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    Bekim Fehmiu


    Bekim Fehmiu


    Bekim Fehmiu (Albanian: [bɛˈkim fɛhˈmiu]; Cyrillic: Беким Фехмију; 1 June 1936 – 15 June 2010) was a Yugoslavian theater and film actor of Albanian ethnicity. He was the first Eastern European actor to star in Hollywood during the Cold War. In 1960, Fehmiu became a member of the Yugoslav Drama Theatre in Belgrade, which he left in 1967, citing bad treatment, to become a free artist. Fehmiu's big break was the 1967 film I Even Met Happy Gypsies, a subtle portrayal of Roma life which won two awards in Cannes and was nominated for an Oscar. Known for his macho appearance and mild manner, Fehmiu was then wooed by Western filmmakers and signed a contract with the Academy Award-winning producer Dino De Laurentiis. It was De Laurentiis who, in 1968, cast him as Odysseus in the acclaimed mini-series of The Odyssey. It was the first blockbuster of Italian television and made Fehmiu an icon in parts of Europe. Fehmiu seemed poised for stardom in Hollywood as well, but his first American film, The Adventurers, was a critical and financial disaster which "ruined any chances for Fehmiu to achieve similar stardom in Hollywood". In 1971, Fehmiu starred in the western action drama The Deserter, directed by Burt Kennedy. In 1973 he played the role of the busy father in Raimondo Del Balzo's heartbreaking film The Last Snows of Spring, and then in 1975 played the role of ex-politician Alexander Diakim in the movie Permission to Kill, with Ava Gardner and Dirk Bogarde. In 1976, Fehmiu starred as fictional murdered Luftwaffe pilot, Hans Reiter in Tinto Brass's film, Salon Kitty alongside Helmut Berger, Ingrid Thulin and Teresa Ann Savoy. He portrayed a Palestinian terrorist in John Frankenheimer's 1977 political thriller, Black Sunday. Despite his Hollywood films achieving little success, he did well in European art house cinema as well as in the theatre, the latter being his preferred medium. He portrayed the father of Mother Teresa, Nikola Boyaxhiu, in the 1982 film La Voce (The Voice). He acted as Joseph in the Italian production A Child Called Jesus (1987). He was to have acted in the movie Genghis Khan (1992), but it was ultimately never made. In 1987, in protest at the Yugoslavian government's treatment of Kosovar Albanians, he walked off the stage at the Yugoslav Drama Theatre in Belgrade during the play Madame Kollontai by Agneta Pleijel. He left the stage, and soon after, film. Fehmiu was found dead on 15 June 2010 in his apartment in Belgrade. Initial reports stated he committed suicide. Interior Minister Ivica Dačić said Fehmiu was found shot in his apartment and the gun was registered in Fehmiu's name. He was 74 years old. His body was cremated and the ashes were scattered in Prizren Bistrica in Prizren, his childhood home. Description above from the Wikipedia article Bekim Fehmiu, licensed under CC-BY-SA, full list of contributors on Wikipedia.

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    Bekim Fehmiu

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