BY BILLY SUTER
A CELEBRATION of the life of Durban-based funnyman, singer and musician Fernando Lamy, who passed away on September 26, will be held from 5.30pm on Wednesday, October 4, at College Rovers Rugby Club.
The club is at Gate C, Kings Park Stadium, Jacko Jackson Drive, Stamford Hill, Durban.
Lamy, who died after battling a heart condition, was hugely popular from as far back as the 1970s, when he became a member of the band Headline. He went on to achieve even greater success as a strong component of the comedy showbands Glam and Cheers, both crowd-pullers at Durban’s legendary Father’s Moustache at the old Malibu Hotel.
In recent years, he performed regularly all over the country with former Cheers bandmate Colin Sumner, as well as solo.
Anybody that knew and loved him is welcome to attend the memorial at Rovers Rugby Club, says a Facebook message posted by Lamy’s daughter, Daniela.
“As my dad would say: ‘It’s going to be a jol!’ There will be a cash bar available and a few snacks… and let’s not forget a few bottles of Jagermeister. There will also be a musical tribute from Paula Sergio De Barros.
“We all love him, we all miss him… now it’s time to celebrate his life! We can cry, laugh and find comfort in each other,” the message adds.
Top South African comedian John Vlismas labelled Lamy as a legend, and posted on Twitter: “Fernando Lamy, thank you for all the humour and laughter. Go safely… you will be missed.”
Colin Sumner, who worked with Lamy for four years at Father’s Moustache – from 1992 to 1996 – and spent more than 11 years on the road, touring South Africa and neighbouring countries with him, says: “We loved, laughed and cried together. We shared problems, interests, money, music, hotel rooms and sometimes the same bed.
“I could write a book about our life on the road. Some of the situations we found ourselves in were funnier than our stage routine,” he adds on Facebook.
Sumner was with Lamy when the first heart attack happened in the early noughties. The two were doing an outdoor gig somewhere in Pretoria, he recalled.
“It was quite a distance to carry equipment to the stage from where the van was parked. After a couple of trips, Lamy disappeared. When I got back down to the stage area he was lying on a table with his arms in the air.
“I said;: ‘What the fuck’s up with you, lazy bollocks?” (that is how we spoke to each other)’. He said: ‘Pain in my chest that won’t go away.’
“‘There’s some Miprodol in the van,’ I said. ‘Take two of those’
“Despite his pain we did the gig. I told him to go see a doctor as soon as possible. Three days later he had a massive heart attack and had to be resuscitated.
“I visited him in Joburg General. He looked awful, pale and full of bruises. The conversation went like this….
“Me: “Jeez Lam, you look terrible, how are you feeling?”
Lamy: “I feel shit, died on the table… fucking crossed over!”
Me: “Did you see the light?”
Lamy: “I saw fuck all, I was dead.”
Me: “I thought it was a heart attack, the other night at the gig”.
Lamy: “It was. The doctor said the Miprodol saved my life”.
Lamy: “So It’s your fucking fault that I’m still here, you twat!”.
“When we got back on the road we laughed at this conversation so much that it was included into the Cheers stage routine,” adds Sumner.
“He was a very funny man, loved and admired by many, me included. We didn’t always see eye to eye, that is how relationships go… it was like a marriage… but I wouldn’t swap those days for anything. Goodbye Lam. My side cheers!”
Durban publicist Tanya van Agthoven wrote on Facebook” “Fernando was so positive and so kind and, yes, funny, to the end.”
Comedian Kevin Perkins stated: “South Africa has lost a legend in comedy. Too sad for words. Fernando Lamy, you showed us what real comedy was and you were an inspiration to us all.
He added: “I will never forget the good times at Father’s Moustache, when we would spend the whole night doubled over with laughter. Rest in peace my friend – a race well run!”
Durban entertainer Danny Fisher said: “Gone but never to be forgotten. Rest in peace in your saviour’s arms. Deepest condolences to Marisa De Barros Lamy and the family.”
Lamy’s death follows the recent deaths in Durban of theatre stalwart Themi Venturas and seasoned musician Stuart Mey.
Entertainer Richard Loring wrote on Facebook: “As the Mother Abbess in The Sound of Music said: ‘A door shuts. a window opens’. I think Stuart, Themi and Lamy would have believed, in their generosity of spirit and love of the arts, that their legacy will live on in the new generation of talented South African artists.”