Tribute to a Visionary Virtuoso


John Lee Joo-for: Born Penang , Malaysia, August 25, 1929; Died Melbourne, Australia, June 11, 2017.

John Lee Joo-for, one of the greatest acts in post-Independence Malaysian art and Australian Biblical stage theatre, has died. He breathed his last on June 11 in his Melbourne home after an intense two-month battle with cancer. He was 88.

He is survived by his five children, all professionals – son Jude, and daughters Francesca, Geraldine, Jeanette and Micheline.

Sharp and suave with a brilliant intellectual conceit, Joo-for lit up the visual art, theatre and literary scenes with his mock-bejewelled Oriento-Byzantine art fusion (after the mosaics of St Mark’s in Venice, Italy) in the latter half of 1960s at the same time of the incendiary fervour of Lati Mohidin’s Pago-Pago series, while also sidewinding into theatre with a prolific razzmatazz of more than 30 plays aired (RTM Playhouse on Sunday afternoons) and staged in Malaysia, Australia and New York.

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