Growing talent loses control of motorbike

Simon Nare

Simon Nare

Less than 72 hours before ringing in New Year South Africa woke up to yet another horrific death - that of of soapie star Anton Summerton of Backstage-fame.

The actor was killed in a motorcycle accident on Constantia Drive in Roodepoort on Saturday night. He was 28.

His death adds to a list of personalities who died this year, among them Lucky Dube, Taliep Petersen, Gift Leremi and Fernando Matola.

Summerton also starred in soapies such as 7de Laanand Binnelanders.

He is best known for his role as Jason in the soapie Backstage, in which he acted as a bartender from 2000 to 2002.

He died of serious internal injuries when his Kawasaki motorbike smashed into a lamp post after he lost control.

Metro police spokesman Wayne Minaar said the actor lost control of the bike at about 7pm.

He said an investigation would be conducted into the accident.

"There are a number of factors, speeding among them, that will be looked at."

Police will also try to establish if Summerton was drunk.

Paramedics spokesman Riana Beech said the bike was found lying in the middle of the road and the actor's body was found several metres away.

It appeared no other vehicle was involved, said Beech.

Petrol attendants near the accident scene said they had earlier seen him in the company of a woman with a child in her car.

"They both left with him," said an attendant who asked not to be named.

"Summerton was travelling on his bike and the lady in her car. They drove towards his home.

"Half an hour later they drove past again and I'm sure he was taking the woman to her home."

He said a few minutes later Summerton went past "flying" towards his home.

"Moments later we heard a bang and later learnt that he smashed into a lamppost," the attendant said.

A close friend, Ashley Moodie, said he last spoke to Summerton on Saturday afternoon when he was preparing to go looking for a location for an movie he was directing.

He described Summerton as a humble, funny man who treated everybody the same.

Moodie said the actor had grown in his career and had graduated from acting to directing, writing scripts and producing.

He did not know when a memorial service would be held but said the family was busy with funeral arrangements.

Summerton cut his acting teeth with the New Africa Theatre Association and studied drama at the University of Stellenbosch.

After his role in Backstage in 2004 he played the role of Duncan on the kykNET drama series Villa Rosa . He also played the guest role of Rick on the SABC2 soapie 7de Laan in the same year.

In August 2007 he was confirmed as the host of the new reality strip show Stripteazeon DStv's actionX channel.