Best Lyricist award is being awarded to Prof. Sunil Ariyaratne |
for the song "Bambarindu" by mistake. But he corrected it and handed it over to Gamini Fonseka)
|1980||Sarasaviya Most Popular Actor Award||–|
|1981||Sarasaviya Best Actor Award||Uthumaneni|
|1981||Sarasaviya Most Popular Actor Award||–|
|1982||Sarasaviya Best Director Award||Sagarayak Mada|
|1982||Sarasaviya Most Popular Actor Award||–|
|1986||Sarasaviya Best Actor Award||Yuganthaya|
|1986||Sarasawiya Rana Thisara Award||–|
|1986||Best Actor (President Awards)||Yuganthaya|
|1995||Sarasaviya Best Actor Award||Nomiyena Minisun|
|1997||U.W Sumathipala Commemorating Award||–|
He has directed 10 films across many genre.
- Parasathu Mal (1966) 
- Uthumaneni (1980) 
- Mayurige Kathawa (1980)
- Sagarayak Mada (1981)
- Ra Manamali (1981)
- Sakwithi Suwaya (1982)
- Koti Waligaya (1986)
- Nomiyena Minisun (1994)
- Anthima Reya (1998)
Until his death, Fonseka acted on 108 films, where 86 of them as lead actor and 19 more as a supporting actor. He directed 10 films and produced 2 films.
As film producerEdit
|1967||Sorungeth Soru||Mike Wilson|
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- "D. S. Jayasekera – the consummate educator The Chief Editor, Sunday Observer 6th August 2006". tyretracks.com. Retrieved 6 August 2012.
- "Tributes to cinema legend Gamini flow in". BBC News. 30 September 2004.
- "Nation says goodbye to silver screen hero". BBC News. 3 October 2004.
- "Sinhala film legend Gamini dies". BBC News. 30 September 2004.
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- "It's 16 years". Hiru FM. Retrieved 5 May 2019.
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- "Sagarayak Meda". www.imdb.com.
- Kumara, Nuwan Nayanajith. ගාමිණි – විශ්වීය රූපණවේදයක ආසියානු පුරෝගාමියා. Sarasa Publishing Private Limited. p. 295. ISBN 955-8811-61-0.
- "Sinhala Cinema Wanshakathaawa" by "A. D. Nuwan Nayanajith Kumara"
- "All about "Parasathu Mal"". sarasaviya. Retrieved 23 January 2021.
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- "Gamini Fonseka filmography". Sarasaviya. Retrieved 20 October 2017.
- "All about the film Ranmuthu Duwa". Sarasaviya. Retrieved 14 February 2020.
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- "All about the film "Adata Wadiya Heta Hondai"". sarasaviya. Retrieved 12 January 2021.
- "All about "Chandiya"". Sarasaviya. Retrieved 4 April 2021.
- "All about the film "Satha Panaha"". Sarasaviya. Retrieved 4 January 2020.
- "All about Seegiri Kashyapa". Sarasaviya. Retrieved 3 March 2020.
- "The western sky fades to red paintings". Sarasaviya. Retrieved 23 January 2021.
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- "Hadata Wadata Hari Soorayo: Hathara Denama Soorayo film". Sarasaviya. Retrieved 10 January 2021.
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- "All about Senakeliya". Sarasaviya. Retrieved 3 May 2020.
- "All about Awa Soya Adare". Sarasaviya. Retrieved 3 May 2020.
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- "All about Nilla Soya". Sarasaviya. Retrieved 3 March 2020.
- "All about Yakadaya". Sarasaviya. Retrieved 22 February 2020.
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- "All about Sarungale". Sarasaviya. Retrieved 29 February 2020.
- "All about the film "Mal Kekulu"". sarasaviya. Retrieved 18 January 2021.
- "All about Sathyagrahanaya". Sarasaviya. Retrieved 28 February 2017.
- "'Demodara Palama' in memory of Gamini". Sunday Times. Retrieved 10 December 2019.
- "Loku Duwa appears on Rupavahini". Sunday Times. Retrieved 8 December 2019.
- Gamini Fonseka at IMDb
- Official Website – Gamini Fonseka Foundation
- Official Website – National Film Corporation of Sri Lanka
- Gamini Fonseka: A Man of the Troops
- Gamini's Film History in Sinhala
- ගාමිණී 13 යි
- දැවැන්ත වෘක්ෂයේ සෙවණ ලැබූ අපේ සිනමාවේ සරුඵල