Current Affairs Czech theatrical legend Jiří Suchý turns 80
The popular Czech actor, singer, songwriter, playwright, painter, screenwriter and director Jiří Suchý turned 80 on Saturday. In top form, the living legend of Czech theatre received standing ovations at a special concert he held to celebrate his birthday at Prague’s Semafor theatre.
The multitalented artist and performer, Jiří Suchý has long been a household name in this country. Generations of Czechs hum the hits he co-wrote with composer Jiří Šlitr, the other half of a 1960s comic duo which produced hundreds of songs featured in musicals and films.
Born on October 1st 1931, Jiří Suchý co-founded the Semafor theatre in Prague in 1959. The theatre soon achieved a cult status, produced some of the biggest pop hits and launched the careers of many a Czech singer and actor.
The golden era came to an abrupt end after the untimely death of Jiří Šlitr in 1969. After some deliberation, Suchý decided to carry on with their work. However he fell from grace after he signed a document supporting the anti-communist opposition and much of his work was blacklisted by the authorities. He was forced to step down as director of Semafor, a post he returned to after 1989. But the free market environment brought new challenges and his theatre repeatedly experienced financial difficulties. It was put to the biggest test in 2002 when its premises were destroyed by the catastrophic floods that hit the Czech capital – but Jiří Suchý never gave up and continued writing new plays and performing.
After more than 50 years onstage Jiří Suchý has no plans to retire. Having premiered a new musical recently he has now kicked off a special concert tour around the Czech Republic to mark his 80th birthday.