The voice of an award-winning thespian was silenced by complications of the coronavirus, at his home in Tampa, Florida mere days after he shared a link to his popular podcast to his adoring audience, faithful listeners in the diaspora.
Ron Bobb-Semple died on Jan. 12, leaving a gaping wound in the hearts of many. He was 70.
There was an outpouring of sadness for Bobb-Semple, a Guyanese-American, whose portrayal of the great Jamaican hero, Marcus Garvey brought audiences to their feet, and who played the role as Grandpa Nigel, in the hugely popular Spike Lee movie “See You Yesterday,” directed by Guyanese heritage, Stephon Bristol, who expressed sadness at the passing of the singer, TV personality and stage performer.
Courtney Noel, who starred alongside, Bobb-Semple, in the same movie, said Wow- this is a tough one Tangerine. I was on my way home last night planning a phone call with him to discuss a part I wrote Specifically for him for an upcoming film project of mine. A part he had already accepted, and I was thinking how blessed I had been to meet him and observe him in action on the set of Stefon Bristol’s “See you yesterday.” Ron was a towering presence on film and in life and illuminated every scene he was in with his incredible talent and love for the craft.
“We didn’t share screen time but just having him on set encouraged me and gave me — a first-time actor — the confidence I needed to play my small part. Rest in peace my brother. Thanks for the wonderful, memories! Waak good,” said Noel.
“We kept in touch almost daily with postings we liked and disliked and had our own opinions especially musical content. I will surely miss you brother Ron.
“Gone but will never ever going to be forgotten,” said Noel.
Musician Reggie Paul said, “I still can’t come to grips with this. Condolences to friends and family.
“My true buddy, brother from another mother and a true confidant,” he added.
“I am stunned. Speechless. Ron is the very last person of whom I would have expected this devastating news. This is an immeasurable loss to Guyana and the Caribbean, to the world of international theater, broadcasting, the performing and interpretive arts. Ron was a treasured colleague, brother and friend. To his family we extend our deepest, sincerest sympathy on terrible, irreparable loss,” said Hugh Hamilton, a former Guyana Broadcasting Corporation, announcer, who also starred in movies, “Temptations of a Marriage,” “Counselor” and “Truth.”
“This can’t be! Brother Ron Bobb-Semple was the picture of life itself with his beaming smile and ready wit. An incredibly talented brother whose generosity and humility were as much a part of his persona as his love for the arts, particularly drama. The Guyana constellation has lost a bright star.”
“My condolences to the Bobb-Semple family and to his legion of friends and followers who were blessed by his gifts. Rest in eternal peace Ron. Asante Sana were the words of friend, Patrick Stephens, said of Bobb-Semple, who was the executive producer of Claudron Productions, which had launched a new anti-drug play ‘Don’t Ruin Your Life’ for young people 12 to 18 years old.”
Bobb-Semple, who just before his death, had launched a successful podcast, that featured prominent, international artist, began his long and varied career at the Theatre Guild Playhouse of Guyana in Georgetown, with colleague Rudolph Shaw, who said, “I actually sent him a communication yesterday not knowing he was gone. Great friend and fellow thespian.”
“RIP Ron, my teenage years neighbor from Norton street, said Winslow Padmore, while, Hazel Woolford, noted, “Ron had agreed to participate in the GIHR June 2022 Conference. What a shock!
Rudy Jadopat, exclaimed, Omg! Sincere condolences to the Family. Ron Bobb, I have lost a Dear Friend and Colleague, Original, Creative Actor, Dramatist. R.I.P. Ron.”
“What a loss! The stalwarts are going home. Ron will be sorely missed. My sincere condolences to his family and friends,” said Deborah Rosanwo.
While saying, goodbye to “an amazing influencer Ron Bobb-Semple, Patricia Jordan-Langford reminded that the play that Ron produced and acted in on Roosevelt Island, NY some years ago, was “Standpipe” a Derrick John Jeffrey 1970 play to raise funds for an Indonesian Orphanage. “Rest in Beautiful and Everlasting Peace,” she said.
In a tribute, playwright and author, Derrick John Jeffrey, wrote, in the memory of my clock, time froze on a long, hot forgotten day in a city built to keep the Atlantic out and the cane fields in. From bachelor to father grand, and stamina drawn from loved ones gone, his sense of humor gushed out from the pores on his skin. With stamina drawn from loved ones long gone, leaving the art of storytelling and an incalculable style that could never be copied.”
Ron-Bobb, as he was fondly called, has left an indelible mark on this world. His robust laughter, engaging personality, and fortuitous talent, are memories, Guyanese, and many around the world will cherish forever.
Bobb-Semple’s wife, Cicely, sister Yvette, relatives, friends, and scores of colleagues, are left to mourn his untimely death.
RIP brother Ron.