Monday was a devastating day for this country’s entertainment industry after it lost another stalwart, Clifford Learmond.
“I got the news about 4 o’clock yesterday and I was numb,” actress Penelope Spencer said.
“It was a very sad day for me yesterday, the first thing I do this morning was wake up and cry,” actress and comedienne Nikki Crosby said.
Learmond, an actor, with approximately 30 years’ experience died in Florida. He moved to the United States in 2016 to recover from bypass surgery.
He struggled with several illnesses over the years.
“Just to hear it, I couldn’t accept it,” Spencer said.
Two weeks ago Learmond, 54, posted on his social media that he was being discharged from the hospital after contracting COVID-19.
Calypsonian Myron Bruce shared one of his last videos on his social media page Calypso Nite. Bruce wrote, “You brought joy to many and your contribution will never be forgotten…Fly high my friend and all the best on your next assignment.”
Bruce told Guardian Media Learmond was a true friend.
In the video, the veteran comedian was in a hospital bed getting ready to be discharged. He told his well-wishers that he was still very weak but he kicked COVID-19.
He told his well-wishers that one day he would like to hug each of them individually.
“It may sound like a miracle but you know what, anything is possible,” he said.
This is how Spencer will remember her colleague and friend Learmond. She said even as he dealt with his own challenges he remained a selfless person.
But he was also a professional on the stage. Spencer said no task was too much for him.
“He was such a committed actor you know Clifford has no qualms about wearing a dress and a wig he was real secure about his masculinity … he would do anything to make people laugh,” she said.
Other than Spencer, Bruce and Crosby, Learmond appeared in several productions alongside Errol Fabien, Richard Ragoobarsingh, Raymond Choo Kong and many others.
He was also a radio personality and one Facebook user said his show on 102.1 FM got him through some dark days.
Crosby remembered a play where Ragoobarsingh and herself played psychiatrists and Learmond was given the task to send them crazy. According to Crosby, he did that successfully.
“He was the perfect person for the role,” she laughed.
She was set to meet up with him when she settled in Florida but didn’t get the chance.
“I just wish we had a lil more time, a lil more time with him he really passed too young, he had so much more laughter to share,” she said.
Crosby said life is short, a sentiment Spencer agreed with and said if she had one more last chance to tell him anything she would tell how proud she was of him.
“I want to tell him in whoever lives he touched he made a mark and go and release and relax we will take care of things as much as we can here,” she said.
And to help Learmond do just that, Spencer asked everyone in the fraternity to light a candle on Tuesday night to guide his path.
Local actors and entertainers plan on staging a special event in Learmond’s honour in the near future.