They were the stars of Czech cinematography, they enchanted everyone with their talent and beauty. Although they are gone, their names will be well-known to generations after them. Here are some of the legendary Czech actresses.
Beauty, charm, talent, that was the asset of these ladies. They were not just pretty faces, they were so captivating on screen that their names live on.
Shortly before this article was released another excellent Czech actress Libuše Šafránková passed on. Here’s the article dedicated to our one and only Cinderella.
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Adina Mandlová was the ultimate beauty and the sex-symbol of the 1930s and probably the most admired of all the Czech actresses of that time. Her life was full of turbulences. She was very intelligent and charming, the kind of a lady that men want to be with and women want to be. However, she was also emotionally unstable and rather unhappy, moreover, there were suspicions of her collaborating with the Germans. She was known for movies like Life is a Dog (Život je pes), Camel Through the Eye of a Needle (Velbloud uchem jehly) or Kristián. Mandlová maintained relationships with several Nazi officers which caused refusal by her peers after the war. She emigrated to Canada returning to Czechoslovakia only a year before she died.
Just like Mandlová, Lída Baarová had beauty, international success as actress in Czechoslovakia, Germany, Italy and Spain and suffered similar social refusal for her romantic involvement with the Reich Minister of Propaganda J. Goebbels. Baarová was expelled from the conservatory for acting in movies which was forbidden for students at that time. She became a famous actress anyway, starring side by side with stars like Vlasta Burian. She is known for movies like Die Fledermaus, I vitelloni or Barcalore.
At first, Nataša Gollová and Adina Mandlová were inseparable. When Gollová started an affair with the Nazi supervisor of Czech cinematography during German occupation (who was until then Mandlová’s lover) their friendship was over. She was a successful theatre actress before WWII and the most admired Czech movie actress of the 1940ies. Her career sky-rocketed after the comedy Eva Fools Around (Eva tropí hlouposti) and in movies she was often paired with Oldřich Nový. After the war she was marked a German collaborator and her reputation never fully recovered. Her later career was only a shadow of her former success.
It is sometimes said that Dana Medřická’s talent and friendly nature were hard to find in an actress. She was loved by her Brno, then Pilsen and later Prague audience not just for her captivating theatre performances but also because it was commonly known that she was first a mother and a loving wife. Her son Václav Vydra jr., a famous actor, was in fact her second child. Her firstborn son died early, as did her husband. Despite the adversities she did all her acting jobs on 100 % and was always admired for it. One of her unforgettable characters was Marie in Romeo and Juliette At the End of November (Romeo a Julie na konci listopadu) but also her supporting roles were very memorable, such as mother Butteau in the TV series F. L. Věk.
Fans remember Stella Zázvorková in her roles of normal everyday people but also for the fact that she was – especially later in life – a serious lady who didn’t like to talk about her privacy. And for an understandable reason – she was briefly married to Miloš Kopecký with whom she her daughter Jana. Both parents were very busy and didn’t have much time for their only child who, moreover, inherited her father’s bipolar disorder. She knew when her mother was coming back from work and attempted demonstrative suicide several times (always just before her mother arrived) until one day Zázvorková stayed outside a little longer chatting with a neighbor and this time, Jana didn’t survive. Stella Zázvorková was incredibly talented and perfect for roles of “normal” people and starred in movies like We’ll Kick Up a Fuss Tomorrow, Darling… (Zítra to roztočíme, drahoušku…) or in the beautiful fairy-tale series Arabela.
Only recently deceased, Hana Maciuchová’s TV presence was very frequent. She starred in the Czech soap opera Ulice (The Street) for the past 15 years as well as in many other TV series (let’s mention also the famous Hospital at the End of the City – Nemocnice na kraji města). Many children remember her as Anče in the children’s series Krkonošské pohádky. Maciuchová was easy to remember for her unusual looks but admired deservedly for her exceptional talent.
Helena Růžičková was not your usual TV beauty like other Czech actresses. Easy to remember as “the fat lady” she actually wanted to be a ballerina when she was young. Her weight didn’t allow her to fulfill this dream but it was definitely an asset in her acting career. Růžičková was the kind of actress you can’t help but remember but not just for her looks! She had a huge talent for comedy and was very direct and natural in her way of speaking. She excelled in the trilogy Slunce, seno… but she made the whole nation laugh with her performance of smaller roles as well, let’s mention for example princess Droběna (“Tiny”) who dragged the prince across the dance floor in the Three Wishes for Cinderella.
Květa Fialová was exceptionally beautiful and charming in her youth but gained even more admiration as an elderly lady. And not just for her roles! The older she was the more frankly she used to speak about her inclination to connection to nature and even started calling herself a witch, although she was actually a buddhist. She was an accomplished theatre actress and from her movie roles let’s remember at least the duchess from the famous B. Němcová’s book adaptation The Grandmother (Babička), Šarlota in Holiday Makers (Účastníci zájezdu) or Tornado Lou in Lemonade Joe (Limonádový Joe).
Now you know 8 legendary Czech actresses. How about getting to know the legendary Czech actors as well?