Theatre community in mourning following passing of acting great Volier Johnson

Tributes have been pouring in for actor Volier ‘Maffie’ Johnson who passed away on Friday (July 9).

The talented stage and screen actor is believed to have died from complications related to a heart attack, with reports suggesting that he complained about pains in his chest before being rushed to hospital after collapsing.

Fellow veteran actor Deon Silvera is among those expressing sadness at his passing and related that she has lost a dear friend.

“He’s a genuine friend, him just share the craft, make you hear about anything a gwaan, him never selfish he gave of his everything to theatre” she told BUZZ indicating Volier’s death has hit home.

“We were close, Volier’s death really impactful,” she added.

She went on to relate that the last time she spoke to Johnson was on Thursday where she had sought to invite him to a “surprise” birthday party that someone is throwing for her on Saturday (July 10) and he had promised to come through and dance up a storm.

“Volier was top of the list and he was invited and just say yea man mi a come and mi ago dance off mi foot” she disclosed through tears.

She however went on to describe the god parent to her boys as a husband extrodinaire and a great father to his family.

“Him do everything for the youth dem, him first marriage him have four children and others with his second wife. He’s just great, a father extrodinaire and a great provider” she added.

The pair had a sterling working relationship which saw them playing opposite to each other on a number of occasions. They most recently played husband and wife in the Dahlia Harris production ‘Ring Games’ and acted in the same capacity in some of her other projects.

For Gracias Thompson he was a guiding hand for fellow actors using his experience and skill.

“I’ve worked with Volier several times and one of the wonderful things about him is how he would guide the actors that he worked with and he always had this uncanny ability to make the whole backstage environment so relaxed and fun” she told BUZZ.

She noted that she worked with him on a number of productions to include ‘Big Tree Small Axe’ where they were co-actors and worked with him in other capacities and believes that theatre has lost a great. “I’m really shocked and I’m going to miss him and he’s left a void and I don’t know if he can possibly be replaced’ she further highlighted. 

The Jamaica Film and Television Association in a statement remarked on Saturday “today the (Jamaican) creative community and many more are gutted by yesterday’s death of actor Volier Johnson. For over 50 years he gifted us with performances on stage and on screen.

He often gave us laughter, and always gave us heart; leaving a creative legacy and fond memories.RIP Sir”.
Volier Johnson more popularly known by his stage name ‘Maffy’ is a giant in Jamaican theatre. He was a part of the Jamaica Pantomime collective and had leading roles in a number of the major local stage productions. 
He acted in a number of productions to include his big break, ‘The Harder They Come’ in 1972. He also featured in ‘Better Mus Come’, ‘Power Play’ ‘Room For Rent’, Toy Boy’ ‘Breadfruit Kingdom’, ‘Children Children’ amongst others.

Johnson is also known for working with some of the best in the industry to include fellow veterans Oliver Samuels, Leonie Forbes, Angella Jarrett, Deon Silvera, Fae Ellington and others.

In 1996, the talented actor copped the top prize in acting locally when he won the Actor Boy Award for Best Actor and in 2013, Johnson was awarded the Order of Distinction for his contributions to the creative industry.