P. Ramlee (Teuku Zakaria bin Teuku Nyak Puteh)
Malaysia's most beloved and versatile entertainer received his early education in Sekolah Melayu Kampung Jawa and then the Francis Light School. During the Japanese Occupation he worked in a tin factory and attended a school set up by the Japanese navy, where he learned Japanese songs. In 1945 he entered a singing contest organised by Penang Radio for North Malaya, where he emerged third. He was the runner-up in the following year and the winner in 1947. At a cultural festival in early 1948, where he sang his own composition "Azizah", he was spotted by director B.S. Read more... work as a back-up singer for Shaw Brothers studio films, based in Singapore. He accepted, and the next few weeks saw him working as a clapper-boy, assistant cameraman, and continuity person in addition to singing. His first acting role was in Cinta (1948) as a villain. In the next 18 years under the Malay Film Production unit of Shaw Brothers (popularly known as the Ampas Road studio) he acted in, composed music for and eventually wrote and directed dozens of Malay movies ranging from historical dramas to contemporary comedies. He won several acting and composing awards at the Asian Film Festival in the 1950s and 1960s. In 1964 he moved to Kuala Lumpur where he made another 18 films under the Merdeka Studio. He is believed to have composed about 250 songs.