ANP KippaFruithof on the set of Waku Waku
NOS Nieuws•yesterday, 19:53•Edited yesterday, 20:26
Presenter and actor Rob Fruithof (71) has passed away. Fruithof lived in Cape Town and leaves behind a 20-year-old son, according to his own Facebook account. He suffered from cancer.
Fruithof was best known as the face of the KRO program Waku Waku, which he presented from 1988 to 1996, a nature quiz with celebrities who played for a good cause. For every correctly answered question, a participant received a ‘Waku Waku monkey’. The winner was the one who had the most monkeys at the end of the episode.
The program returned to television several times. Since last year Sosha Duysker presents a new version, intended for children.
What does Waku Waku mean?
The name Waku Waku is a corruption of the name of the Japanese program it is based on. The original title of that program was Wakuwaku Dōbutsu Rando, which means “exciting animal kingdom”.
When it became known that a new version was coming, Fruithof said on Facebook: “Hope they won’t ruin it like recently with a number of other successful formulas from the past. 2 million viewers every week will probably not work…those were the days.”
Fruithof, who graduated from drama school in Maastricht in 1975, also made a name for himself as an actor and voice actor. He played in Dutch TV series such as Westenwind, Weg Naar Morgen, but he also worked abroad. In 2016, for example, he had a role in the American historical adventure series Black Sails. He played a guest role in it as captain of a Dutch slave ship.
Fruithof talked about that role in the RTL Late Night program:
Fruithof left for South Africa in 2005, but when he returned to the Netherlands he was invariably recognized as a Waku Waku presenter.
“You will be amazed, but that still happens to me here regularly,” he told Nieuwe Revu in 2017. “The tram driver, a Surinamese couple at Schiphol, a random passerby on the street: they all show that they still know me.”
Fruithof did not find it annoying that he was still mentioned in the same breath as the program, he told the AD. “I’ve got a certain image from it, that of the happy animal boy, so to speak. I did it with great pleasure. It’s a stamp I’ll probably carry with me until death.”