Saturday, July 31, 2010

Remembering Jirí Vrstála

Jirí Vrstála was born on July 31, 1920 in Liberec, Czechoslovakia. During Wordl War II he was employed as a forced laborer by the Germans. After the war in 1945 with no training in acting he joined the Theater at Liberec. In the 1950's he moved to Prague and started receiving film offers. Here he created 'Clown Ferdinand' the character he is most associated with and remembered. 'Clown Ferdinand' became the hero of a series of childrens films directed by Jindřich Polák. He was especially loved by the children of Berlin where he put on plays, reuvues and variety shows. His first major film role was “Pâté oddelenie” (1960). In 1966 he married actress Angelica Domröse [1941- ] and moved to East Germany. He emerged as a villain in DEFA films and appeared as 'Clown Ferdinand' on television. He and Angelica divorced in 1975 and Jirí retired in 1983 to devote himself to a literary career. Vrstála appeared in one Euro-western “The Sons of Great Bear” (1965) as Fred 'Red Fox' Clark. Jirí died of cancer on June 10, 1999. Today we remember Jirí Vrstála on what would have been his 90th birthday.

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