Hey, you look familiar

Hey, you look familiar
PHOTO: The Straits Times, The New Paper

Yip Wai Yee & Gwendolyn Ng profile 10 of yesteryear's TV stars and find out what they have been up to.


Looking better than ever

1. Benedict Goh, 45, chief client officer of interior design firm Fide

Living and supplier of customised skincare for clinics

Best known for: Hosting TV game show The Pyramid Game (1995 - 1997)

Benedict Goh has clearly found the elixir of youth because this guy does not age.

At 45, he can easily pass for someone a decade younger - his boyish good looks reminiscent of that same TV host who charmed audiences on game show The Pyramid Game all those years ago.

He is immediately shy when you point this out.

"No lah, no lah, I've definitely gotten older," he says while frantically waving his hands, before finally conceding that it helps to keep to a regular workout routine.

"I'm no couch potato - or maybe I just have a high metabolic rate," he adds with a flash of his famous dimpled smile.

He is currently single, but was married to an air stewardess for six years before they split in 2009. He declines to divulge more information, but says he has no regrets in his life.

For the past 10 years, he has been representing various Swiss skincare brands and customising them for doctors and plastic surgeons to use at their practices here.

At the same time, the busy bee is chief client officer of interior design firm Fide Living, where he makes pitches of design jobs for homes, offices and retail spaces. He is also an emcee at various charity gigs and private functions on the side.

He quit show business in 1998 when his three-year contract with then Television Corporation of Singapore ended, feeling overworked.

Besides hosting programmes, he also played a number of major roles on Channel 8 dramas - and that was what he found tough to handle.

"Memorising all those lines in Mandarin - that was really hard for me. The hours were also crazy and you really had no time for anything else.

"If you had a lead role, you were the first to be on set and the last to leave. It was exhausting and I'm pretty sure I brought down every shoot with my poor command of the language," says the former star, who appeared in dramas such as Rising Expectations (1997), alongside Li Nanxing and Zoe Tay.

After he left the industry as a full-time artist, he continued to take on the occasional acting gig.

"I never burnt my bridges with the television station and I didn't mind doing some projects here and there. It's fun to go back and work with old friends," he says.

"I'm not a multi-millionaire, but I'm enjoying my life. I travel quite a bit and I see my friends. I can't complain."

Too busy to act

2. Zack Zainal, 48, divisional vice-president of group security at Emirates Airlines

Best known for: Hosting Malay Talentime for six seasons (1989 - 1995) and for acting in dramas such as Channel 5's Triple Nine (1996) and Dreamers (1998)

Zack Zainal still gets love from female fans - but only those of a certain age group. He says with a chuckle: "My youngest son asks me why only middle-aged women stop to talk to me and ask to take photos. He says it would be nice if some younger women do the same. I laughed and told him the younger ones probably don't know who I am since I left show business in 2003."

At the height of his popularity in the 1990s, the former Manhunt 1989 champion was active on the acting and hosting fronts, winning fans with his wholesome good looks and easy charisma.

Effectively bilingual in Malay and English, he was also one of a handful of Malay stars at the time who made headway as a crossover star into Channel 5.

On top of that, he had a day job as a police officer, joining the force after graduating from the National University of Singapore with a degree in history and geography. "The Commissioner of Police gave me a special dispensation to continue my involvement in the performing arts in my free time," he recalls.

Since 2003, he has been working for Emirates Airlines in Dubai, where he is now the divisional vice-president of group security.

He says: "I'd have liked to pursue show business full time, but a friend reminded me that actors' success is inversely related to age. If one is in management, one's value gets higher with time. I took his advice."

Married with four children, aged 14 to 22, the only entertainment-related projects he gets involved in these days are school projects.

"Sometimes, I'd help my kids with their school productions. I wouldn't mind doing some acting again, but that can happen only in my free time, which, these days, is very scarce."

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