'Maas Ran' hailed on 110th birthday
Olivia "Babsy" Grange lays a wreath at the tomb of cultural icon Randolph "Maas Ran" Williams to mark his 110th birthday at National Heroes' Park in Kingston on Wednesday. (Photo: Annmarie Danvers)

A small gathering was on hand at National Heroes' Park in Kingston on Wednesday to mark the 110th birthday of actor and comedian Randolph "Maas Ran" Williams.

Entertainment and Culture Minister Olivia "Babsy" Grange hailed Maas Ran for his contribution to Jamaica's arts and culture.

"Ranny Williams is undoubtedly one of Jamaica's most outstanding persons in arts and culture. Ranny Williams, along with Louise Bennett, became a household name. Those of the older generation can recall Miss Lou and Maas Ran and the laughter and joy they brought to many Jamaicans who watched their performances and listened to them on the radio, here at home and abroad. It is most fitting for us to pay tribute to him on this, the 110th anniversary of his birth so that this generation will know of this talented gentleman, a pioneer of Jamaican comedy and show respect and honour to his memory," said Grange, who also has the portfolios of gender and sports.

"I was truly happy and impressed with the large number of students from several schools in the Corporate Area and the theatre fraternity who came out today to share in this tribute. Ranny Williams' contribution to Jamaica's art and culture is of iconic proportion," she continued.

Grade three students of the Seaward Primary and Infant School in Kingston, along with teachers Sara Prendergast (left) and Carol Gordon-Marshall, lay tribute at the resting place of cultural icon Ranny "Maas Ran" Williams in National Heroes' Park in Kingston on Wednesday. (Photo: Annemarie Danvers)

Born in Panama to Jamaican parents, Williams' talents as an actor, comedian and dancer were undeniable. He is most famous for his partnership with fellow famed folklorist and cultural icon Louise Bennett Coverley, better known as Miss Lou. Together the duo created and were the central figures in a radio serial, The Lou and Ranny Show, which was recorded live at the Carib cinemas. They were also pivotal to the 'Jamaicanisation' of the National Pantomime. Williams' work would span radio, television, stage and screen. He appeared in 29 pantomimes and appeared in seven films including A High Wind in Jamaica and The Marijuana Affair.

Williams died on August 11, 1980, while Miss Lou passed away in July 26, 2006.

Williams was conferred with the Order of Distinction (Commander Class) for outstanding services in the field of entertainment in 1976.

Brian Bonitto

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