National artist Chalee Intarawichit dies at 98

National artist Chalee Intarawichit dies at 98

Chalee Intaravijit. RIP
Chalee Intaravijit. RIP

Chalee Intaravijit, a national artist and well-known film director, song writer and theatre actor, died at Sirijaj Hospital late on Tuesday night aged 98 years.

Chalee, whose former name was Sa-nga, was born on July 6, 1923 in Samut Sakhon province. He graduated from Amnuaysilp School and the State Railway of Thailand  Vocational School in the first batch.

He wrote nearly 1,000 songs. They included Sadudee Maharaja, Saen Saeb, Tha Chalom, Sao Nakhon Chaisri, Thung Ruang Thong, Mon Rak Dok Kham Tai, Mae Klong, Ruan Phae and Chamloey Rak.

As an actor, he played in many movies, notably Sawan Mued (1958), Jom Jai Wieng Fa (1962) and Ai Fang Ror For Thor (1982).

The many films he directed included Prasartsai (1969), Kiang Kaew (1970) and Sue Kamathep (1971).

Chalee was named national artist in performing art (movie and drama) in 1993. National Artist is a title given annually by the National Cultural Commission, recognising Thai artists in the area of intangible cultural heritage.

He was married to actress Sirinthip Siriwan, who disappeared on Dec 3, 1987 while she was filing the movie E Chu Ku Pa Pa by Kamthorn Thapkhanlai. No trace of her has ever been found.

In memory of his wife, Chalee wrote the song Mua Ther Chak Chan Pai (When she leaves me), using the melody of the song Aubrey by David Gates of the band Bread. The song, in the Thai version, was originally sung by Pornpimol Thammasan and later by Orawee Sajjanond.

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