Entertainment

'Elva was full of life'

Friends, colleagues remember late comedienne

By Richard Johnson
Observer senior reporter
johnsonr@jamaicaobserver.com

Monday, October 08, 2018

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Comedic nature, laughter and mirth are among the attributes being recalled of comedienne/media personality Elva Ruddock who died at the Kingston Public Hospital on Sunday morning.

Long-time friend, broadcaster and theatre personality Dahlia Harris was clearly shaken when contacted for a comment by the Jamaica Observer.

“It is such a difficult time. Elva was so full of life and about life and, knowing her like I did, she did not want the pity party. So it is difficult to process this without being mournful as she would have wanted. That is why she did not tell a lot of persons she was ill. That was confined to a very close circle of friends and family. I sent her a message last Thursday when I heard she was in hospital. She didn't tell me she had been hospitalised and I just asked 'How are you?' and she replied 'I am great' with a 'bag' a happy face emojis. That's just the kind of person she was. She will be best remembered for the laughter and joy she brought to people. Everybody who has even met her walks away with a story about the way she made them feel... so much joy.”

“I have known Elva for well over 25 years. This is long before either of us ventured onto the stage or became involved in comedy. She and my sister, Gail, were co-workers and she surely became like family. We would all just hang out, sometimes seven days a week. From Cactus night club to karaoke at Carlos Cafe ... we all just had fun with people like Renee Excell and Rodney Campbell,” said Harris.

Ruddock, who is best know for her larger than life personality, was a former columnist with the Jamaica Observer and its defunct evening publication Chat! Her other media exploits included co-host of Fame FM' s Full House Fridaysand co-host of the popular television infomercial for the Bashco stores with Omar Azan.

She tasted commercial theatre a few years ago with a role in Oliver Mair's Dis Ting, and according to people close to her, she decided after that one production that it was not for her. However, comedians Owen “Blacka” Ellis and Christopher “Johnny” Daley facilitated her move into the world of stand-up comedy. She also segued into hosting live events and karaoke.

Actor Volier Johnson, too, recalled her sense of joy and laughter.

“From me hear this morning, mi mash up. Mi just sit down here and her face just a come to me. I knew she was ill but because I was away, I didn't realise that she was so sick. She was such a wonderful person. She tek everything mek laugh. There was never a sad moment with her around. She cyaan stay vex... she was just so great to be around,” he said.

Johnson was one of the co-hosts of Full House Fridays on Fame FM with Ruddock and that experience brought on a rush of great memories.

“O Lord, that was a great experience to be around her. She was the lone female on the panel and so when we were discussing 'man tings,' it was always great to get the female perspective... and what a perspective that would be. Non-stop fun; just wonderful.”

And what is the singular experience he will always remember.

“Her wig dem! She had a wig fi every occasion. She proud a dem and tek care a dem. I will so miss her and we will be talking about Elva for years to come,” said Johnson.

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