‘Miss Honey Eyes,’ Golden Age Screen Icon, Named National Artist

BANGKOK —  A cinematic heartthrob who became known as “Miss Honey Eyes” as the onscreen partner of Thailand’s most legendary star was named a national artist last night.

Petchara Chaowarat, 76, was named a national artist in the performing arts along with other 11 awardees in three different categories that also include the visual arts and literature.

The names were announced by Deputy Prime Minister Wissanu Krea-ngam, who is also a chairman of the National Cultural Commission.

Phetchara was among six artists in performance arts. They include Wiroj Weerawattananon (likay), Kan Chaowapong (nora dance), Sukhon Pornpiroon (international-style Thai music), Prapas Cholsaranon (entertainment and international-style Thai music) and Somsuk Kanjaruk (television lakorn).

For the visual arts, sculptor Shin Prasong, painter Parin Tantisuk, fashion designer Kampun Srisai and interior architect Kongsak Yutavesi were recognized.

The literature category saw two authors elevated: Chamlong Fangcholjit and Saneh Sangsuk.

Petchara remains the best known of them all. She became an icon in the golden age of Thai cinema, starring in nearly 300 movies in the 1960s and 1970s. She’s best known for co-starring in more than 100 films with Mitr Chaibancha – the acting legend who died filming falling from a helicopter in 1970 while filming the climax of what would be his final film. They even earned a couple’s nickname, “Mitr-Petchara.”

Today Petchara is blind from having spent so many hours exposed to bright set lights. She had disappeared from the public eye for 30 years before re-emerging in 2009.

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