|Intro||Czech actor (1922-1996)|
|Was||Actor Film actor Stage actor Television actor|
|Type||Film, TV, Stage & Radio|
|Birth||22 August 1922, Prague, Czech Republic|
|Death||16 February 1996, Prague, Czech Republic (aged 73 years)|
|Politics||Communist Party of Czechoslovakia|
Miloš Kopecký (22 August 1922 in Prague – 16 February 1996 in Prague) was a Czech actor, active mainly in the second half of the 20th century.
He was born into the family of a furrier; his mother was a hatter. Since his childhood he was involved with the theatre and music, and after some unsuccessful attempts to study, he chose the career of an actor. He began to appear on the stage in 1939, as a member of an amateur elocution group. During the German occupation of Czechoslovakia he performed with a collective of young artists, Tvar (The Shape). At the end of the Second World War, he was (having one Jewish parent) interned in the labor camp in Bystřice u Benešova. His mother was murdered in the Auschwitz concentration camp. Following the liberation, he took up a career as a professional actor in the avant-garde studio Větrník (from 1945 to 1946), and afterward he was engaged in many Prague theatre scenes. A few years later, he also began to appear in films and gradually became one of the most popular actors in Czechoslovakia. In the mid-1980s Kopecký acted in a politically biased documentary film about emigrants, but, on the other side, he presented a very critical speech against the communist régime in May 1987, at the Fourth Congress of Dramatic Artists. He was married five times, once with Czech actress Stella Zázvorková. For many years Kopecký suffered from manic-depressive disease, partially caused by the death of his mother, who perished in a concentration camp.
Following his engagement in Větrník he appeared in various theatre scenes:
- Divadlo satiry (1946–47)
- Studio Národního divadla (1947–48)
- Realistické divadlo (1948–49)
- Národní divadlo (1949–50)
- Městská divadla pražská (1950–51)
- Armádní umělecké divadlo (1951–54)
- Divadlo estrády a satiry (1954–55)
- Divadlo satiry (1955–59)
- Divadlo ABC (1957–60)
- Hudební divadlo v Karlíně (1964–65)
A turning point in his career came in 1965, when the director František Pavlíček engaged him to the Divadlo na Vinohradech, to which he remained faithful throughout the rest of his life. Nonetheless, he acted as a guest also in other theatres, e.g. in Semafor Theatre, or in Divadlo ABC (ABC Theatre), where he cooperated with another important actor of the time, Jan Werich. Among his most valued roles were Paolino in Pirandello's The Man, The Beast and The Virtue, Professor Higgins in G. B. Shaw's Pygmalion, Harpagon in Molière's The Miser, and many others.
Kopecký was a passionate admirer of film from his early age, and began to appear on screen shortly after the war. His first minor role was in the historic film Jan Roháč z Dubé (1947), but he quickly graduated to more important characters. During his career he played mainly negative roles of bon vivants, elegant intriguers, traitors, debauchees, lechers and villains, which he managed to depict with the great elegance and esprit. Among his most valued roles in film were Chaplain Katz in The Good Soldier Švejk (1956), Hogofogo in Limonádový Joe (1964), the chief of the Czech water-goblins in Jak utopit dr. Mráčka aneb Konec vodníků v Čechách (1974), the villainous Count von Kratzmar in Adéla ještě nevečeřela (1977), and many others. He may be best known today as Dr. Štrosmajer in the Czech television series Nemocnice na kraji města.