Desmond Varaday

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(b. 03/10/1913 – d. Middelburg, 05/09/1995). Wildlife conservationist, actor.

Although he acted in a number of films, Desmond Emil Varaday’s first love was wildlife. Initially he was the game warden of a private reserve in what was then the Bechuanaland Protectorate, but subsequently he set up the Loskop Dam Cheetah Sanctuary, where he housed and protected many animals. When, in 1990, he was unable to look after them any longer, his cheetahs were taken over by Johann and Lente Roode, who had just established the Hoedspruit Endangered Species Centre in Mpumalanga. His lifelong love for cheetahs is described in his book entitled “Gara-Yaka: the story of a cheetah” (1964), which was translated into several languages.

His short film career started in 1959, when he played the villain in Elmo de Witt’s Satanskoraal. This was followed by Hans en die Rooinek (uncredited) (Jamie Uys/1961), The Hellions (uncredited) (Ken Annakin/1961), Gevaarlike Spel (Al Debbo/1962), Lord Oom Piet (uncredited) (Jamie Uys/1962), Piet My Niggie (Jan Perold/1964) and 40 Days (Franz Marx/1979). He also wrote a novel entitled "Dove of Ishtar: the Story of Semiramis" (1967). His second wife was Mary Jane Weimar and the American-based editor Brian Varaday is his son. (FO)


Le Roux, André I. & Fourie, Lilla – Filmverlede: geskiedenis van die Suid-Afrikaanse speelfilm

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