Osman Zailani, the first Malay actor to appear in an international TV series, dies at age 85

Local veteran Osman Zailani, 85,  died on Tuesday evening at Khoo Teck Puat Hospital.
Local veteran Osman Zailani, 85, died on Tuesday evening at Khoo Teck Puat Hospital. PHOTO: BERITA HARIAN

SINGAPORE - Veteran Singapore actor Osman Zailani died on Tuesday evening at Khoo Teck Puat Hospital. He was 85.

The actor, whose real name was Mohammad Kechut, was known for playing villainous roles and acted in television dramas including PJ Holdings, a long-running series that aired on Malaysian television in the 1980s.

In 1979, he became the first Malay actor to appear in an international television series, the popular American show Hawaii Five-O. He played a gangster in the episode titled Year Of The Horse, which was set in Singapore. That same year, he also acted in Hollywood film Saint Jack, which was set and filmed here.

In the 1980s, he acted in Malaysian films such as tearjerker Sesejuk Air Mata Ibu (As Cold As A Mother's Tears, 1981) and drama Kami (Us, 1982).

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One of his last roles was as a grandfather in Banting, a 2014 drama comedy that was the first Singapore-made Malay-language feature to be released in a commercial cinema since the 1970s.

According to Berita Harian, Osman leaves behind seven children from two late wives, 15 grandchildren and 13 great-grandchildren.

One of his grandchildren, former singer and Singapore Idol winner Hady Mirza, announced his death on Facebook on Tuesday night.

He did not reveal the cause of death but recent media reports said that the late actor had been bedridden for almost three weeks and was admitted to Khoo Teck Puat Hospital on June 23, two days before Hari Raya