Su Min. [Photo/Xinhua]
Actor and director Su Min, whose real name is Pu Sixun, father of the famous actor Pu Cunxin, died on August 28 at the age of 89.
Su was known for his work at the Beijing People's Art Theatre. He was born in Nanjing in 1926 and soon moved to Beijing.
Su, who committed himself to stage theater in 1940s, played many characters, such as Zhou Ping from Thunderstorm; Zhou Jin from Cai Wenji; Fan Li from Gall and Sword; and Gromov from A Good Marksman May Miss. His cooperation with his son Pu Cunxin was well-received. They jointly created the epic Cai Wenjiand Li Bai. Furthermore, they played the same role - Zhou Ping - successively.
Su's longtime friend Lan Tianye is also a celebrated artist. "I knew this day would come but it's still devastating to me," Lan said in an interview. In Lan's view, as a great actor, director and drama educator, Su Min made a big difference to the development of Chinese drama.
Some of Su Min's students are household names, including Song Dandan, Liang Guanhua, Zheng Tianwei, Wang Ji, Xu Fan, Chen Xiaoyi, Jiang Shan, He Bing, Hu Jun and Wang Ban.
Lan Tianye also revealed that Su Min has been sick for many years. Lan was reluctant to visit him in the hospital for fear of witnessing his terrible condition. According to Lan, Su Min is a workaholic. "He never cherishes his health. He constantly asks doctors for a leave to go back to rehearsals. I was really mad and dissuaded him on many occasions but he just ignored me. I once saw him write screenplays on the hospital bed," Lan recalled.
Lan has been friends with Su for 74 years and the two have always been honest with each other. Lan wrote a memoir a few years age and there was a chapter specifically for Su. He sees Su as a friend for life.
Lan was the first person Pu Cunxin called after Su Min's death. Later on, he updated his WeChat Moments:" Wait for me in heaven". He was also concerned about 80-year-old Jia Quan, Su's wife.
Tang Ye is a directress of the Beijing People's Art Theatre and one of Su Min's students. She was appointed by Su as the assistant director of both Cai Wenji and Li Bai. In her eyes, Su Min is very hard-working and strict with his work meanwhile kind and helpful to young artists. She was saddened at the news, saying she is forever grateful to his mentor.