Actor Countryman is dead

BY RICHARD JOHNSON Observer senior reporter

Monday, September 19, 2016

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Edwin "Countryman Lothan, star of the 1982 film Countryman, is dead.

The fisherman-turned-actor passed away at home in Hellshire, St Catherine, on Sunday. He was 70.

Countryman became a household name following the release of the cult classic of the same name, written and directed by Dickie Jobson and produced by Chris Blackwell.

Jobson, who died last year, said in an interview he first met Countryman in the 1970s when he was a fisherman living on the beach in Hellshire — a beach which was only accessible by boat. He remarked he was struck by his incredible sense of humour and wisdom.

"This was just after The Harder They Come. Perry Henzell first used him in a film he was making. He was incredibly photogenic. We used to go at night and watch Perry edit this movie, when he suggested that I write a movie and make him the star," Jobson is quoted as saying.

Countryman’s intelligence also remained with Rolling Stone magazine writer Michael Thomas.

"Met Countryman and thought he was a star. Countryman seemed this exceptional character. This was a guy who was equally an athlete, a deep thinker and a Rasta and seemed to be what everybody thought Jamaica was for, [these] were all wrapped up in Countryman."

His engaging personality is also what Henzell’s widow, Sally, remembers about Countryman.

"We met Country in the early ‘70s. In those days, there was no road to Hellshire... you could go a certain distance then there was a gully. You had to take a boat to get to this incredible beach. It was there that we met this extraordinary man," she told the Jamaica Observer.

"We were drawn to him instantly. He was so amazing, one of the most intelligent men I have ever met. He came across so well and yet he had no formal education. His language was like that of a poet. He could discuss a wide range of topics and talked with deep meaning about things such as politics, religion and spirituality. He was deep and so unique. We were very lucky to have met him," Henzell continued.

Countryman was cast in Perry Henzell’s second film No Place Like Home. This film is still unreleased, but his widow said plans are afoot to premiere that movie later this year.

Countryman is survived by two children John and Indiria.

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