The actor Radu Beligan, rightfully considered “an immortal master”, died on Wednesday at the age of 97, in a hospital in Bucharest, following a cardio-respiratory arrest.
Being extremely passionate in his job, the master spent on the stage of the Romanian theater more than 75 years, celebrating 97 years also by working, on December 14, 2015. In 2003 he was included in the Guinness World Records as the most long-lived actor still activating on the stage. He loved Romania as much as the stage and, being asked many times if he wished to leave, he had always the same answer: never.
“I am born with Greater Romania and I am cord tied to her. I can’t leave. I had the chance to leave three times. I’ve never thought that I could ever leave Romania. I love my country and I will never leave her, no matter what could happen to me here”, master Radu Beligan confessed in an interview.
Radu Bleigan was one of the most appreciated artists of the national theater stage. He played together with important actors, performing both inside the country and abroad. The famous actor interpreted grandiose roles throughout his career, such as characters of the playwrights belonging to the Romanian and universal literature including: Ion Luca Caragiale, Barbu Stefanescu Delavrancea, Camil Petrescu, Tudor Musatescu, Mircea Stefanescu, Victor Ion Popa, Victor Eftimiu, William Shakespeare, Carlo Goldoni, Nicolai Vasilievici Gogol, Anton Cehov, George Bernard Shaw, Maxim Gorki, Albert Camus, Jules Romain, Eugen Ionescu, Peter Shaffer, Patrick Süskind, Neil Simon, Umberto Eco.
Master Radu Beligan was born on December 14, 1918, in Galbeni, close to the city of Roman. He followed Law and Philosophy between 1937 and 1938, using the scholarship offered by the faculty to pay his fees at Conservatory, but he also followed the Royal Academy of Music and Dramatic Art, where his teacher was Lucia Sturdza Bulandra. His debut on the stage was in the show “Crime and Punishment” by Dostoyevsky. In the first years of his career he performed at the “Queen Mary” Theater (1937-1938), at “Uranus” (1938-1939), at the Sarindar Theater, at the “Comedy” Theater, at Municipal. Late in the ‘40s, there was founded even the “Radu Beligan” Company. In 1961, he founded The Comedy Theater, being its manager for eight years (1961-1969). On January 5, 1961, the first performance of this theater was presented to the public, namely “The Famous 702” by Alexandru Mirodan, directed by Moni Ghelerter, starring Radu Beligan. On the same stage, the actor also played roles in the plays “The Chief of the Souls Sector” (“Seful sectorului suflete”) by Alexandru Mirodan (1963), “Rhinoceros” by Eugene Ionesco (1964), “The Duck Head” by George Ciprian (1966), “The Public Opinion” by Aurel Baranga (1967), “The Killer” by Eugene Ionesco (1968).
Between 1969 and 1990, Radu Beligan was the director of the Bucharest National Theater. Throughout his career, he played more than 80 roles in theater and 30 roles in films. He also had a rich activity both in the radio and TV world.
The actor was married three times, his last wife being the writer Marica Beligan, who passed away in 1993. They have three children: Lamia (actress), Raluca and Alexandru.
After his death was announced, several actors and politicians wished to express their regret. President Klaus Iohannis was also among them.
“Life is a stage, Shakespeare would say. Today, Radu Beligan, the perfect epitome of an actor, left the stage. His personal energy devoted to the public all through his life left a fundamental massage: nothing can be built without abnegation, trust in the fundamental values of humanity or without love. The public applause was his sweetest song and greatest boost, and may they accompany him in eternity. We will remember Radu Beligan each time the curtain rises and falls. May God rest you in peace, Master!” Iohannis wrote on Wednesday in a Facebook post.
Culture Minister Corina Suteu published on her Facebook page a message to express her regret for the death of the actor and director Radu Beligan, who marked a generation in the Romanian theater, according to her.
“I regret the death of the actor Radu Beligan and I express condolences to the family and to the close ones. The disappearance from among us of the great actor marks the disappearance of a generation which marked the Romanian theater history. He played famous roles, in masterpieces of the Romanian and universal dramaturgy, works signed, among others, by Ion Luca Caragiale, Barbu Stefanescu Delavrancea, Camil Petrescu, Tudor Musatescu, Mihail Sebastian, William Shakespeare, Carlo Goldoni, Nicolai Vasilievici Gogol, Anton Cehov, George Bernard Shaw, Maxim Gorki, Albert Camus, Eugen Ionescu or Jean Anouilh. May God rest him in peace!” is the message of the dignitary.
The actor Mircea Diaconu spoke on Wednesday about the disappearance of the master Radu Beligan, stating that it’s similar to his appearance, meaning it is “under a sign of light”, and mentioning also that all the actors who had a professional contact to Beligan have learned something from him.
“His disappearance is similar with his appearance. His appearance was under a sign of light and all his life lasting a century was exactly like this, and I believe there was no actor (…) who had a professional contact to Radu Beligan and who didn’t learn something from him. In what concerns me, he taught me a lot of things, all kind of things – life issues, professional issues, behavior issues, and even things about eating. He was a totally special man and he lived his life in his unique style”, Diaconu stated for Agerpres.
Metropolis Theater Director George Ivascu stated for the same source that Radu Beligan was a “very generous” man and that he was imaging that he will celebrate 100 years of life for the artist.
“I was sure that we’ll celebrate 100 years of life for Radu Beligan. He was a very generous man”, he stated.
The great actor Florin Piersic confessed that he will love Radu Beligan forever.
“Radu Beligan was my partner in movies and at the theater. In 1979 he said: ‘My dream is to have a play with you, that’s how you liked to me”, he said that to me. I am talking about “Strangers in the Night”, which he translated and prepared for me. I told him: “My soul loves yours. I will love you until the end of my life”, Piersic said.
The academician Razvan Theodorescu also stated that Beligan’s death is “an irreparable loss”.
“This is really terrible news. I was an admirer of the greatest Romanian artist of all time and I had the great honor to know him. He was an exceptional talent. A wide culture, an exceptional man. It’s an irreparable loss for the entire Romanian nation”, said the academician with regret.
The actor Alexandru Arsinel stated that the great Romanian Actor guided him and gave him courage in the moments when “the idea of abandoning was upon us”.
“It’s a moment of mourning for the Romanian theater. It’s a moment which we have to feel and honor one way or another by not abandoning the path. May God rest him in peace!”, Arsinel also said for Mediafax.