Vale: Camilla Ah Kin

Venerated stage and screen actor Camilla Ah Kin, best known for Here Come the Habibs, Going Home, and Holding the Man has died.

Venerated stage and screen actor Camilla Ah Kin, best known for Here Come the Habibs, Going Home, and Holding the Man has died, aged 58.

She passed away in Sydney on Friday night after a lengthy battle with illness.

Ah Kin was a performer for more than 30 years, having graduated from the WA Academy of Performing Arts in 1989.

Her TV roles included matriarch Mariam on Nine comedy Here Come the Habibs in 2016 -17, a role she initially turned down, sight unseen.

She told TV Tonight, “I kind of went ‘Nah, probably not.’ But then I asked for scripts, which is always my first port of call. So I read the first 2 episodes, and also Jungle were co-producers and I was a big fan of The Moodys.

“I hadn’t read roles that required a Lebanese background like this one, ever. I’ve turned down my fair share of stories that I feel like I have already told, with Middle Eastern backgrounds that start to become repetitive.”

She was also one of the regular train passengers on the ground-breaking SBS series Going Home in 2000, written, shot, edited and aired in a single day across 130 episodes.

Her other credits included Halifax FP, Blue Heelers, Murder Call, All Saints, Stupid Stupid Man, Rake, Dictor Doctor, Fighting Season, Wakefield and Holding the Man.

She performed with Bell Shakespeare, The Stables, Sydney Theatre Company, Belvoir, Melbourne Theatre Company, WA Theatre Company (Black Swan), Ensemble Theatre, and Griffin. An activist within the industry for 30 years, she was awarded a MEAA Gold Honour Badge earlier this year.

“During her career in the performing arts, she was a a director, teacher, mentor, panellist, policy innovator and a highly-skilled actor, much admired by her peers,” MEAA said in a social media post.

“Camilla served variously as an NSW Branch committee member, long term Equity delegate to Federal Council and NPC member, on staff as NSW Equity organiser for several years, and latterly, a member of our Board. With kindness and tough love, she held her #MEAAequity family accountable. RIP.”

“When I graduated I was told ‘You’re going to be doing the ethnic roles.’ I don’t know whether that was a good or bad thing, but it did mean you become a specialist,” she told TV Tonight.

“Whole series have gone by me because of my ethnicity.

“Or I would have to wait for refugee stories, but it does mean they end up being the broken ones, the sad ones, because that’s where we are with that story.

“But the Habibs was warm-hearted and funny and with enough politics to hold my interest…. and it was in a commercial arena.

“So it is a wonderful contrast.”

3 Responses

  1. I am devastated to read this. I worked with Camilla in the early 00’s and she was not only the consummate professional, but also a warm and giving human being. This is tragic. My deepest condolences to her loved ones. Camilla, your grace and presence will be missed. 🙁

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