Shaleen Surtie-Richards was a South African actress best known for her title role in the 1988 feature film Fiela se Kind (Fiela's Child), and as Ester (Nenna) Willemse in the M-Net soap opera Egoli: Place of Gold.
She was also a judge on the reality competition television series Supersterre, from 2006-2010.
Shaleen was born in Upington on 7 May, 1955 and schooled both there and in Cape Town. Qualifying as a kindergarden teacher, she taught in both cities between 1974 and 1984.
Shaleen took many roles in several amateur stage productions between 1974 and 1981 and was also active in productions of the Department of Education’s Theatre-in-Education from 1982 to 1984.
She became a professional actress in 1984 and became very well-known through her appearances on stage, television and films.
Her stage work included productions by some of the country’s leading directors. She was on stage in all the main centres of the country, as well as London, and participated in both the Grahamstown and Edinburgh Festivals.
She won two Fleur du Cap Theatre Awards: the first in 1985 for her role as Hester in Athol Fugard's Hallo en Koebaai and the second in 2008 for her role as Shirley in the Afrikaans translation of the Willy Russell play Shirley Valentine.
Her many TV appearances include single dramas and series, as well as a presenting. She he had recurring roles on four other South African soapies, Generations (2001-2004), 7de Laan (2002), Villa Rosa (2013) and Arendsvlei (2019 - 2021).
Her other TV roles included Judy in three seasons of the Mzansi Magic drama series Rockville, Tina on the fourth season of SABC2's sitcom Fishy Fêshuns and Charmaine, a starring role on the e.tv telenovela Broken Vows.
She also worked on radio as narrator or actress.
In addition, she appeared in the South African films Nag van die 19de (1992) and Leon Schuster's Mama Jack (2005), in which she played the role of the Mayoress.
Shaleen died in Cape Town on 7 June, 2021, at the age of 66. Her cause of death was not made known. She had just completed filming a story arc on Arendsvlei, where she reprised her role as Muriel Foster.