Tributes have poured in for legendary theatre veteran Alvon Collison, who died of a heart attack at his Milnerton home on Friday.
Alvon, who received a lifetime-achievement award at the Fleur du Cap Theatre Awards in 2018, would have celebrated his 80th birthday in April.
His partner, Faried Swartz, said Alvon had been on dialysis and had suffered with severe back and shoulder pain. On Friday, he had gone for dialysis treatment and had had a strawberry milkshake afterwards.
“On Friday night, I wanted to take the dogs for a walk, but he asked me to stay with him,” said Mr Swartz.
Alvon died in bed at around 6.30pm.
He and Mr Swartz moved to Milnerton in 2003. Before that they lived in Oranjezicht for 10 years.
“We were together for 27 years. I don’t know what I am going to do without him. I haven’t had the courage to read all the tributes on his Facebook page,” said Mr Swatz.
Alvon had been feeling down because he could not perform due to Covid-19 restrictions, he said.
“For almost a year, he could not perform, and that really got him down. Being on stage was the best boost for him.”
Alvon is the grandson of the well-known community worker Christine Revell, who cared for young, unwed mothers. The Christine Revell Children’s Home in Athlone was named in her honour.
Alvon’s career spanned five decades. He played Pharaoh in the acclaimed theatre production, Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, and he was also well-known for his Valentine’s Day and Mother’s Day performances.
He was a popular regular on the Baxter’s senior-citizen programme, Morning Melodies, from 2000 to 2010.
In 2016, he was honoured with a Naledi Lifetime Achievement Award.
In 1991, he survived the sinking of the MTS Oceanos cruise ship that went down off Coffee Bay. He was part of the entertainment crew aboard the ship.
Mr Swartz said New York, New York was one of the songs that Alvon had most enjoyed performing.
“He also loved to perform Wind Beneath My Wings. It’s one of the songs he sang best,” he said.
Tributes for the cabaret king have poured in on Facebook.
Jazzmo Snyders, from Prophets of Da City, described Alvon as “a great entertainer”.
Baxter Theatre marketing manager Fahiem Stellenboom wrote: “The lights have dimmed on yet another South African theatre legend, Mr Showbiz, Mr Entertainer, Alvon Collison. It feels like the end of an era in entertainment and musical theatre. His passion and love for life and his craft will live on. Alvon was such a generous and spirited entertainer, giving so much of himself to his audience because he was a mensch. A caring, compassionate human being who lived and loved to entertain people and bring happiness. He lived by the motto ‘the show must go on’. Discovering and developing new talent and creating opportunities for these artists were fundamental to him.”
Arrangements are yet to be made for Alvon’s funeral. Mr Swartz said it would most likely be a private cremation.
Apart from Mr Swartz, Alvon is also survived by his sister, Novla, and her four children.