Marcel van Heerden

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Marcel van Heerden (1952-) is a South African actor on stage, television, film and radio. Son of Stellenbosch director and actress Marie van Heerden, brother of Johann van Heerden. Started his drama studies at the University of Stellenbosch Drama Department, then moved to the University of Cape Town Drama Department, where he continued his studies under Robert Mohr and Mavis Taylor, qualifying with a Bilingual Performers Diploma in Speech and Drama in 1975.Went on to become one of the first Afrikaans actors to work consistently in the anti-apartheid theatre such as The Space and The Market Theatre, as well as film and television.

(Short biography in Die Burger, 29 January 2016 - translated from Afrikaans): Marcel van Heerden has been working in the entertainment industry since the seventies, mainly as film actor as well as on television and on the stage. His films include Mapantsula, The Flyer, White Wedding, Durban Poison, Long Walk to Freedom, Pad na Jou Hart and currently 'n Pawpaw vir my Darling. On television Marcel is known, amongst other productions, for Konings, Onder Draai die Duiwel Rond and The Outcast. He is also a well-known voice artist and dubbing director. His short film Vryslag, which he wrote and directed, was chosen as the best short film at 2015’s Silwerskermfees (Silver Screen Festival in Cape Town). In 2013 Vryslag, as a radio drama, won the Sanlam-RSG radio playwriting competition. Marcel has a son, Vincent (23), with the singer Juliana Venter. Marcel and Juliana started the performance group Mud Ensemble in the nineties. (Murray la Vita)

Stage roles

Among his notable stage roles were Gilgamesh, Dance Is and Tooth of Crime at The Space, Stephen Gray’s adaptation of Herman Charles Bosman’s Cold Stone Jug, Maishe Maponya’s ****, *****at the Market Theatre, *** at the Baxter Theatre **. Performed in 'n Man Met Vakansie (with PACT directed by Francois Swart), Antigone (with PACT directed by Jannie Gildenhuys), Marat/Sade (at the Market directed by Barney Simon), Mother Courage and in Equus.

Monsieur Loyal in Die Huigelaar (TRUK, 1986).

He starred in Barney Simon’s production of Cincinatti – Scenes from City Life together with Vanessa Cooke, Danny Keogh, Lesley Nott, Barrie Shah, Thoko Ntshinga, Bo Petersen, Sam Williams and Robin Smith for The Company at The Market Theatre, Upstairs at the Market, the Baxter and the Brooke in 1979. Starred in the Baxter Theatre production of Seer in the Suburbs, the English translation of P.G. du PlessisSiener in die Suburbs together with Trudie Taljaard, Bo Petersen and Dale Cutts at the Academy in 1981.

Outers programme notes in 1985(***): 'Gained a Performers Diploma from UCT and was involved in several productions at The Space before moving moving to Johannesburg . He appeared in Twaalfde Nag, 'n Man met Vakansie and Antigone for PACT. His numerous television appearances include A Dream in a Wood of Ghosts, A Circle of Sun, The Stairway, Night Ride, The Villagers, Sebastiaan Senior, Takkie se Wêreld, Call me Kelly and Ben Brandt. He has been seen at the Market Theatre in The Company's productions of Marat/Sade, Mother Courage, Equus, East, Cold Stone Jug and Cincinatti as a member of the original cast who , with Barney Simon, created the test.'

Starred as Morris in The Blood Knot by Athol Fugard, directed by Barney Simon for PACT in 1988, opposite John Kani in the role of Zachariah.

Film roles

His roles in local and international feature films include: Hooper in Savage Encounter (1980), Dial in The Outcast (1984), Jock in 'n Wêreld sonder Grense (1987), Hussein in Hostage (1987), Lann in Steel Dawn (1987)[1], Stander in Mapantsula (1988)[2], Jobman (1990), Hendrik Erasmus in The Fourth Reich (1990), Salvo in Night of the Cyclone (1991), John the Baptist in The Visual Bible: Matthew (1993), Trooper Stone in Trigger Fast (1994), Johnnie in Jump the Gun (1997), Freddie in Husk (short film shown at Cannes Film Festival, 1999), Toyota Owner in Hijack Stories (2000), Deek in Glory Glory (2002), Piet in A Case of Murder (2004), September in Max and Mona (2004), Chris Hummell in Red Dust (2004) [3], Anders in The Flyer (2005), Kogla in Beauty and the Beast (2005), Hennie in Everyman's Taxi (2009), Oudolf in Hond se Dinges (2009), Mr. Fanie van Zyl in White Wedding (2009), Die Prokureur (the attorney) in Molly en Wors, die Movie (2013), Tango du Toit in 'n Pawpaw vir my Darling (2015).

Television roles

His roles in South African television drama include [4]: Van Vuurentjie/Sarel van Vuuren in Koöperasiestories (TV1, 1983 and KykNet, 2015), Stoffel in Konings (TV1, 1992), Ricky Vermelho in Torings (TV1, 1994), Basie de Wet in Onder Draai die Duiwel Rond (SABC1, 1997-2012), Daniel in Yizo Yizo (SABC1, 1999), Valken in Arsenaal (SABC2, 2002 and KykNet, 2007 and SABC3, 2011), Gabriël in Gabriël (SABC2, 2005), Swys van Wyk in Amalia (KykNet, 2005 & 2006 and SABC2, 2010), Marius in 90 Plein Street (SABC2, 2011), Wynand in Donkerland (KykNet, 2013), Spike Swanepoel in Sterlopers (KykNet, 2014), Adam Shore in Thola (SABC2, 2014), Col. van Rensburg in When We Were Black (SABC1, 2014), Chris du Plooy in Suidooster (KykNet, 2015), Jan in Die Boekklub (KykNet, 2016).


In 2013 he won the RSG and Sanlam radio playwriting competition with his debut radio drama Vryslag. He wrote a screenplay based on the radio drama and directed the short film, also called Vryslag - it was chosen as the best short film at 2015’s Silwerskermfees (Silver Screen Festival in Cape Town).


Tucker, 1997

Outers programme notes in 1985(***).

SACD 1977/78

Correspondence with Johann van Heerden, 28 September 2013.

Netwerk 24 [5], January 2016.

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