Kochi: Well-known Malayalam junior artiste Joseph Rodriguez, nicknamed 'Saigal' by late thespian Sivaji Ganesan, is no more.
He passed away unsung at a private hospital here on Saturday, a day after performing a small role in the Malayalam film Kaassh whose shoot was in progress at nearby Edakochi.
Rodriguez, 81, fell ill on Friday night and was admitted to the hospital. He is survived by wife, a son and a daughter.
He had essayed small roles in nearby 600 films and had shared screen space with late M G Ramachandran (MGR), Sivaji Ganesan, N T Rama Rao and Raj Kumar in Tamil, Telugu, Kannada and Hindi films.
He began singing in local ferries to make both ends meet when he was noticed by veteran singer K J Yesudas's father Augustine Joseph, who advised him to go to Chennai.
In Chennai, he became a singer and actor in various Tamil plays and was a member of Sivaji Ganesan's drama troupe.
According to industry sources, Joseph got the 'Saigal' tag after Sivaji was impressed by his rendition of K L Saigal's So Ja Rajakumar.
Despite being in the industry for several decades, only small roles came his way and he remained as a junior artiste throughout. He was also part of chorus in Malayalam films.
Union Minister Prof K V Thomas, Malayalam actors Mamootty, Innocent and Music Director M K Arjunan were among those who paid their respects.
The funeral was held at St Mary's Church at Edakochi.