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Famous Czech actor Jan Tříska dies aged 80

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Prague, Sept 25 (CTK) – Czech-born actor Jan Triska, who was living in the United States, died at the age of 80 years in the night, actor and director Jiri Madl told the iDnes.cz server yesterday.

Triska was hospitalised in a serious condition after falling down from the 14th-century Charles Bridge in Prague centre on Saturday.

“This is unfortunately true,” the server cites Madl, who will direct the film Na strese (On the Roof) in which Triska was to play the leading role. The shooting was postponed.

The police are investigating the unclear circumstances of Triska’s fall from the bridge.

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.

Since the collapse of the communist regime in 1989, he has 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).

Triska also played the lead role in Havel’s last drama, The Leaving (Odchazeni), on the stage of Prague’s Archa Theatre, premiered in May 2008.

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

Czech politicians as well as diplomats and Triska’s friends and collaborators from the culture circles remembered him as a great actor and a good man.

“Jan Triska was an excellent actor and an exceptional personality. Czech cinema, theatre and the whole culture will terribly miss him,” Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka (Social Democrats, CSSD) tweeted, in reaction to the actor’s death.

Culture Minister Daniel Herman (Christian Democrats, KDU-CSL) said Czech culture had lost one of the most talented actors as well as an honest and a brave man in Triska.

Defence Minister and former actor Martin Stropnicky (ANO) pointed out that Triska had never lost his love for the homeland though he had been persecuted under the communism.

“I regret it since as far as I know Honza (Jan) was not planning to die anytime… He was fit both physically and mentally, he was able to learn long texts by heart,” Slovak actress and diplomat Magda Vasaryova, who played with Triska in Raduz and Mahulena film from 1970, told CTK.

She also pointed out that the former communist regime had ousted Triska and made him leave the country.

Translator and English studies scholar Martin Hilsky, expert in William Shakespeare who has translated his complete works, has long cooperated with Triska in the popularisation of Shakespeare’s work. He said Triska was “every inch a professional.”

“Czech-American film and theatre legend Jan Triska died. Rest in Peace,” the U.S. embassy in Prague tweeted today.

British Ambassador Jan Thompson also mentioned Triska’s death on Twitter. “Sad news, loss of a great Shakespearean actor, too,” she wrote.

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