Eddie Jayamanne

Wanniaarachchige Don David Victor Jayamanne (15 February 1915–25 July 1981), popularly known as Eddie Jayamanne was a popular Sri Lankan comedian and actor of early Sri Lankan cinema.

Hailing from a Christian family in Negombo, Eddie with his brother B. A. W. Jayamanne formed the Minerva theater troupe in the 1930s. They successfully ran plays in which naive Ceylonese characters would ape Western ways to comical results merging South Indian theatre with Western drama. Eddie, a frequent star of these comedies, became a popular theater actor in the years leading up to the development of Sri Lankan cinema. Eddie married fellow Minerva troup player Rukmani Devi after falling in love through their involvement in the same plays. Devi’s parents challenged their engagement in court but they were allowed to go through with their marriage.

In 1947, South Indian producer S. M. Nayagam became interested in producing a Sri Lankan film. He contacted B. A. W. Jayamanne and secured the rights to one of his plays called Kadawunu Poronduwa. Eddie would be one of the stars in this film adaption in the village simpleton role of Manappuwa alongside Jemini Kantha as Josi Baba. As the first film to feature Sinhalese dialogue, the film found approval with audiences and was a huge success.

The Jayamanne brothers followed the success of the film with several other play adaptions i.e. Hadisi Vinishchaya (1949), Sengawunu Pilithura (1951) and Umathu Wishwasaya (1952). Mabel Blythe joined the cast with Hadisi Vinishchaya. In 1953 the brothers adapted a book into film for the first time in Sri Lankan cinema (Kele Handa). Their subsequent films include Iranganie (1954), Matha Bedhaya (1955), Perakadoru Bena (1955), Daiwa Wipaakaya (1956), Vanaliya (1958), Kawata Andare (1960) and Mangalika (1963).

Eddie’s work not related to his brother’s productions include playing a musician in Sandesaya (1960) and the brother of a village simpleton who discovers a jewel and becomes rich in Kolomba Sanniya (1976). He reprised his role as Manappuwa in a remake of Kadawunu Poronduwa released in 1982.

Facebook Comments

Related posts

Anusha Damayanthi


Suresh Joachim


Sangeetha Weeraratne


Leave a Comment