ARTIST SPOTLIGHT: Pisamai Wilaisak
In the flash and excitement of watching mainstream actors play our favorite couples, sometimes those in the background are not noticed. As the elders, the police, the doctors, and other, these unsung heroes deserve our attention as well!
This time, I wanted to shed some light on my favorite lakorn elder, Pisamai Wilaisak (พิศมัย วิไลศักดิ์).
Born December 7 1939 in Banglumpu, she first started working in 1958 at the tender age of 18, and hasn’t stopped since. She first played the ingenue, then big sisters, mothers, and finally grandmothers. Her nickname is “Mee”.
Her break in the film industry was 1959’s “การะเกด” (Google Translate: “Brandyzone)”. Her scenes included the graceful “Glide” traditional Thai dance which was praised by film critics. The film’s first two months garnered more than 2 million baht and was wildly successful. She has been credited with over 117 films, the last one “สังหรณ์” (Google Translate: “Premotion”) in 2003.
Although Thai television began in 1955 with the advent of the first VHF channel (now known as MCOT9), the first lakorn for our favorite grandmother wasn’t until 1984, with “ห้องที่จัดไม่เสร็จ” (Google Translate: “The Incomplete Room”). Since then, though, she has almost 250 lakorn / television dramas under her belt, mostly under the aegis of Channel 3 and Channel 7.
This year alone, she has six lakorns scheduled to broadcast or already shown: “Kam Lai Mas / Gold Bracelet” with Janie and Toey; “Than Chay Kammalor” with Prim and the late Por Trisadee Sahawong; “Wai Sab Saraek Kad / Senior Dignitaries” with Lek and Jittapa; “Jao Wayhu: Fang Nam Jarod Fah / The Highjacker: Where The River Meets the Sky” with Aum and Noon; “Bussaba Rae Fun” with Warit, Margie, Chakrit, and Mali; and “Nang Tard / The Slave” with Poh and Tisha.
Ms Wilaisak has also acted in several daytime sitcoms, starting in 1991. Her most recent was “บ้าบอคอแตก / Absurd” on Thailand’s PBS channel in 2013.
She is widowed with no children. Her husband was the well-known Thai director Supran Prampan.
In 2011, Ms Wilaisak was appointed a National Artist of Thailand for her years in the entertainment business. A short interview from The Bangkok Post, translated into English can be found here: Click here.
She has long supported the arts behind the scenes as well as to the public.
Ms Wilaisak was invited to Australia to teach a Sydney dance group Thailand’s Glide dance, so they could perform it for Queen Elizabeth II’s birthday honors August 2010.
Most recently, she was one of the panel of judges who chose the artists for this year’s Royal Khon Performance: “Episode of The Allegiance of Pipek”, which will be staged at the Thailand Cultural Center from November 5 to December 5, 2016.
Her achievements are as follows (I gathered these from several sites, so it may not be 100% accurate or include all her awards).
1963 Best Actress for “Eyes Of Heaven” – Golden Orb Awards
1967 Four Pillars winner – King Gold Star Awards
1978 Best Actress for “Without Affection” – Royal Saraswati (Swan) Awards
1983 Best Supporting Actress for “Money Money Money” – Royal Saraswati (Swan) Awards
1996 Best Supporting Actress for “Drama Wing Devil”- Mekhala Awards
1997 Outstanding Actress – Television Academy
1999 Best Actress for “The Great Wall” – Royal Saraswati (Swan) Awards
2000 Best Supporting Actress for “Wood” – 15th Golden Orb Awards
2003 Lifetime Achievement Award – Television Academy
2007 Supan Fame Award for Lifetime Dedication – Royal Saraswati (Swan) Awards
2010 National Artist of Performing Arts (Movies and TV Series) – Nine Entertainment Awards
2010 Royal Gold Star Award – Television Academy (presented by King Bhumibol)
2013 Lifetime Achievement Award – Thailand Film Entertainment Critics Association
In short, she has had an amazing life and counts as one of my favorite Thai actors. My first experience of her acting style was the evil and bitter grandmother in Roy Mai. Indeed, I was surprised that the majority of her characters are actually genteel and kind figures!
As Pisamai Wilaisak continues to be the number one person our na’eks and pra’eks run to for advice, food, and hugs, let’s all wish her well!