Jerzy Oskar Stuhr (Polish pronunciation: [ˈjɛʐɨ ˈʂtur]; born 18 April 1947) is one of the most popular, influential and versatile Polish film and theatre actors. He also works as a screenwriter, film director and drama professor. He served as the Rector of the Ludwik Solski Academy for the Dramatic Arts in Kraków for two terms: from 1990 to 1996 and again from 2002 to 2008.
Stuhr in 2018
Jerzy Oskar Stuhr
18 April 1947
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.
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 and nearby countries, he is probably best known for the part of Max in Juliusz Machulski's 1984 dystopian cult comedy Seksmisja (one of the most popular Polish movies), and – to a younger 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 The Decalogue series (1988), Machulski's Kingsize (1987), Kiler (1997) and Kiler 2 (1999), and Zanussi's Life for Life (1988). Stuhr also worked with Polish directors Agnieszka Holland, Andrzej Wajda and Krzysztof Zanussi.
In 1985, Stuhr made his own directorial 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. In an interview with The Krakow Post Stuhr admitted that Italian cinéaste Nanni Moretti influenced his approach to filmmaking.
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 an actor in his own right, who has played alongside his father in Kieślowski's Decalogue X (1988), Pogoda na jutro (2003), and Love Stories (1997). His daughter, Marianna (born 1982) is an artist, painter.
In 2004 he was a member of the jury at the 26th Moscow International Film Festival. He is the chairman of the board of supervisors at Cracow's Józef Tischner Children's Hospice and has been a supporter of this foundation since 2004.
He has worked with RMF FM and has also written books such as Escape forward! (Ucieczka do przodu !) and The Stuhrs: Family Stories' (Stuhrowie: Historie Rodzinne).
In Autumn 2011 Stuhr suffered what he thought was a severe throat infection, but eventually he was diagnosed with laryngeal cancer. He spent most of the following eight months in hospitals in Gliwice, Kraków and Zakopane, undergoing treatment including surgeries, radiotherapy, and chemotherapy. His daughter, herself a cancer survivor, advised him to write a diary to keep himself mentally busy during that difficult time. In 2012 it was published by Wydawnictwo Literackie publishing house under the title Tak sobie myślę... (which roughly translates as So I am thinking...). His illness was widely covered by Polish media, and he received feedback from cancer patients around the country for whom his openness was comforting. Eventually he described his cancer as "the most important role of my life". As of April 2013, his cancer is in remission and he resumed both stage and voice acting.
Awards and recognition
11 November 1997, by decision of President Aleksander Kwaśniewski, in recognition of his prominent addition to Polish national culture Jerzy Stuhr was awarded the Commander's Cross of the Order of Polonia Restituta.
12 November 2008 he received Złota Kaczka (Golden Duck) being chosen the century's best actor of comedy.
Stuhr was appointed to the European Film Award for his fourfold role in Love stories. He is a laureate of the Venice Film Festival. He also has received numerous other Polish and international awards in recognition of his work, including:
- Polish Academy Life Achievement Award (2018)
- Order of the Smile (2014)
- Special Award of the Gdynia Film Festival for his film Obywatel (2014)
- Honoris Gratia Award (2012)
- Commander's Cross with Star of the Order of Polonia Restituta (2011)
- Honorary degree of the University of Silesia in Katowice (2007)
- Best Script Award at the Gdynia Film Festival to the film Korowód (2007)
- Golden Medal for Merit to Culture – Gloria Artis (2005)
- Order of Merit of the Italian Republic (2000)
- Paszport Polityki (1997)
- Golden Lions Award at the Gdynia Film Festival for his role in the film Love stories (1997)
- Special Award of the Gdynia Film Festival for his role in the film Spis cudzołożnic ("List of Adulteresses") (1994)
- Golden Cross of Merit (1989)
- Witkacy Prize - Critics' Circle Award (1988)
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 Laffer character in Larry 7 game.
|Polish title||English title||Year||Role|
|Habemus papam—Mamy papieża||We Have a Pope||2011||Marcin Rajski|
|Korowód||Twists of Fate||2007||The Rector|
|Il caimano||2006||Jerzy Sturovsky|
|Persona Non Grata||2005|
|Pogoda na jutro||Tomorrow's Weather||2003||Józef Kozioł|
|Duże zwierzę||Big Animal||2000||Zygmunt Sawicki|
|Vita altrui, La||The Other's Life||2000|
|Down House||2000||Gen. Ivolgin|
|Tydzień z życia mężczyzny||A Week in the Life of a Man||1999||Adam Borowski|
|Historie miłosne||Love Stories||1997||The teacher/The priest/Col. Matałowski/Zdzisio|
|Matka swojej matki||Mother of mother||1996|
|Spis cudzołożnic||List of Lovers||1995||Gustaw|
|Trzy kolory: Biały||Three Colors: White||1994||Jurek|
|Uprowadzenie Agaty||Hijacking of Agata||1993||Agata's Father|
|Życie za Życie||Life for Life: Maximilian Kolbe||1991||Prałat|
|Dekalog X||Thou Shalt Not Covet Thy Neighbor's Goods||1989||Jerzy|
|Obywatel Piszczyk||Citizen Piszczyk||1989||Jan Piszczyk|
|Déjà vu||1990||Johnny Pollack|
|Kingsajz||King Size||1988||Nadszyszkownik Kilkujadek|
|Pociąg do Hollywood||Train to Hollywood||1987||The Director|
|Bohater roku||Hero of the Year||1987||Ludwik Danielak|
|Luk Erosa||Cupid's Bow||1987||Stanisław Cięglewicz|
|Śmierc Johna L.||The Death of John L||1987||Coalminer from Bytom|
|Ga, Ga - Chwała bohaterom||Ga-ga: Glory to the Heroes||1986|
|O-bi, O-ba – Koniec cywilizacji||O-Bi, O-Ba: The End of Civilization||1985|
|Rok spokojnego słońca||The Year of the Quiet Sun||1984||Adzio|
|Seksmisja||Sexmission||1984||Maksymilian 'Maks' Paradys|
|Dziady (TV)||1983||Belzebub/Master of Ceremonies/Valet|
|Matka Królów||Mother of Kings||1983|
|From a Far Country||From a Far Country: Pope John Paul II||1981||Engineer|
|Wojna światów - następne stulecie||The War of the Worlds: Next Century||1981|
|Spokój (TV)||Peace||1980||Antek Gralak|
|Aktorzy prowincjonalni||Provincial Actors||1980|
|Szansa||Chance||1980||Zbyszek Ejmont, history teacher|
|Wizja lokalna 1901||Inspection of the Crime Scene 1901||1980|
|Amator||Camera Buff||1979||Filip Mosz|
|Bez znieczulenia||Without Anesthesia||1978||Jerzy Porębowicz|
|Wodzirej||Top Dog||1978||Lutek Danielak|
|Blizna||The Scar||1976||Bednarz's assistant|
|Przyjęcie na dziesięć osób plus trzy (TV)||Guest in front of Employment Agency||1973|
|Trzecia część nocy||The Third Part of the Night||1971||Laboratory assistant|
Director and screenplay writer
|Polish title||Year||English title|
|Korowód||2007||Twists of Fate|
|Pogoda na jutro||2003||Tomorrow's Weather|
|Duże zwierzę||2000||Big Animal|
|Tydzień z życia mężczyzny||1999||A Week in the Life of a Man|
|Historie miłosne||1997||Love Stories|
|Spis cudzołożnic||1995||List of Lovers|
- "Jerzy Stuhr profile". culture.pl. Retrieved 23 May 2007.
- "Jerzy Stuhr – Biografia". Onet.pl. Archived from the original on 2 July 2007. Retrieved 23 May 2007.
- Burkot, Stanisław (4 April 2009). "Wrastanie w Kraków" (in Polish). e-teatr.pl. Archived from the original on 17 October 2010.
- "An Interview with Jerzy Stuhr". krakowpost.com. Retrieved 17 September 2013.
- Dominika Dębek and Dorota Smoleń. "Maciej Stuhr Biography" (in Polish). Onet.pl. Retrieved 14 August 2007.
- "26th Moscow International Film Festival (2004)". MIFF. Archived from the original on 3 April 2013. Retrieved 6 April 2013.
- "Jerzy Stuhr heads Odessa Film Festival jury".
- Jerzy Stuhr, Tak sobie myślę, Wydawnictwo Literackie: Kraków 2012.
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