South African Michael Mayer began a long career as a voice artist when asked, along with Adrian Egan, to do some children's programmes for radio. Shortly afterwards, in 1964, Michael joined Springbok Radio as a continuity announcer. Before long, he was doubling as a disc jockey, hosting two popular music programmes, By Special Request and the Springbok Radio Popway Show. Michael went on to appear in acting roles, notably in Gary Diamond, playing the lead in the series, which he also wrote. He also played a regular role in Address Unknown as agent Mike Shadow and portrayed Terry Summerfield in So Short A Time.

Despite his South African upbringing, Michael often played American roles on radio. He carried this talent over on to the big screen in Gold Squad, premiered in Johannesburg in 1971. He featured in The Avengers at Sonovision Studios in its earliest days, and is seen (above) at a January 1972 Avengers recording session with Hugh Rouse, who narrated the programmes.

For eight years in the Seventies, he and Darryl Jooste had South African listeners in stitches with the subversive, madcap comedy shows Take a Chance and Take Another Chance, which the pair wrote and starred in.

Michael Mayer's long experience in commercial radio led to him become an internationally acclaimed voice artist. He worked extensively in the United States, Great Britain and South Africa, his voice frequently being heard on radio and television commercials and in drama. He was also employed as narrator in a great many video productions and audio-visual presentations.

When Michael passed away suddenly at 68 in January 2012, Donald Monat had this to say in tribute: "Michael was an extraordinarily talented voice artist who worked extensively in South Africa - and, for a few years, very successfully in Britain and the US. His range was prodigious with a flawless repertoire of African, British, American and other European and Asian accents. He made his living mainly in commercials, but he was also a fine character actor and appeared in several films and stage plays. My wife June and I first met him when he was a very young broadcaster working as a DJ on music programmes and discovered his unique vocal talents. He starred in many of our radio comedy series in the Seventies and Eighties, including Son Of Livingstone, The Bloodhounds and Stop The Tape - I Want to Get Off! He will be greatly missed by all who knew him well."

by Alan Hayes with thanks to Michael Mayer, Frans Erasmus and Donald Monat


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