Sam Phillips was a South African actor, writer, music composer, director and producer best known for his role as Odwa on the eighth season of the SABC1 drama series Soul City, in 2007.
He also starred as Kgosi Rratladi Tladi, the wise chief of the Tladi clan, in the M-Net soap opera The Wild, from 2011-2012.
Sam caught the acting bug at Langa High School in Cape Town. He joined the non-racial People's Space Theatre in 1974, and played in the first multi-racial production Lysistrata at the Space.
He performed in the first black production of The Sacrifice of Kreli and joined the Market Theatre in 1971 with the Merchant of Venice.
When TV 2 started in 1980, he settled in Johannesburg as a TV actor, playing the lead in several religious programs including the acclaimed Monna wa Cyrene and Ibali lika Yona.
He played the lead in dramas and comedies including Phamokate, Umzi Nento zawo, Tholwana tsa Sethepu, Backstage and many others.
He also featured in international plays like Athol Fugard's Master Herold and the Boys in New Orleans, Selaelo Maredi's Absolom's Song with the Los Angeles Theatre and a main supporting role in Ace Ventura: When Nature Calls.
He was an Oscar nominee for playing the lead in Senzeni na?, which was nominated for Best Short Story with the American Film Institution (AFI) in 1990.
Sam worked as an assistant editor at Kinnerland and Scholtz Filoms in the 80's for numerous films including Motlhalefi Molefe, Ifa lika Mthetwa and Masechaba. He also directed Woza Albert at the McGowan theatre at UCLA and held several Workshops at the Hollywood Theatre Rapport.
He worked as a producer for Nna Sajene Kokobela and 102 Paradise Complex and composed music for 102 Paradise Complex, which was sung by Brenda Fassie, Nna Sajene Kokobela, Motlhalefi Molefe and Nonwane.
He wrote the lyrics for the feature Bopha!, directed by Morgan Freeman.
Sam died on Saturday 16 January, 2020. He was 72.