James Alexander passes on

By CityLIfe Arts Writer

One of the most admire playwrights James Alexander has passed on. The actor died on April 28, 2023.

“It is with profound sadness that the family of James Alexander can confirm his passing on 28 April 2023. James was diagnosed with head and neck cancer in January 2019, he would undergo numerous operations and treatments. He fought bravely and with integrity,” said the family in a statement.

James was born on the 8th of January 1978 in Boksburg to Scottish immigrant parents and grew up in Pretoria. He met his wife, Anel, in 2000 whilst doing an amateur musical play at the State Theatre. James and Anel started their production company Scramble Productions named after the very first play they wrote and performed together. While living and working in Johannesburg they were leaders in the independent film industry in South Africa; with films such as ‘Discreet’, box office hit ‘Semi-Soet’ and the internationally acclaimed ’Sink’. 

James believed in the power of storytelling and worked tirelessly to hone his skills as an actor and voice artist. During his prolific career and the last five years living and working in Los Angeles, he shared the screen with Keanu Reeves, Benedict Cumberbatch, Claire Danes, Daniel Radcliffe and the like, while locally he will be remembered for some of the highlights of his work on Binnelanders, The Wild and Trackers. As a voice artist James won several Cannes Lion awards and vividly brought to life his characters in films and stage productions like Bash and Doubt. 

James will be remembered for making friendship a fine art, for his hilarious sense of humour and contagious laugh, for his commitment to his family and his unfailing faith. All who had the pleasure to know James and were immeasurably touched by him, would agree with Anel, ‘James was a unicorn… one of a kind, the very best human I have ever known.’ 

James always took his work seriously even if he didn’t always take himself seriously. He became a passionate SAGA (South African Guild of Actors) member at its inception and advocated for actors rights and fair treatment for the profession. In lieu of flowers, James and Anel have asked for any donations to go to SAGA, please email secretary@saguildofactors.co.za for details.

The family would like to thank the Sungardens Hospice in Pretoria where all the staff,  volunteer doctors and nurses supported James through the last weeks with unfailing kindness. Donations in memory of James welcome. www.sungardens.org.za

James is survived by his wife Anel, parents Elsie and Jim and sister Claire. He will be greatly missed. 

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