Deshabandu Tony Ranasinghe (31 July 1937 – 16 June 2015) was a veteran actor in cinema, teledrama and stage drama in Sri Lanka.
He is known as the Lover of the 70s in Sri Lankan cinema due to the many popular films in which he acted. He was mostly restricted to innocent main role which is full of glamour and feelings. He died on 16 June 2015 at a public hospital in Colombo at the age of 77. According to critics, he is the last Crowned king in Sri Lankan cinema to die after Gamini Fonseka and Joe Abeywickrama.
He has acted in 115 films, in 43 of which he was the leading actor and in 72 of which he played a supporting role. He also contributed as a script writer in two films.
Early life and career
Ranasinghe Hettiarachchilage Ignatius Anthony Silva, who later became popular as Tony Ranasinghe, was born July 31, 1937 in Modara. He studied at St. Anthony’s College, Wattala, and De LaSalle College, Modera. Ranasinghe began his career in theatre with a role in Ran Thodu in 1963, which won him the Governor General’s Award for Best Stage Actor. This award was presented by minister T. B. Ilangaratne. Ranasinghe made his film debut with Lester James Peries’ Gamperaliya (1964) and followed it with Ran Salu. He worked with Peries again on Delovak Athara, in which he had the starring role.
Ranasinghe was awarded the Best Supporting Actor Sarasaviya Award in 1966 for his role in Parasathu Mal. Subsequently he won Best Actor Awards for Hanthane Kathawa (1969), Duhulu Malak (1976) and Ahasin Polawata (1979). In 1980 he played the father of the protagonist in Ganga Addara. 1993’s Saptha Kanya won him Best Actor Awards from Sarasaviya, Swarna Sanka, Presidential and OCIC. Ranasinghe has dabbled in screenplay writing, winning Sarasaviya Awards for Koti Waligaya, Keli Mandala, Awaragira (1995) and Pavuru Walalu. Ranasinghe was honoured the Deshabandu award, third highest national honour awarded in Sri Lanka in 1988.