Bulgarian acting legend Stefan Danailov passes away at 76

Photo: BGNES

One of Bulgaria’s most emblematic and best-loved actors of the past several decades, Stefan Danailov, has passed away this morning at the age of 76 in a Sofia-based hospital where he was kept in a state of induced coma for some time. The favourite actors of several generations of Bulgarian film and theatre fans had been diagnosed with Parkinson's disease and also suffered from a serious cancer.

Born on 9 December 9 1942 in Sofia, Danailov made his movie debut was in 1956 when he was just 13 years old. At the age of 27, he starred in the film series Na vseki kilometer (At Every Mile), starring intelligence major Nikolai Deyanov, code-named Sergei, who is involved in the fight against fascism. The series enjoyed great viewer interest, it was aired in all Socialist countries of the time, viewed in far-off China, as this role brought immense popularity to Stefan Danailov.

In 1966, Danailov graduated with a degree in acting from the Krastyo Sarafov Higher Institute of Theater Arts. This was followed by his appearances in the films The Prince and The Black Angels, which opened the doors to fame even more widely for him. For these reincarnations, Stefan Danailov was honoured in 1969 with the Best Actor Award at the Golden Rose Festival in Varna. His involvement in the Italian film series La Piovra, whose plot revolves around the Italian police's fight against the mafia, also makes him famous outside Bulgaria. In his long-lasting career, Danailov played more than 150 roles on screen and stage, which have won him numerous Bulgarian and foreign awards and the highest recognition for the actor - the love of the audience.

In 1988, Stefan Danailov began teaching at the Krastyo Sarafov Higher Institute for Acting. The students adored him and considered it an honor to be his students, calling him with the friendly and respectful "The Master".

Until recently Danailov could still be seen on the theatre stage - his last theatrical participation was in the production of The Actress by Peter Quiller at the Ivan Vazov National Theatre. In his latest interview with the Bulgarian National Radio in April this year on the Horizont channel, Stefan Danailov said: “I am an opponent of sadness, although I am in the grip of sadness at times, but after all, one has to look at things more cheerfully so that one can overcome any adversity, problems, illnesses."

After the democratic changes in Bulgaria following the collapse of Socialist, in addition to being an actor and university professor, Stefan Danailov also appeared as a left-wing MP in the National Assembly and Minister of Culture.

Even though he is now gone from this world, he will remain forever in the hearts of his audience. A bow to his memory!

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