Gemini Ganesan passes away CHENNAI, DHNS: Veteran Tamil film star Gemini Ganesan, who lived up to his image as a king of romance both on and off screen and donned some memorable roles during a career that spanned over five decades, died at his residence here in the early hours of Tuesday, his family said. Ganesan, who had acted in over 200 films, including some in Hindi, Telugu, Malayalam and Kannada, was 84 and is survived by seven daughters and a son, among them popular Hindi film star Rekha, born to his second wife Pushpavalli. The actor, who had been ailing since November last year, breathed his last at 1.10 am. 1920 - 2005 Tamil cinema bids adieu to ‘King of Romance’ In his career spanning nearly four decades, Ganesan acted in over 200 films in Tamil, Telugu and Malayalam. He had also featured in a popular TV serial. FROM S MURARI DH NEWS SERVICE CHENNAI: In a world dominated by the two pillars of Tamil cinema, Sivaji Ganesan and M G Ramachandran for nearly four decades, Gemini Ganesan carved a niche for himself. But while he co-starred with Sivaji in a few films, including the silver jubilee hit Pasamalar, he never acted with MGR. Hailing from an orthodox Brahmin family, Ganesan was one of the few graduates to join the world of cinema in those days. After working as a lecturer in the Madras Christian College, he joined the Gemini Studios as a production executive in 1947. Born Ramaswami Ganesan, he came to be known as Gemini Ganesan after his foray into films. Though he acted in minor roles in a few films, it took him six years to become a hero at age 30, when AVM Productions signed him on for Penn and Kanavane Kan Kanda Deivam, the films that gained him star status. A Padma Shree recipient in 1971, Ganesan had also won other awards like ‘Kalaimamani’, ‘MGR Gold Medal’ and ‘Screen Life Time Achievement Award’. A romantic by nature, that earned him the epithet ‘Kadal Mannan’ (King of romance), Gemini not only enacted soft roles, but also dealt with heavy subjects that had his own touch, yet rarely melodramatic. In his heydays between 1950 and 1970, Ganesan acted in several box-office hits and was paired with top heroines such as Savithri, whom he later married, Saroja Devi, Vyjayanthi Mala, ‘Sowcar’ Janaki and Devika. Prominent among his super-hit films are Missiamma, Vanjikottai Valiban, Kalyana Parisu, Meenda Sorgam, Konjum Salangai and Sumai Thangi. With director K Balachandar, he acted in memorable films like Punnagai (remake of Hrishikesh Mukherjee’s Satyakam), Kaviya Talaivi (remake of Hrishikesh’s Mamta), Iru Kodugal and Unnal Mudiyum Thambi. Among his recent films was Avvai Shanmughi (adapted from Mrs Doubtfire) in which he co-starred with Kamal Haasan. Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J Jayalalitha and DMK president M Karunanidhi, who have had long associations with the film world, were among the prominent personalities who called at the late actor’s residence to pay homage. Actor Kamal Hassan, whose maiden film as child artiste was Kalathur Kannamma in which Gemini and Savithri played lead roles, comedians Nagesh and Manorama and veteran directors K Balachandar and Bharati Raja also paid tributes. As per Jayalalitha’s instructions, Gemini was cremated with full police honours at the Besant Nagar electric crematorium. However, his daughter Bollywood actress Rekha could not attend the funeral as she was away in Kulu-Manali on prior film commitments.