……BY BILLY SUTER……
CLIFF Simon, a star of TV’s Egoli for six years and world-famous for his role as Ba’al in five seasons of the hit sci-fi series Stargate SG-1, has died in a kiteboarding accident in California. He was 58.
Long based in the US, the Johannesburg-born star, a South African Air Force veteran who was also noted as an Olympic-qualifying swimmer and a top gymnast and dancer, died on March 8 in Topanga, California.
As a dancer Simon often performed at Durban’s Ruby Tuesday nightclub in the 1980s as part of Denise Britz’s popular dance troupes. He went on to dance and perform acrobatics in shows all over the world and realised a dream by performing at Paris’s legendary Moulin Rouge in 1989.
A fine swimmer, he emigrated with his parents, from South Africa to the UK, in 1975 and qualified for the 1984 Olympics in Los Angeles. However, after three years of intense training, he opted to quit swimming and return to South Africa.
As a popular model Simon won the Mr South Africa title in 1992. This lead to his role as Mitch in Egoli and Simon went on to have his first global TV success in Nash Bridges, alongside Don Johnson, after he and his wife emigrated to America.
Writing on Simon’s Facebook page yesterday, his wife, Collette, said: “It is with unimaginable heartbreak that I am sharing with you, that my beloved husband, Cliff Simon, passed away at 12.30pm on Tuesday March 9. He was at Topanga Beach, California and sadly passed away after a tragic kiteboarding accident.
“He was known to most of you on this page as the villain you loved to hate, Ba’al, from Stargate SG-1. But as he said, ‘acting is what I do, it’s only a part of who I am’.
“And he was SO much more – a true original, an adventurer, a sailor, swimmer, dancer, actor, author. There is a gaping hole where he once stood on this earth. He was loved by too many to mention and had a great impact on so many lives. He was an amazing and much loved brother, uncle, nephew, cousin and friend.”
She added: “He was and always will be the love of my life and there is unimaginable heartbreak.
“A small saving grace to this tragedy is that he was doing one of the things he loved most and passed away on the beach near the water, which was his temple.
“I know this is a shock and will hit hard but we hope you can respect our need for privacy at this time.”