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The icon of Polish cinematography, known both in Poland and abroad, has played 120 different roles with the greatest directors. Zany, with his extravagant behavior, remains an undisputed star of great importance.
Born in Łowicz, he grew up in Drohiczyn, but graduated from high school in Warsaw. From an early age he dreamed of being an actor, for the first time on the theater stage he appeared in a school play directed by his mother. He allegedly got into the acting school with the highest number of points in the year, but he gave it up to fully devote himself to an acting career.
He appeared on the glass screen for the first time thanks to Janusz Nasfeter, engaging Olbrychski in the role of a young corporal in the film Wounded in the Forest ” based on the novel by Witold Zalewski. At that time, the actor was only 218 years old, he was just starting his acting school and still belonged to the TVP Youth Theater, whose guardian was Andrzej Konica at the time. In 1965, the young actor’s long-term cooperation with the excellent Polish director Andrzej Wajda began. Olbrychski himself claims that it was thanks to the opportunity given by Wajda that the door to the West opened for him. In 1965, the director offered him a role in “Popioły”. Since then, he became a new star of Polish cinema and began to appear regularly in films. In the same year, he appeared in Morgenstern’s “Then Will Be Silence”. It was a military-psychological drama. As an athlete, we could see him in Julian Dziedzina’s “Boxer” (the title role was played by the then Polish and European boxing champion Leszek Drogosz) and an athlete in “Jowita”. Zbyszek Cybulski, Irena Kwiatkowska and Kalina Jędrusik starred with him in the film.
Olbrychski then appeared in such excellent productions as Landscape after the Battle, based on Tadeusz Borowski’s stories (he played Tadeusz, a young poet struggling with reality after leaving the concentration camp), Wesele (the role of the groom), The Promised Land (he portrayed in the form of a nobleman dreaming of an industrial career) or “Maidens from Wolf” (the role of Wktor Rubene, who returns to his homeland after many years). He is permanently remembered by viewers with his performances in screen adaptations of Sienkiewicz’s novels. In “Pan Wołodyjowski” he played Asia Tuhajbejowicz, in “The Deluge” by Kmicic (this role aroused considerable controversy, many considered it absurd for Olbrychski to play this character, but after the premiere of the film this role was hailed as brilliant, simply legendary), and in “Ogniem and sword” from 1999, he played the smaller role of Tuhaj-bey.
He became known to Western cinema thanks to his roles in such films as “The Tin Drum” by Volker Schlöndorff, “Both and Others” by Claude Lelouch, “Diagonal of a Messenger” by Richard Dembo or “The Unbearable Lightness of Being” by Philip Kaufman.
Outside of the cinema, the actor constantly appears in the theater. He was associated with the Powszechny Theater and the National Theater in Warsaw. His theatrical debut was in 1969. Since then, he has played most of the roles that actors dream of. In this way, we could see him as Hamlet, Othello, Macbeth, Beniowski or Cześnik. He performed on the boards of both Polish and foreign theaters. He has been awarded many times for his acting achievements. The actor is a laureate of, among others, the Golden Mask, the Golden Camera, the Zbyszek Cybulski. In 1999, he received his star in the Avenue of Stars on ul. Piotrkowska in Łódź.
Privately, he was married three times, his current partner is Krystyna Dębska. He has four children: three daughters and one son, Rafał, who is also an actor, and a musician.
Based on materials from https://kultura.dlastudenta.pl/
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Kinoist – International Actors Agency Eastern Europe
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