Generations and Binnelanders producer dies on Christmas day
George – Shock is reverberating through South Africa's TV industry following the unexpected death ofBinnelanders and Generations producer and director ;Friedrich Stark on Christmas Day, as well as Binnelanders plot outline writer Elsabé Roux.
The cause of death for either person has not been released yet.
Friedrich Stark was 62 and unexpectedly passed away in Cape Town in Christmas Day.
He was married to Elsje Stark and the pair was the South African power couple behind Stark Films. Friedrich started the company in 1985 when he left the SABC. The couple had three sons.
He produced Generations on SABC1 in partnership with MMSV Productions and Binnelanders for kykNET since 2005.
They built and designed their state-of-the-art Stark Studios complex that opened in Fontainebleau, Johannesburg in 2010 where not just the Binnelanders sets are housed and the weekday Afrikaans soap is being filmed, but also several of kykNET's former and ongoing actuality and current affairs shows.
Friedrich Stark - who started out as an actor - had roles in Afrikaans films like Die Voortrekkers (1973), Môre, Môre (1973), Dingetjie is Dynamite (1975), Kiepie en Kandas (1981) and the TV series Net ’n Bietjie Liefde (1977) when television started in South Africa, in a career that spanned decades.
Friedrich was also an executive producer on the Afrikaans sitcom Parys, Parys that was broadcast on kykNET and SABC2, and his company, Stark Films is the name behind several other series like Vlug na Egipte and Terug na Egipte.
Karen Meiring, M-Net director of Afrikaans channels, in a statement called Friedrich Stark "a pioneer in the TV industry". "He was always warm, friendly and generous in sharing his knowledge and experience. It was a privilege to have had him as part of the kykNET channels".
On the Binnelanders website, Mitzi Booysen, head writer and co-producer of Binnelanders said "Friedrick was charming, friendly, funny, generous and very clever".
"When it was necessary, he'd let me laugh at myself and as a person you were always fully aware of his appreciation and support. I'm sure that everyone part of the extended Stark family are in shock about his untimely passing. I know that I'm going to miss him very much, not just as a colleague, but as a friend. RIP, Friedrich".
On the Binnelanders website Frans Kalp, a friend and co-writer said about Elsabé Roux that she was a talented scriptwriter who started her career at the M-Net soap Egoli, and then moved on to write for Villa Rosa,Binnelanders and Generations. "Elsabé will always be in our hearts and will remain beloved by us".
The SABC has not release any statement at the time of writing.
Elsje Stark told Eyewitnessnews (EWN) on Tuesday morning that everybody is in shock following the unexpected death of her husband on Sunday.
Generations in a statement says "Friedrich was an industry pioneer and active leader in the local television production industry and played a prominent role in the Independent Producers Organisation (IPO). He will be remembered for his entrepreneurship, vision and ability to inspire and lead".
On Twitter actress and producer Connie Ferguson said "So, so sad. Praying for strength for the Starks, friends and colleagues."
Actress and radio presenter Phemelo Motene said "he insisted I join the cast of Generations when I had no idea I could act".
Doreen Morris said "shocked to learn of the passing of Friedrich Stark, legend of film & TV. Condolences Elsje, Human, family & friends".
Veteran actress Florence Masebe said "Friedrich Stark had a huge impact on my career as a young actor. I'm finding it hard to process his loss. Condolences to the Stark family".