Kochi: Veteran Malayalam actor and former member of Parliament Innocent passed away at a private hospital in Kochi on Sunday. He was 75.
The actor, a cancer survivor was reportedly not keeping well for some time and was admitted to the hospital on March 3 with respiratory problems. He passed away at 10:30 pm on Sunday night, the VPS Lakeshore Hospital in Kochi said in a statement. He is survived by his wife Alice, and a son, Sonnet.
The hospital said that the non-functioning of many organs and a heart attack led to the actor's death.
A few years ago, the thespian had been diagnosed with cancer but in 2015 he announced that he was finally free of the disease. He had written about his battle with cancer in his book 'Laughter in the Cancer Ward'.
The actor, who was last seen in Prithviraj Sukumaran's 2022 film 'Kaduva', has done over 700 films in Malayalam in a career that spanned over five decades. He had also served as president of the Association of Malayalam Movie Artists (AMMA) for 12 consecutive years.
Considered one of the best comedians in Malayalam cinema, Innocent also appeared in villainous roles. With his unique voice and mannerisms, he had endeared himself to countless cinema lovers as well as a toast of mimicry artists.
A former MP from the Chalakudy Lok Sabha constituency Innocent represented CPI(M).
In 1979, he was elected as the municipal councillor of Irinjalakkuda municipality.
He won the 2014 Lok Sabha elections from Chalakudy Lok Sabha constituency as an independent candidate supported by the Left Democratic Front (LDF). Innocent served as the president of the Association of Malayalam Movie Artists (AMMA), a guild of Malayalam artists from 2003 to 2018. He has written books based on his memories and columns in magazines and newspapers.
Born in Inrinjalakuda in 1948, Innocent entered the film industry in 1972 with the movie 'Nrityashala' starring Prem Nazir and Jayabharathi.
He played comedy roles in 'Ramji Rao Speaking', 'Mannar Mathai Speaking', 'Kilukkam', 'Godfather', 'Vietnam Colony', 'Nadodikattu', 'Manichitrathazhu' and 'Kalyanaraman' among others.
Innocent has also excelled in character and villain roles such as 'Keli', 'Kathodu Kathoram'. Other films included 'Kabooliwaala', 'Gajakesariyogam', 'Mithunam', 'Mazhavilkavadi', 'Manassinakkare', 'Thuruppugulan', 'Rasathanthram', 'Naran' and 'Mahasamudram'.
His effort, along with that of the superstars who starred in these films, played an important role in their success. 2020 is the only year he didn't appear in any films due to Cancer treatment since 1980.