The Slovenia Times

Legendary actor Jurij Souček dies

Actor Jurij Souček (1929-2024). Photo: Katja Kodba/STA

Jurij Souček, an award-winning film and stage actor who lent his voice to cartoon characters that generations of Slovenians have grown up with, has died aged 94.

Souček appeared in around 150 roles on stage and in nearly 600 radio plays, as well as in films, but his most endearing roles were when he dubbed cartoon characters such as Piggeldy & Frederick, Fix the Maxi Dog, Flip from Maya the Bee and David the Dwarf.

Souček not only dubbed cartoons but also translated and directed them.

He was born in Ljubljana on 5 April 1929 to Czech parents, who left their homeland during an economic crisis to find a new home in Slovenia.

Theatre was his big romance from his childhood, but he hesitated to tell his parents that he was not attending only a commercial school but also a drama school.

On graduating, his first job was at Ljubljana's national theatre Drama in 1953, where he stayed until 1989 except for a short break as a freelancer.

He also worked with experimental theatre groups, playing Creon in the Antigone by Slovenian playwright Dominik Smole in 1960. He had his own theatre troupes as well.

He appeared in TV comedy skits along with comedian, singer and writer Frane Milčinski - Ježek (1914-1988), and in several films, including the hugely popular 1957 romantic drama Don't Whisper, Don't Wait Until May and the 1987 youth TV series A Real Pirate.

Among the life-time achievement awards he won the Borštnik Ring, the top accolade for theatre actors, in 1994, the entertainment award Victor in 2005, and the Ježek Prize for satire in 2018.

When awarding him the Ježek Prize, the public RTV Slovenija praised his innovative approach to theatre, and how he embraced new media from the beginning of his career.

His "artistic contribution to radio art is invaluable", the public broadcaster said. Over the decades he also became "one of the most recognisable faces and voices of Slovenian television".

Over the last year of his life he wrote an autobiography about his long and creative life, which will be released this year by Beletrina titled Glej ga, Součka! (Look at Him, Souček!).

As tributes poured in for the actor, many would thank him for making their childhood happier with his memorable roles.

"With his unique talent and human warmth, Jurij Souček made an inimitable mark on Slovenian theatre, television and film," President Nataša Pirc Musar said.

"We are grateful to him because he made our childhood more fairy-tale-like, something we will never forget," she added as she expressed her deepest condolences to his family.

National Assembly President Urška Klakočar Zupančič thanked Souček for "a childhood full of witty roles in theatre, film, radio and, above all, those aimed at children".

"How many times as children we would fall asleep to your voice saying, 'Good night, children', and now we can say, 'Thank you, dear Jurij, and good night'," she added.


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