Indonesian filmmaker, literary icon Richard Oh passes away at 62

Richard Oh, an Indonesian director, actor, writer, and literary figure, passed away yesterday evening. He was 62 years old. Photo: Instagram/@richard0h._
Richard Oh, an Indonesian director, actor, writer, and literary figure, passed away yesterday evening. He was 62 years old. Photo: Instagram/@richard0h._

Richard Oh, an Indonesian director, actor, writer, and literary figure, passed away yesterday evening. He was 62 years old.

The news of Richard’s death was confirmed by his family through a short message as well as a number of his close friends including director Joko Anwar on social media since last night. His passing came as a shock as he was just posting a video on his Instagram just hours before.

“Our best friend, our kokoh (older brother) Richard Oh, has left us on Thursday, April 7, 7:30pm. Kokoh, you are greatly missed,” Joko wrote in a tweet.

Richard died at a hospital in BSD, Tangerang. According to reports, Richard will be buried in the South Kalimantan capital of Banjarmasin today.

Richard, who’s also known as Abdurrahman bin Yong Masio after converting to Islam, worked in the advertising industry until deciding to pursue literary full-time in the late 1990s. He had published three books, namely The Pathfinders of Love (1999), Heart of the Night (2000), and The Rainmaker’s Daughter (2004). 

Together with Takeshi Ichiki, Richard co-pioneered the Kusala Sastra Khatulistiwa literary award, previously named Khatulistiwa Literary Award, in 2000, and was one of the people behind Metafora, Jurnal Prosa, and Jakarta Review Book publishers. He also opened a book cafe called Reading Room in South Jakarta’s Kemang in the early 2010s.

Richard’s first foray into films was through Koper (Luggage) in 2006, which wrote and directed. His next film came years later in 2015, Melancholy is a Movement, which starred Joko Anwar as the fictional version of himself. A year later, he wrote, produced, and directed Terpana. In 2019, Richard wrote and produced a film adaptation of Pramoedya Ananta Toer’s novel, Perburuan, as well as Love is a Bird. His last work was Menunggu Bunda (Waiting for Mother), released last year as a KlikFilm original movie.

As an actor, Richard took on various roles in dozens of films since 2008 such as 3 Dara (2015), My Stupid Boss (2016), 27 Steps of May (2018), and the Yowis Ben drama comedy film series from 2018 to 2021, among others.

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