West End star Sophiya Haque dies aged 41

West End star Sophiya Haque dies aged 41

Updated On: Sep 12, 2017
By Nicki McIntyre
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    Actress Sophiya Haque, who had been starring as Sylvia in the West End production of Privates On Parade, passed away 16 January aged 41.

    Her partner David White confirmed that Sophiya was diagnosed with cancer several weeks earlier, and died suddenly yet peacefully in her sleep. Her final performance in Privates On Parade, the first of the Michael Grandage season at the Noel Coward Theatre, was just before Christmas.

    Michael Grandage and executive producer James Bierman said: “We are devastated by Sophiya’s sudden passing. She was a true force of nature and her glorious performance as Sylvia is one that will be remembered with great joy. A spirited lady, she lived life to the full, and her presence in the theatre will be sorely missed. The company would like to dedicate the remaining performances to her memory.”

    Sophiya first achieved success with her band Akasa and the video “One Night in My Life”, which led to her presenting for MTV Asia. She earned the title ‘first lady’ of music television with her daily show broadcasting to 53 countries. After moving to Bombay in 1997, Sophiya lent her dancing talents to a number of Bollywood films starring the likes of Sanjay Dutt, Abhishek Bachchan, Salman Khan, Mani Ratnam, Saroj Khan, Farah Khan and Aamir Khan. Her acting debut came with a lead in the film Snip.

    She returned to the UK in 2002 for a two-year run as Rani, the goddess of love in Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Bombay Dreams at London’s Apollo Victoria Theatre. Sophiya then appeared as the Jannoo Rani in the West End musical The Far Pavilions, directed by Gale Edwards at the Shaftesbury Theatre.

    She remained in the UK and became a fixture in film, television, radio and stage. Her numerous credits include the film Wanted alongside Angelina Jolie, playing barmaid Poppy Morales in Coronation Street, and DJing for the BBC Asian Network.

    In theatre she also appeared in Wah! Wah! Girls, Rifco Arts’ Britain’s Got Bhangra, Gandhi and Coconuts and The Vagina Monologues at the Southbank Centre. Most recently, she had completed filming the hit Nickelodeon TV series House of Anubis, and the feature Jadoo.

    Her agent Stuart Piper, managing director of Cole Kitchenn, said: “Sophiya was one of the most inspirational people I ever met. She was the kind of person you always want to spend time with: full of light, warmth, compassion, care and with an infectiously wicked sense of humour and my co-agent Olivier Thomson and I loved every minute of working with her.

    On stage, it was like you were watching her in close up even if you were sat at the back of the stalls such was her star presence and charisma. I am so desperately sad that she has been lost to the world at such a tragically young age, but feel blessed to have known her.”