Tan Sri P. Ramlee (22 March 1929–29 May 1973) was a Malaysian film actor, director 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 and 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. Teuku Zakaria - P Ramlee's birth name. 'Teuku' is a title for descendants of noble families from Aceh of Sumatra, Indonesia. His father Teuku Nyak Puteh was a sailor from Lho' Seumawe in the province of Aceh, Indonesia. 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.
His big break came on 1 June 1948 when he was spotted by Indian film director B. S. Rajhans from Malay Film Productions of Jalan Ampas, Singapore. 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, which are still popular among the modern Malay film watchers.
He was married three times, the last to the legendary singer Salmah Ismail (or Saloma) in 1961. On 27 May 1973 P.Ramlee died at the age of 44 and was buried in Jalan Ampang, 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 and on 1982 Jalan Parry at the city centre has changed into Jalan P Ramlee.
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