Leelavathi and the late Dr Rajkumar were considered among the best onscreen couples in Kannada cinema
Veteran Kannada actress Leelavathi, who has acted in more than 600 films in Kannada, Telugu and Tamil, passed away on Friday, December 8. Reports say that she was suffering from age-related breathing issues and was admitted to a private hospital in Nelamangala, where she breathed her last. She was 85. Other reports tell us that Leelavathi's last rites will be performed at her estate in Nelamangala. Her mortal remains will be placed for public viewing at her farm house.
Born in Belthangadi, Karnataka, as Leela Kiran, Leelavathi is said to have discovered her love for acting at a very young age. Having begun her journey on the stage, she began her film career in the late 1940s/early 1950s with films like Chanchala Kumari and Naga Kannika before landing her first major in the year 1958, in Subbaiah Naidu's Bhakta Prahlada. She would then go on to share the screen with some of the biggest stars of her generation, including Dr. Rajkumar, Udaykumar and Kalyan Kumar, NT Rama Rao, among others.
Over the career that spanned close to six decades, Leelavathi has acted in more than 600 films in various capacities. Some of her best known credits include Ranadheera Kanteerava, Rani Honnamma, Gejje Pooje, Mana Mecchida Madadi, Vathsalya, Sipayi Ramu, Bhakta Kumbara, Doctor Krishna and others.
Leelavathi was conferred with the Dr Rajkumar Lifetime Achievement Award in the year 2000 by the government of Karnataka and later with an honorary doctorate by the Tumkur University, in 2008. She is survived by her son Vinod Raj, who turned an actor in the year 1987 with Dance Raja Dance.