Acclaimed actor Jerzy Trela passes away, aged 80

Photo: PAP

Prominent Polish theatre and film actor Jerzy Trela has passed away on Sunday at the age of eighty. Famous for his excellent stage performances in “Dziady” by Adam Mickiewicz, “Wyzwolenie” by Stanisław Wyspiański, and Shakespeare’s “Hamlet,” he also starred in over seventy films and one hundred and forty plays broadcast by Teatr Telewizji on Polish state television. The actor was based in Kraków and from 1970 he worked at the local Old Theatre.

Jerzy Trela masterfully built a variety of roles, using his unique, slightly raspy voice and distinctive looks. One of his greatest stage roles in the recent years was the main role in “Wielkie kazanie księdza Bernarda” based of Leszek Kołakowski’s treaty about the Polish redemptorist priest Bernard Alojzy Łubieński – at the Kraków Theatre Scena STU.

Among his most memorable cinematic performances were roles in Filip Bajon’s “Magnat,” Krzysztof Kieślowski’s “Three Colours: White,” Kazimierz Kutz’ “Śmierć jak kromka chleba” and Andrzej Wajda’s “Pan Tadeusz.”

In 2010, Jerzy Trela received the title of Master of the Polish Language, awarded under the patronage of Polskie Radio. While accepting the honour, the actor encouraged the Poles to remember about the poetry of Jan Kochanowski, Adam Mickiewicz and Zygmunt Krasiński in their everyday lives.

For many decades, he worked with Teatr Telewizji and Teatr Polskiego Radia. He lectured at the Ludwik Solski Academy for the Dramatic Arts in Kraków, and was the rector of the academy in 1984–1990.