Don Ruter Nanayakkara (1915–1989) was a leading character actor of Sri Lankan cinema. Playing lanky villains, Nanayakkara gained popularity in films like Rekava, Kurulu Bedda and Sikuru Tharuwa.
Nanayakkara was born in Kolonnawa in 1915. He completed his education at the Kolonnawa Govt. School and St. Matthew’s College, Dematagoda and took to frequenting stage plays. At one such drama around 1936, Nanayakkara was seen by Sirisena Wimalaweera and taken into his troupe of players. Beginning with Amma, Nanayakkara appeared in many of Wimalweera's plays; these include Seedevi, Pitisara Kella, Rodi Kella and Maggona Charlie.
Nanayakkara debut in film came when Wimalaweera adapted Amma into a motion picture in 1949, two years after the start of Sri Lankan cinema. Nanayakkara sang two songs for the film. He continued to appear in Wimalweera's movies up to Wimalaweera's death around 1963.
One of Nanayakkara's most celebrated performances was in Rekawa which is considered a landmark in film. He appeared in the critically acclaimed role of Sooty, the protagonist's father who is a thief and attempts to use his son's supposed healing powers to gain wealth causing a death and his son's condemnation by the whole village in the process.
Nanayakkara continued his celebrated villainous roles in Kurulu Bedda (1961), Sikuru Tharuwa (1966) and Binaramali (1969). He won the Sarasaviya Best Actor Award for his role in Bicycle Hora in 1968. In 1984, Nanayakkara was one of the Sri Lankan actors chosen to appear in Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom; He played the village headsman.
Other film appearances include Chandiya (1965), Parasathumal (1966), Kathuru Muwath (1971), Duleeka (1974), Lasanda (1974), Nedeyo (1976), Ahasin Polawata (1978), Siribo Aiya (1980), Baddegama (1981) and Dese Mal Pipila. Nanayakkara's last film Ahas Maliga was screened five years after his death.