Legendary actress, famously nicknamed the Dame of Polish theatre. Born on November 11th, 1912; died on January 31st, 2014, at the age of 101.
The Polish audience remembers her mainly for her roles as rulers, queens, aristocrats, and noble ladies, which earned her the position of the ‘queen of PRL theatre’. Andrycz was married to Józef Cyrankiewicz, the Prime Minister of the People’s Republic of Poland between 1947 and 1968.
From 1935, she played on the stage of the Polski Theatre, where she took more than 100 roles. The audience could see her play Maria Stuart in Julisz Słowacki’s play, and Queen Margaret in Shakespeare’s Richard III. She would also impersonate St. Joan of Arc, Cleopatra, and pani Dulska from Gabriela Zapolska’s play.
Andrycz is also known for numerous roles in TV Theatre, where she would appear regularly from the early 1950s up until the 70s. She also appeared in cinema productions, albeit rarely: in films such as Warsaw’s Premiere (Warszawska premiera) by Jan Rybkowski (1950) or The Contract (Kontrakt ) by Krzysztof Zanussi (1980). In 2008, she played herself in the film Before Twilight (Jeszcze nie wieczór).
In interviews, the artist would repeatedly express the belief that her acting roles compensated for her lack of drive to have children. “My roles are like my daughters – beautiful, irrational, wise, silly, they are all different. When ‘I gave birth’ to Maria Stuart, I was so tired, I can’t imagine a real birth causing so much pain” – she stressed in a conversation with a journalist from the 'Wysokie Obcasy' weekly.
In the same interview, she admitted that she was just never keen on having children, even if her husband, Józef Cyrankiewicz, could not sympathize with that. At some point, she wrote a poem to her unborn daughter – a child she had aborted. She explained: "If [the Catholic Church] is right, and my daughter is suffering, then I want to sincerely apologize her. I am able to do this much.”
For many years, Nina Andrycz would declare her date of birth to be 11 November, 1915. At the end of 2013, an article appeared, in which the true date of the actress’ birth was revealed: 11 November, 1912, in Brześć upon the river Bug.
It was her mother who came up with the idea of falsifying her birthday:
” If the AK (Home Army) was favourable towards you, you could obtain any documents you wanted. So [my mother] brought a new Kennkarte. Her guess was that the occupation might have lasted several years, and that, if she deducted those three years from my age, I would be better off when looking for a husband” – she explained in said article in ‘Polityka’ magazine.
She authored the novel My rozdwojeni (Us, Split) and numerous poems, collected in several volumes, e.g. To teatr (This is Theatre), Róża dla nikogo (Rose for Nobody), and the memoir Bez początku, bez końca (No Beginning, No End), in which she reveals stories about how her acting career developed, and about her marriage with Cyrankiewicz, whom she does not refrain from praising as a wonderful man and caring husband. Despite her fondness of the man who was the Prime Minister, she continued to stress that she would hate to go back to the world of politics. “When the obligation to attend parties was over, I felt relieved” – she confessed – “I got married to a leader of the independent Polish Socialist Party (Polska Partia Socjalistyczna - PPS). And then I saw how tormented he was by his colleagues. “
In 2013, Andrycz’s book Patrzę i wspominam (I Watch and I Recall), containing collected writings from her younger years, was published.
In 1996, the actress was awarded the Commander's Cross with Star of the Order of Polonia Restituta.
Source: PAP (Polish Press Agency), wysokieobcasy.pl, Ed. AM, January 2014
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