Prague, Oct 6 (CTK) – Hundreds of people turned up in Prague’s National Theatre (ND) on Friday to pay last respects to Jan Triska, a popular Czech actor living in the United States in the past 40 years, who died after a fatal accident in Prague late last month, aged 80.

Excerpts from Triska’s best known films and neverending standing ovations crowned the half-hour mourning ceremony.

Apart from flowers from Triska’s family, the coffin was flooded with flowers and wreaths from President Milos Zeman, Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka, the Culture Ministry, the Czech Philharmonic Orchestra, actress and former first lady Dagmar Havlova and several theatre houses including the ND, where Triska’s artistic career started.

Triska’s fellow actors alternated as honorary guards at his coffin.

The mourners included Triska’s widow, former Czech actress Karla Chadimova, and their two adult daughters, and also actress Marie Tomasova, Triska’s frequent female partner in a number of legendary productions in the 1960s.

“Let’s try not to reproach God for having covered your guardian angel’s eyes for a moment. You had a wonderful project ahead yourself. What can be better than to leave and be aware that they still want me?” one of the speakers, theatre director Martin Huba, said to the late Triska in an allusion to a film he was to start shooting in Prague these days.

Speeches were also delivered by ND director Jan Burian, Culture Minister Daniel Herman and translator Martin Hilsky, who cooperated with Triska during the annual Prague open-air festivals of Shakespeare’s plays.

Triska died on September 25 after falling down from the historical Charles Bridge in Prague centre on the day before.

Triska, a good friend of the late president and dissident Vaclav Havel, was one of the most talented actors of the young generation in the 1960s when he was dubbed Czech Marlon Brando.

He fled the communist Czechoslovakia for the West in 1977. Later, he moved with his family to the United States and they settled down in Hollywood in 1982.

Triska appeared in 44 U.S. films, including Oscar-winning Milos Forman’s Ragtime and People vs Larry Flynt, and on the stage abroad.

After the collapse of the communist regime in 1989, he often played in Czech theatre productions and in films, for instance, in Jan Sverak’s The Elementary School (Obecna skola, 1991), which was nominated for Oscar, and his latest Barefoot (2017).

He played the lead role in Havel’s last drama, The Leaving (Odchazeni) premiered in Prague in May 2008.

Triska received a medal of merit from president Havel in 2002.