Cliff Simon, the South African-born actor who played Ba’al on Stargate:SG-1, met with tragedy. He was kiteboarding and suffered a fatal accident. He died on the beach March 9, 2021 in Topanga, California. His wife, Colette Simon, said, “A small saving grace to this tragedy is that he was doing one of the things he loved most and passed away on the beach near the water, which was his temple.” In addition to acting, he was a competitive swimmer and an avis skiier and surfer.
Born in Johannesburg, South Africa on 7 September 1962, Cliff Simon originally hoped to be an Olympic swimmer for his native South Africa. When he was a teenager, his family immigrated to the U.K., where he qualified for the British Olympic swim team. In the USA for the 1984 Olympics in Los Angeles, he was offered scholatships to American universities. After three years of intensive training, he returned to South Africa, where he enlisted in their air force and served honorably for two years. He continued to swim competitively during this time and was awarded the Victor Ludorum, the highest athletic award given in the South African Air Force.
As a civilian, he got a job at a coastal hotel teaching windsurfing and waterskiing. This led to working as a gymnast in a stage show. The show went on tour, and so did Simon, eventually winding up at the famed Moulin Rouge in Paris. This led to him becoming a model and an actor. He appeared in the South African TV show Egoli. After six years on Egoli, he and his wife moved to the USA, where he appeared on Nash Bridges, three of the four NCIS shows, and Stargate: SG-1, where he played the Goa’uld Ba’al in fifteen episodes and reprised the role in the movie Stargate: Continuum.
He appeared in the SF TV drama Personal Space, which starred Richard Hatch, Apollo in Battlestar Galactica. He played Roman Nevsky in Project Eden. He also hosted Into the Unknown (broadcast as Uncharted Mysteries in Europe).
He also notably filmed a PSA for the controversial ecological group Sea Shepherd. Be warned: the footage at this link is not for the faint of heart nor the gentle of stomach.
Simon was much beloved by the Stargate fandom community. His loss is keenly felt.
Susan Macdonald is the author of the children’s book “R is for Renaissance Faire”, as well as short stories in “Alternative Truths”, “Swords and Sorceress #30”, “Supernatural Colorado”, “Barbarian Crowns”, “Cat Tails””Under Western Stars”, and “Knee-High Drummond and the Durango Kid”. Her articles have appeared on SCIFI.radio’s web site, in The Inquisitr, and in The Millington Star. She enjoys Renaissance Faires (see book above), science fiction conventions, Highland Games, and Native American pow-wows.