Jan Tříska, the legend of Czech theatre and movies, later also a Hollywood legend definitely belongs to our list of Czech celebrities who became famous behind the borders of Czechia. He emigrated to the USA in his 40ies and starred in movies like Highlander, Ronin, The People vs. Larry Flint or Apt Pupil. In Czech Republic he’s famous especially for his role in the movie Obecná škola or of King Lear in the Shakespeare play of the same name. Later in life he came back to Czech Republic and starred in many more movies.
Tříska liked relaxing sitting on Charles Bridge in Prague, which became fatal to him in September of 2017. He fell into the Vltava river and died two days later.
Both Novak’s parents were Czech (her mother’s maiden name was Král, meaning “king”) which makes this Hollywood beauty 100% Czech! The star of Hitchcock’s Vertigo ultimatelly chose a painter’s carrer. She visited Czech Republic in 2015 to inaugurate the exhibition of her paintings in the Strahov Monastery in Prague.
Her ancestors supposedly come from a little village called Tukleky in South Bohemia.
This elegant lady with a beautiful Czech name worked as Special Assistant of several US-presidents. Born into a prominent Prague family of bankers which was later prosecuted by communists, Hašková had to flee the country with her mother and younger brother to join her father in the USA.
She retired from the government service in 1990. Since then she actively involves in organizations cultivating ethics and the Czech-American relations. She often speaks at international conferences and in 2003 she was awarded as “Outstanding Czech Woman in the World” by the Senate of the Czech Republic.
When it comes to the world of sport celebrities, we mustn’t forget this handsome Czech guy. This right winger is without any doubt the most famous Czech ice-hockey player. He comes from the city of Kladno and he made his carreer not only in Czech teams but also in the Pittsburgh Penguins, New York Rangers, Philadelphia Flyers and several more. He holds such records like the oldest player to score a gole in the World Cup(43 years), more than 10 NHL records including most winning goals (135) and 8 New York Rangers records.
In the Czech republic he is known for his pleasant public demeanour as well as for dating famous Czech and Slovak models.
Irglová was the surprise of the Academy Awards in 2007 together with her then-boyfriend, the Irish songwriter and singer Glen Hansard. They received an Oscar for their song “Falling Slowly” for the movie “Once”.
After breaking up with Hansard she married the American bass guitar player Tim Iseler whom she divorced in 2013. She’s been living in Iceland since 2012 with her husband Sturla Mio Thorisson and their three children.
Georgina Bouzova is a British TV-drama actress and a 2006 participant of “Strictly”. She’s also known for her role of Ellen Zitek in the BBC series “Casualty”.
She speaks Czech thanks to her father Ivan Bouza and although she was born in Surrey, she was given the surname following the Czech law according to which female descendants add the ending -ová to the male version of the surname.
All tennis fans know Ivan Lendl. Born in Ostrava in 1960 he represented Czechoslovakia and since the 1990ies his new home, the USA. He helped the Czechoslovak team to Davis Cup winning in 1980 and he left for the USA just six years later. Lendl won all the Grand Slam tournaments except Wimbledon and he remains the most successful Czech tennis player to this day.
Since his retirement as tennis player he’s worked as tennis couch and he’s a collector of the posters by the famous Czech painter Alfons Mucha.
Let’s stay with tennis for a while longer. Martina Hingisová is a former Swiss tennis player born to a Czech mother and a Slovak-Hungarian father. She was born in Czechoslovakia and after her parents divorced, her and her mother emigrated to Switzerland just two years before the Velvet revolution. She was later naturalized in Switzerland. At the age of 12, she became the youngest Grandslam junior champion and she later won all the Grand Slam tournaments in doubles and mixed doubles and all but French Open in Singles.
She lives in Feusisberg, Switzerland, with her husband and daughter.
Herbert Lom was a Czech-British actor and his full name was Herbert Karel Angelo Kuchačevich ze Schluderpacheru. He was the first inspector Dreyfuss in the movie series The Pink Panther, Dr. Corder in The Human Jungle and he also starred in the famous German movie Der Schatz im Silbersee. He played more than 100 movie characters all over the world, often portraying criminals or villains.
Lom was born in Prague into a family of nobility. Probably nobody thought that he would become one of the most internationally-cast Czech movie celebrities. He lived in Great Britain since 1939 (where he went to escape the nazis) and used to return to Prague a lot at the end of his life.
Václav Havel was the last president of Czechoslovakia (after the Velvet revolution) and the first president of the Czech Republic (2 terms). He was friends with many important statemen around the world and a strong friendship connected him also to the former US-State secretady Madeleine Albright. Originally a playwriter he became one of the leading figures of the Velvet revolution and probably the most famous Czech politician ever.
Although internationally recognized as a human rights fighter, at home he was criticized by many for his extensive amnesties in which he gave freedom to thousands of criminals including brutal murderers and for supporting the 1999 bombing of Yugoslavia. He was also known for his Bohemian lifestyle including lots of alcohol and heavy smoking.
After his passing in 2011 there was a 3-day-long official mourning. In 2020, the movie Havel about his life was released.
Taťána Gregor Brzobohatá
If you’re a sucker for Miss World celebrities, you must know this beautiful lady. Taťána Gregor Brzobohatá, then Taťána Kuchařová, won the Miss World in 2006. She remains the only Czech winner of this pageant to this day. Since then she’s been a model and a charity worker, she also starred in several movie projects and she was the president of the Czech Miss pageant for two years.
She married a son of one of the most famous Czech actors and has a charity helping the elderly.
Dominik Hašek, also called The Dominator, is another Czech ice-hockey player who reacher international success. As a goaltender he played for the Chicago Blackhawks, Buffalo Sabres and several more. Together with Jaromír Jágr, he was part of the winning Czech team at the 1998 Olympics in Nagano, Japan.
He retired from ice-hockey twice, finally retiring to practice other sports. Hašek became the oldest Czech player to win the title of champion of the extraliga.
Jan Hammer is a music composer and a multi-instrumentalist. He was born in Prague into a family of jazz-musicians. Hammer left the country as a 20-year-old and moved to the USA. There he became a member of the legendary jazz-rock formation Mahavishnu Orchestra.
He composed the music of the series Miami Vice and released several albums with the orchestra as well as solo.
You probably know Karel Gott if you come from a German-speaking country and he might very well be the most famous Czech person to you. He was almost as popular in Germany as he was in the Czech Republic and fairly popular also in Austria, especially because of the fact that he sang the theme song of the children’s series Maya the Honey Bee (Včelka Mája in Czech, Die Biene Maja in German). Gott was and still is without the slightest doubt the most popular Czech singer. He won every year of the Czech music awards Český slavík since it’s start in 1996, except for 2 years. Gott often had concerts in Germany. He re-sang many of his songs in German and in 2017 he received the Golden Hen (Goldene Henne) in Germany for his life work. The singer passed on October 1, 2019 and was mourned by the whole country. He received a funeral with state-honors. Just before his passing he sang a duet with his daughter written by another musician as a good-bye song when Karel Gott – in Czechia ofter also called just mistr (master) – knew he had only short time to live. Listen to it here.
You probably had no idea that John Kerry belonged to the celebrities with Czech roots but yes, the former US-Secretary of State has a bit of Czech blood, too! His ancestors came from Horní Benešov in Silesia, a town which awarded John Kerry with honorary citizenship in 2004. There’s a memorial plate at place where the house of Mr. Kerry’s grandfather used to stand.
This charming lady from Brno is one of the most prominent opera singers. Her mezzosoprano astonishes people all around the world in pieces like Bizet’s Carmen or Dvořák’s Biblical Songs. She released more than 20 albums. She interprets especially Baroque and Classical period operas, however, she has appeared in Romantic and contemporary arrangements as well. Her husband is the British conductor Simon Rattle.
How do you like our list of “Czech” and Czech celebrities? Are there any other famous foreigners of Czech origin we should include in our next list?