Ruby de Mel

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Ruby Jasmine de Mel (4 December 1917 – 8 November 2004) was a popular Sri Lankan actress. She often played bullying motherly characters.

De Mel was born in Moratuwa to an Anglicized Sinhala family and attended Princess of Wales' College, Moratuwa and Newstead Girls College, Negombo. She was an announcer for Radio Ceylon at its inception.[1]

de Mel broke into acting with a role in the theatrical play Handahana directed by T. B. Ilangaratne. This performance drew the attention of leading playwright and filmmaker B. A. W. Jayamanne who asked her to play a part in his film Mathabedaya (1955) to be shot in India. Under the pretense of a vacation with friends (due to disapproval by her family), de Mel travelled to India and made her film debut in the film under the alias Vinodha Rasanjali. She reverted to her real name after her first few films.[1]

de Mel would go on to appear in such films as Perakadoru Baana (1955), Daiva Vipakaya (1956), Suraya, Siriyalatha, Surasena (1957), Kawata Andare, Nalangana (1960), Kala Kala De Pala Pala De, Chandali (1964), Handapana (1965), Magul Poruwa (1967), Bicycle Hora (1968), Hari Maga (1969), Penawa Neda (1970), Ihatha Athmaya (1972), Aparadaya Saha Danduwama, Sinawai Inawai (1973), Bambaru Awith (1978), Thana Giravi (1983), Mangala Thagga, Kawuluwa and Obatai Priye Adare (1987).[1] She was also one of the Sri Lankan actors picked to appear in the villager scene in Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom (1984) alongside D. R. Nanayakkara, Denawaka Hamine, Iranganie Serasinghe, Jessica Wickremasinghe, Oswald Jayasinghe and Dharmadasa Kuruppu.

de Mel branched out as a director in 1967 with Pipene Kumudu which featured the maiden role of actress Sumana Amarasinghe. de Mel made her way into television in the 1980s with roles in the television serials Pinmada Puthun, Rankahawunu and Amba Yahaluwo.[1]

Later on in her life, de Mel donated her house in Moratuwa to function as a center for handicapped children and moved to the St. Andrew’s Home for Elders at Rajagiriya. She died on November 8, 2004.[1]

Partial filmography[edit]

  • Mathabhedaya (1955)
  • Daiva Vipakaya (1956)
  • Hadisi Vivahaya (1959)
  • Kavata Andare (1960)
  • Mangalika (1963)
  • Handapana (1965)
  • Landaka Mahima (1965) - Mother
  • Kapatikama (1966)
  • Pipena Kumudu (1967)
  • Magul Poruwa (1967)
  • Thewatha (1970)
  • Kathuru Muwath (1971)
  • Ihatha Aathmaya (1972)
  • Aparadhaya Saha Danduwama (1973)
  • Mangala (1976)
  • Hithuwoth Hithuwamai (1977)
  • Bambaru Avith (1977) - Helen's mother
  • Ran Ethana (1981)
  • Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom (1984) - Village Woman
  • Mangala Thegga (1988) - Boarding Mistress
  • Keli Madala (1991)


  1. ^ a b c d e Uvais, Ramesh (November 8, 2005). "Remembering Sinhala Cinema's Ruby". Daily Mirror. 

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