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