Fifteen years ago today, an unexpected incident hit the Ghana movie industry. The then Ghallywood ‘it girl’ Suzzy Williams, was reported dead following a fatal accident that took place in front of the La Palm Royal Beach Hotel at exactly 1:30 am, Thursday morning. Major headlines captioned “Suzzy Williams – dead at 23,” read Ghana Web. On radio and TV, we could barely find any other news item soothing enough to compress the damaged hole.
As fatal and crushing as it was to the family and friends that knew her personally, the entire nation was thrown into a deep pit of sorrow and grief. Media outlets responded quickly by paying tribute in the form of announcing the occurred tragedy with an attached playback of her featured films that made her a household name every major film production house was courting for.
Flashing back to the screen days of the late actress, one thing was certain then and still is presently, she was an iconic starlet whose presence transcended through the screen. Transformation was her unconscious daily guide, regality was something she easily portrayed in the few selected roles she played and a master performer that brought beauty in everything she was affiliated with. In the prime days of the Ghana movie industry where actresses shied away from playing seductive characters, Suzzy gave us ‘Official Prostitute’ (one of the purest deliveries in her career).
In Abdul Salam’s ‘My Mother’s Heart’, she channeled on the big screen a brave young lady ready to defy all odds in erasing the tainted legacy of her dead mother. In addition to these and more were her television soap opera appearances such as, ‘Tentacles’ and ‘Sun City’ (remember how she made university lifestyle an easy embodiment).
The big shots of her career were already beginning. At least, before she said goodbye to the life everyone admired her living, she had starred opposite some Nollywood divas such as Stephanie Linus, Zack Orji and a couple of Ghanaian legendary figures like the late George Williams, Akofa Edjeani Asiedu, Emmanuel Armah and Kalsoume Sinare.
In between her talent exhibition as an actress on the big screen, her unmatched vision of becoming one of the biggest names ever produced on the African continent fueled the need to glue her high-flying career with commercial works in product advertisements and music videos. She was famously monikered ‘Chan Chan Lady’, after endorsing the beauty product in an advertorial project. She also shelved her music video appearances with some of the best songs of the early 2000s, including Reggie Rockstone’s ‘AH’ ft. KK Fosu, where she acted as a cheating wife, and as the girl every legible gentleman is chasing after in the defunct music group VIP’s ‘Ahomka Womu’ music video.
Despite the absence of social media at the time of her existence, she managed to fascinate audience and stayed on the lips of both the young and old. It’s hard to come by anyone, who was between the ages of 10 – 70 at that time not knowing Suzzy Williams (even if you didn’t, her controversial style of dressing must have rung a bell).
To date, spot-on actors in the Ghana Movie industry still regard her as a spectacular actress that paved the way for their entry into big industries such as Nollywood. At the time of Suzzy’s death, she had starred in 9 Nigerian film productions, cementing her credibility as someone ready to take on the world by storm. The likes of Genevieve Nnaji, Omotola Jalade Ekeinde, Stella Damascus and other veterans in the Nollywood dynasty knew of her existence and considered her career as something equal to their buzzing reputation.
She could have been the highest-paid actress in the African film industry by now. She could have also been the first African actress to nab an Academy Award or any other international award by now (her daring role picks is legit evidence of such claim), but fate had a different story for her.
As charming and promising as her career looked, staying long in an industry she helped birth its bragging rights was never a verified angle her life was meant to thread. At age 23, Suzzy’s legacy became a thing of the past, but its impact and contribution to something far greater than herself has made it a reverberate portfolio hanging forever.