Daniel Olbrychski Honorary of Citizen

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Daniel Olbrychski (born on 27 February 1945 in Łowicz)
Honorary Citizen of Warsaw since 8 June 2017

A stage and screen actor, born on 27 February 1945 in Łowicz. In 1963 he graduated from Stefan Batory Secondary School in Warsaw and in 1971 passed an external examination at the PWST National Academy of Theatre Arts in Warsaw. He has cooperated on many occasions with such directors as Andrzej Wajda, Kazimierz Kutz, Krzysztof Zanussi, Jerzy Hoffman and Krzysztof Kieślowski. In his exceptionally extensive list of silver screen appearances, he is best remembered for the following roles: Azja Tuhaj-Bejowicz in “Pan Wołodyjowski” (1969), Daniel in “Wszystko na sprzedaż” (1968), Bridegroom in “Wesele” (1972) and Kmicic in “Potop” (1974). He also starred in international productions, such as the Oscar-winning “Die Blechtrommel” directed by Volker Schlöndorff, Philip Kaufman’s “The Unbearable Lightness of Being” and Nikita Mikhalkov’s “Sibirskiy tsiryulnik”.

He performed on the majority of stages in Warsaw. From 1969 he played at the Powszechny Theatre, and later at the National Theatre. In those theatres, he starred (450 times!), for instance, in performances produced by Adam Hanuszkiewicz, in which he played eponymous characters in “Hamlet” by William Shakespeare (1970) and “Beniowski” by Juliusz Słowacki (1971). He and Hanuszkiewicz also cooperated on Aleksander Fredro’s plays, in which he was cast in the roles of Edwin-Papkin in “Topsy Turvy Talk” (1973) and Gustaw-Wacław in “Man and Wife” (1977). He returned to playing Fredro’s characters in the 1990s when he was cast in the role of Cześnik in “The Revenge” directed by Andrzej Łapicki (1998, Polski Theatre).

He played many roles in theatre classics staged by Hanuszkiewicz at the National Theatre – for instance the role of Stańczyk and Wernyhora in Stanisław Wyspiański’s “The Wedding”  (1974) and Adam Mickiewicz in the “Mickiewicz” spectacle (1976). Onstage the Warsaw-based Ateneum Theatre he played Roderick in “The Cid” translated by Jan Andrzej Morsztyn (1985). In the 1990s he also appeared in such roles as Kean in Alexandre Dumas’ play with the same title, directed by Andrzej Łapicki (1993, Powszechny Theatre), and General Wincenty Krasiński in Stanisław Wyspiański’s “November Night” produced by Jerzy Grzegorzewski (1997, National Theatre). In 2006, in a play prepared to celebrate his 60th birthday, he played the part of King Lear in Shakespeare’s drama directed by Andrei Konchalovsky (Tadeusz Łomnicki Teatr na Woli [Wola Theatre]). In 2010, Daniel Olbrychski played Bogart in Woody Allen’s “Play It Again, Sam” directed by Eugeniusz Korin (6th Floor Theatre). In subsequent years he could be seen in “En route for Madison” directed by Grzegorz Warchoł (2011, 6th Floor Theatre), Juliusz Słowacki’s Mazeppa directed by Piotr Tomaszuk (2012, Polski Theatre), Aleksander Fredro’s “The Revenge” produced by Krzysztof Jasiński (2013, Polski Theatre), and Tomasz Mann’s “Magic Mountain” directed by Wojciech Malajkat, where he played Mynheer Pieter Peeperkorn (2015, Syrena Theatre). In that theatre he also played the King's part in Witold Gombrowicz’s “Ivona, Princess of Burgundia” directed by Omar Sangare.

Daniel Olbrychski has taken part in many social, political performances, rallies and demonstrations. In July 1974, in front of Teatr Wielki in Warsaw he recited “Ode to Youth” to thousands of participants in the Polish Young People Rally. In December 1980, in front of the Monument to the Fallen Shipyard Workers in Gdańsk, he read the names of the victims, which displeased the authorities.

He has received numerous distinctions and awards, including the Commander's Cross Order of Polonia Restituta for outstanding artistic merit (1998), Gold Cross of Merit (1974), Medal for Merit to Culture – Gloria Artis (2006), and Award of the Minister of Foreign Affairs for contributions to the propagation of Polish culture abroad (1980). In 2013, he was awarded a degree honoris causa by the University of Opole.

                                                                                                                                   fot. Krzysztof Opaliński