Mario Ellul (8 September 1963 - 31 July 2004) was a Maltese singer and television producer between the early 1980s and the end of his life.
Early Life and TV Career
He was born on 8 September 1963 and studied at the De La Salle College in Cottonera and at the New Lyceum in l-Imsida. During his studies at the New Lyceum he joined Xandir Malta as a student worker, becoming a full-time producer-director soon after. At Xandir Malta, Ellul produced and directed some of the most innovative Maltese programs and TV shows, including Arzella and Mill-Garaxx.
In the early 1990s Mario Ellul left Xandir Malta and joined BPC where he was responsible for the building of a new TV studio in Ħamrun for Audiovision, a subsidiary of BPC. While at BPC, he also attended a TCV Direction Course in London.
Popular Singer and Actor
Ellul was also a popular singer, actor and stage director. He sang with Fog and Mirage, two local rock bands and took part in numerous musicals, including Little Shop of Horrors, Ali Baba, Bastilja, Żeża tal-Flagship, Ulied In-Nanna Venut, Manwel! Manwel! and Il-Ħotbi ta' Notre Dame. Maltese TV viewers in the 1990s also knew him as Bango in the TV series Villa Sunset, and as part of the cast for the popular TV series Dejjem Tiegħek, Becky.
He worked as a committee member of Maltasong between 1997 and 2004, organizing the Malta Song for Europe Festival, particularly contributing to Malta's section for the Eurovision Song Contest through his professional skills in stage management and television production.
His death from heart failure after a live show at the Casinò di Venezia on Saturday 31 July 2004 prompted many tributes, including one by his former stage and television colleague Toni Sant. He was also remembered fondly in a song written by composer Dominic Galea and lyricist Joe Julian Farrugia for Herman Bonaci, who was with Mario when he died. This song was first heard in 2005 during the annual Maltese song festival L-Għanja tal-Poplu, placing third in that year's contest but attracting the highest number of public votes through televoting.
Mario Ellul was married to Grace and together they had a son called Daniel, after Elton John's song, which Mario like very much.
Kif? Ma tafux lil Mario?
On 2 August 2004, poet Ġorġ Peresso, who had worked with Mario at Xandir Malta wrote and read this poem entitled Kif? Ma tafux lil Mario? at his funeral:
Kif? Ma tafux lil Mario?
Fih tifel u good boy.
Ix-xogħol jidħol għalih u jagħmlu kif imiss.
Kulħadd jinqeda bih għax miegħu toħroġ nies.
Tgħidlix li ma tafux lil Mario!
Fuq palk jew wara l-kwinti
Jinbidel u jsir ieħor.
B’migrofnu f’idejh imbagħad
Jintilef u jinħall u lil kulħadd
U żgur li tafu ‘l Mario.
Tih fader u jtellgħek sas-smewwiet.
Tih kamera u jsir artist.
Qed tar’kif tafu ‘l Mario.
Min ma jafux? Imissek ma tafux lil Mario tagħna.
U x’ħin fis-sema bla mistenni
Waslet dan l-aħħar li kien hemm
Mario jistenna wara l-bieb tal-ġenna,
Xi ħadd qal lill-Mulej:
“Hawn Mario, Sidi.”
“Tgħidlix li ma tafux, Mulej, għax kien iġibek sewwa.”
U tbissem il-Mulej. Tbissmietu sebbħet Ġenna.
“Imissni ma nafux lil Mario tiegħi...Għidulu jgħaddi ġewwa.”
- 'Mario Ellul dies after performing at Casino di Venezia' - MaltaMedia.com, Sunday 1 August 2004
- Goodbye Mario - Toni Sant's Blog, Sunday 1 August 2004