A thanksgiving service was held for veteran broadcaster Leonie Forbes on Friday. Leonie Evadne Forbes, OD was a stalwart in local media and theatre, loved and mourned by many. Many to include those who paid their final respects to the Jamaican icon Friday.
Forbes was born and raised in Kingston, Jamaica. She attended Kingston Senior school before going on to Excelsior College and the Durham College of Commerce. After leaving school, she worked as a typist at the University of the West Indies. Forbes later began working for playwright Barry Reckord, typing his scripts.
She joined the new Jamaica Broadcasting Corporation in 1959 as a Radio Announcer and later won a scholarship to attend the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art in England.
Forbes spent six years at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art studying radio, television, and stage techniques, at the same time working as a writer for BBC Caribbean and appearing in a number of television dramas. Her first appearance in professional theatre came in 1962 when she played in Lloyd Reckord’s Busha Bluebeard.
In 1972, Forbes was appointed head of radio two, the JBC’s FM service. She was elevated to overall Director of Radio Broadcasting in 1976. Forbes continued acting both during and after her time at the JBC.
She appeared in many locally-made plays and films, but also in overseas productions like Milk and Honey, The Orchid House, and Soul Survivor. In 1980, Forbes was made an officer of the Order of Distinction for her work.