Thursday, May 6, 2010


Ashley Callie (1976 – 2008) was a South African actress best known for her role as Leone Haines in Isidingo (from 2000 to 2008). Callie died on 15 February, 2008, as a result of head injuries from a head-on car collision in Johannesburg, South Africa on 8 February, 2008.

Ashley Callie was born in Johannesburg. She went to St Mary's school, and later received a BA Honors degree in dramatic arts from the University of the Witwatersrand. Callie began her career with a role in the SABC TV production, Homeland, directed by Neil Sundstrom. Thereafter, she starred in a number of series, including Natural Rhythm and Uninvited Guest. She also spent time in Cape Town, South Africa, where she starred in a number of commercials for the local South African market as well as the overseas markets.

On 15 March, 2007, Callie told Lynne Gidis of Top Billing magazine that playing the role of Lee Haines on Isidingo had been a life long ambition; she had been a fan of the South African soap opera since it first aired in 1998. In her interview, she explained how she disliked the fame that came with her celebrity, and how her family was an extremely important part of her life. She also explained why her character, Lee Haines, was not at all like her.[6] During that year, she appeared on the cover of Top Billing.[7]

Also in 2007, she played a role in a movie in Holland; it was originally to be called Surprise; however, the title was changed later to Mafrika[8] and then the producers promised to dedicate the film to Callie's memory.[9] In addition to her role in Isidingo (which she held from 2000 until her death in 2008), Callie was co-owner of La Vista social club, in Melville, Gauteng (Johannesburg); but she sold her shares in 2007.

In 2006, for her role in Isidingo, she won the South African Film and Television Awards (SAFTA) for Best Actress. The award took place on 28 October, 2006, at Gallagher Estate in Johannesburg, South Africa. [3][10] On 29 February, 2008, Callie won the Mzansi Star Actress award at the inaugural Stars of Mzansi awards ceremony, held at the South African State Theatre in Johannesburg. The award was accepted on her behalf by Robert Whitehead (who plays Barker Haines in Isidingo), and Steven Miyambo (who plays Orlando).

After her death, South African Minister of Arts and Culture, Dr Zweledinga Pallo Jordan called Callie the image of the new South Africa: "We were truly blessed to have a young, gifted, South African," he said, " who stretched all the sinews in her body to reflect the ideals of a united, non-racial and non-sexist society... the ministry is deeply shocked and saddened."[13]
The tunnel in Emmarentia, Johannesburg, where the accident took place

On 8 February, 2008, Callie was on her way home from the Pirelli Calendar launch in Hyde Park, when her Smart Car collided with a red Renault on the corner of 4th Avenue and Tana road (in Linden), at around 22:30 SAST.

She was immediately rushed to the Johannesburg General Hospital, where she underwent surgery to alleviate pressure on her brain. Four days later, her sister, Lauren Callie, told the media that Callie was said to be in a stable condition in hospital. Callie then died in hospital shortly thereafter, due to complications from her injuries.
A portrait of Ashley Callie at her memorial service
[edit] Memorial service

Callie's memorial service was held on 21 February, 2008, at the Johannesburg Country Club.[] At the service, people described Callie as both radiant and charming, and that the ceremony itself was a celebration of her life. "We are not going to beat our breasts or don sack cloths and ashes," said Kate Turkington, a close family friend and master of ceremonies, speaking at the service, "We are here to celebrate Ashley's life, and what a life it was."


Callie's character, Lee Haines, continued to be portrayed on screen from February to March 2008 since Endemol, the company behind the production, still had unaired footage of the actress; however, the character was eventually written out when she disappeared after learning of her mother's death, and then mysteriously died, while away, although it was not revealed how.

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