James Bartlett, best known for his roles as TV villains Mike O’Reilly in SABC3’s Isidingo, David Genaro in e.tv’s Rhythm City, has died. He was 55. Bartlett was born in Maidenhead, England, in 1966 to a South African mother and a British father.
Prior to his role in Rhythm City, Bartlett was a well-known and multi-faceted South African actor. In 2007, he began playing David Genaro. He was the first person to speak in scene 1 of the South African television series Isidingo as the character Mike O’Riley. He appeared on the set of Isidingo alongside Hlomla Dandala, who played Derek Nyathi.
In 1997, Bartlett appeared in The Sexy Girls, an action MNET TV movie. The gang-movie genre depicted the realities of gangster life in Cape Town.
Bartlett also appeared as a guest star in the South African-Canadian television series Jozi-H, a hospital drama set in Johannesburg, South Africa. He also appeared on SA’s Got Talent as a judge alongside Shadow Twala and DJ Fresh. Bartlett’s film career began with American films, including the 1987 action sequel picture American Ninja 2 and the 1993 American Ninja 5 in which he co-starred with Michael Dudikoff and Steve James.
Bartlett was formerly married to Camilla Waldman, best known for her part in the Generations serial opera. The couple had a son, Hector, before divorcing. In a career spanning more than three decades, the star was one of South Africa’s most beloved actors, having won three coveted SA Film and Television Awards.