Dirk de Villiers

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Dirk de Villiers (1924-2009) was an actor, playwright, scriptwriter and film-maker.

Sometimes used the psdeudonym Gys de Villiers for some of his one-act plays.


Born Dirk Gysbert de Villiers on the farm Villeria in the Douglas district, went to school in Jagersfontein, Marquard and Bethlehem. He studied engineering in Johannesburg, then worked in the Cape Town docks, before finding his way to London where he took a course in marine engineering. He became a ship’s engineer and worked his way around the world till 1950, when he settled down with his wife Addie. He died on Christmas Day 2009. His son is the actor Gys de Villiers.

While studying in Johannesburg in 1942 he met up with Schalk Theron and joined the Sonop Afrikaner Kring theatre group.

Contribution to SA theatre, film, media and/or performance

His first acting role was in Die Goue Tempel (Schalk Theron), and his first lead was in Aandblom van die Witsenberge (D.F. Malherbe). Other roles include Lennox in the 1950 Afrikaans Macbeth (NTO), *

He wrote a number of one act plays for the amateur theatre, including Ek Wag, Glasie, Ou Grote, Broers, Sand and Die Web). Most of them were written with Anton Prinsloo (De Villiers supplying the theme and storyline while Prinsloo provided the dialogue and stage directions). De villiers wrote some of the plays under his full name of Dirk Gysbert de Villiers (e.g. Broers and Sand), and others as Dirk de Villiers (e.g. Die Web). He also wrote My Broer se Bril, a thriller in three acts in 1969, Poppekas, of Jan Burger en Tryn in 1969 and Die Web in 1969.

The plays were usually written for and performed by the Roodepoort Amateur-toneelorganisasie (RATO), of which he was a founding member in the 1950s.

In 195* he became involved in the film industry, and established himself as one of the giants of the medium. His film and TV credits as writer and director include Jy is my liefling ***,

In 1973 he and Bevil Films were invited by Columbia Pictures to make films for overseas distribution - and possibly for local consumption. The first one The Virgin Goddess was written and directed by him in Natal, and released by Columbia Pictures in 1973-1974.

In 1982, he collaborated with Paul Eilers to produce the television series, King of Diamonds.

For TV he made the highly rated and popular series Arende ("Eagles"), about the Anglo Boer War. It finally turned out to be three series: Arende (1989), Arende II (1992), Arende III (1993).



Showbiz, May 1973.


Tribute written by Karen Hart published in Volksblad, 4 January 2010.



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Email submission by Taryn Tavener-Smith on 8 August 2023.

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