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Jerzy Stuhr

Jerzy Stuhr (born April 18 1947 in Kraków) is one of the most popular and versatile Polish actors. He also works as a screenplay writer, film director, and drama professor. He serves as the Rector of the Ludwik Solski Academy for the Dramatic Arts in Kraków.

Life and career

Having obtained a degree in Polish literature from the Jagiellonian University in 1970, Stuhr spent the next two years studying acting at the Academy for the Dramatic Arts in Kraków (Państwowa Wyższa Szkoła Teatralna often shortened to PWST), where he became a professor.

From the early 1970s, Stuhr appeared in Polish theatre and screen productions, making his debut with the role of Beelzebub in Adam Mickiewicz's Dziady directed by Konrad Swinarski.

Having met film director Krzysztof Kieślowski in the mid-1970s, he continued to work with him until Kieślowski's death in 1996. To an international audience, Stuhr may be best known for his minor role as thick-witted hairdresser Jurek in Kieślowski's Three Colors: White, in which he starred alongside Julie Delpy, Janusz Gajos, and Zbigniew Zamachowski. In Poland, he is probably best-known for the part of Max in Juliusz Machulski's 1985 dystopian cult comedy Seksmisja, and - to the youngest audience - for lending his voice to the talking donkey in the dubbed Polish version of the Shrek trilogy. Other important films include Kieślowski's "The Scar" (Blizna, 1976), "Camera Buff" (Amator, 1979) and Part 10 of his Decalogue series (1988), Machulski's Kingsize (1987), Kiler (1997) and Kiler 2 (1999), and Zanussi's Life for Life (1988).

Stuhr also cooperated with Polish directing legends Agnieszka Holland, Andrzej Wajda and Krzysztof Zanussi. In 1985, Stuhr made his own directing debut staging the Polish version of Patrick Süskind's play The Double Bass, in which he also played the (only) role. In spite of the production's success, it was not until 1995 that Stuhr began directing films as well, with "List of Adulteresses" (Spis cudzołożnic) based on a novel by Jerzy Pilch. Critics favourably compared his next effort "Love Stories" (Historie miłosne, 1997) to Kieślowski's work. The film consists of four unconnected episodes with Stuhr playing the lead role in each. Further movies directed by Stuhr are "Big Animal" (Duże zwierzę, 2000 - based on a Kieślowski screenplay) and "Tomorrow's Weather" (Pogoda na jutro, 2003). For these two, Stuhr employed the Polish alternative rock band Myslovitz who composed the title tracks and also had walk-on roles in the latter.

From 1990 to 1997, and again from 2002, Stuhr held the position of rector at the Kraków National Drama School, where he had learned his craft two decades before. He formally obtained the title of professor in dramatic arts in 1994.

Stuhr's son Maciej (born 1975) is in the process of establishing himself as an actor in his own right, having played alongside his father in Kieślowski's Decalogue X (1988), Pogoda na jutro (2003), and Love Stories (1997).

Voice acting

Jerzy Stuhr became very popular with younger viewers after he provided the voice for Donkey in the Polish dubbed version of Shrek (as well as in Shrek 2, Shrek the Third and in video games, based on the Shrek movies). Stuhr also provided the voice of Mushu the dragon in Disney’s Mulan and Mulan 2, and for the Larry Laufer character in Larry 7 game.

Filmography

Actor

Director and Screenplay writer

References

External links

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