Dr P. Ramlee PSM, AMN
(22 March 1929
–29 May 1973
) was a Malaysian
singer, and songwriter
. Due to his contributions in the movie and music industry, as well as in the literary scene, he is often attributed as the icon of Malay entertainment in both Malaysia
as well as Singapore
Ramlee was born Teuku Zakaria bin Teuku Nyak Puteh
to Teuku Nyak Puteh bin Teuku Karim and Che' Mah Hussein at his grandmother's house (now opened as P. Ramlee House
) in Counter Hall (now renamed as Jalan P. Ramlee), Penang
, Malaysia. His father Teuku Nyak Puteh was a sailor from Lhokseumawe
in the province of Aceh
As a child, he studied in several schools, including the famous Penang Free School. During his school days he was very active in sports, especially sepak takraw, badminton, and football.
He was married three times, the last to the singer Salmah Ismail (or popularly known as Saloma) in 1961.
P.Ramlee's big break came on 1 June 1948
when he was spotted by Tamil film director
B. S. Rajhans. The director was impressed by Ramlee, and in 1949 he was cast in the film Nasib (Fate)
. Seven years later, Ramlee directed his first film Penarik Becha (The Trishaw Man)
. In 1957, Ramlee would act in the first of his Bujang Lapok (Dowdy Bachelors)
comedic films that he acted along S. Shamsuddin
along with Aziz Sattar
, which are still popular among the modern Malay film watchers.
During his career he directed and acted in sixty-six films, and had more than 360 songs to his credit. Among his films that received awards are:
- Best Musical Score for Hang Tuah — Third Asian Film Festival, Hong Kong (1956)
- Best Male Actor for Anak-ku Sazali (My son, Sazali) — Fourth Asian Film Festival, Tokyo (1957)
- Best Comedy Film for Nujum Pak Belalang (The Fortune Teller) — Seventh Asian Film Festival, Tokyo (1960)
- Most Versatile Talent for Ibu Mertua Ku (My Mother In-law) — Tenth Asian Film Festival, Tokyo (1963)
- Best Comedy Film for Madu Tiga (Three Wives) — Eleventh Asian Film Festival, Taipei (1964)
His final film was Laksamana Do Re Mi on 1972 and last songs and lyrics was Ayer Mata Di Kuala Lumpur on 1973 before his death.
On 29 May 1973
P.Ramlee died at the age of 44 due to heart problems and was buried in Jalan Ampang Muslim Cemetery
, Kuala Lumpur
. In 1986, in honour of his contributions to the Malaysian entertainment industry, the P. Ramlee Memorial
was set up in Setapak
, Kuala Lumpur
. In 1982, Jalan Parry in the KL city centre has been renamed Jalan P. Ramlee in his honor. He was posthumously awarded with the Malaysian honorific title Tan Sri
in the early 1990s.