8 Polish Hollywood Actresses
small, 8 Polish Hollywood Actresses, golden_eye_fot_screen_prod_east_news.jpg, Izabella Scorupco & Pierce Brosnan in GoldenEye by Martin Campbell, 1995, photo by ScreenProd / Photononstop / East News
Since the era of silent cinema, Polish actresses have been present in the American film industry. Some of them have become recognized performers in the US, with stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. Some are presently trying to make it big in the dream factory. Here is Culture.pl's selection of 8 of the finest Polish Hollywood actresses.
One of the great stars of silent cinema. Negri, who was born in 1897 as Apolonia Chałupiec, started her acting career in Warsaw and moved on to make films in Berlin. At the age of 25, after making a name for herself in Europe, she went to the US, where she starred in such silent movies as Forbidden Paradise and Hotel Imperial. She became a major star whose femme-fatale image was fuelled by stories of her romances with Rudolph Valentino and Charlie Chaplin. After the introduction of sound cinema and a period of making movies in Nazi Germany, her career lost momentum. Negri died in 1987 in San Antonio. She has a star in the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
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The inventor of the shimmy dance. She was born Marianna Michalska in Kraków in 1901 and was taken to the US by her parents at the age of 8. She claimed she invented the shimmy dance when she was working as a dancer at a saloon. This dance, which became a symbol of the 1920s, is all about shaking one’s chemise – hence the name. Thanks to her dancing skills, Gray found work in the movies. She performed in a number of silent American films including Aloma of the South Seas and Lawful Larceny. Like Negri, Gray couldn’t make a successful transition to sound cinema. Gray, whose star can be found in the Hollywood Walk of Fame, died in 1959.
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Her film career started during her studies at the Warsaw State Higher School of Theatre when she played a small part in the 1977 movie Screen Tests which was co-directed by Agnieszka Holland. After performing in a number of Polish films, Zajączkowska moved to Paris and from there she relocated to America. In the US, she acted amongst others in the Oscar-nominated Enemies: A Love Story and in Woody Allen’s Bullets over Broadway. Zajączkowska is currently continuing her acting career in Poland.
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Pacuła’s road to Hollywood also led through Paris. She already had a couple of Polish films under her belt, when, during a trip to the capital of France, she learned that martial law had been introduced in Poland. After a stay in Paris, she decided to go to America where she quickly got the part of a KGB agent in the 1983 movie Gorky Park. This role, for which she was nominated for a Golden Globe, made her famous in the US. Since then, she has played in a number of Hollywood films and but she never quite matched her Gorky Park success.
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Scorupco’s most celebrated film role was probably that of Natalya Simonova, the Bond girl from the 1995 movie about the adventures of Agent 007, GoldenEye. After appearing in that film, she starred in a few Hollywood productions including Exorcist: The Beginning and Reign of Fire, alongside Matthew McConaughey and Christian Bale. Scorupco, who grew up in Sweden, has also starred in Swedish films and sung on the 1991 record Iza which was certified as a gold album in the country.
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She was 7 when she and her family moved from Poland to America. In the US, she attended the prestigious Carnegie Mellon University School of Drama, graduating in 1998. After working as an actress on Broadway, she started to appear in Hollywood films. For example, she acted in 2001’s Rock Star and in 2002’s The Count of Monte Christo. Domińczyk, who is still active as a Hollywood actress, appeared also in last year’s Polish film Jack Strong, which tells the story of the Polish spy Ryszard Kukliński.
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She was born as Izabella Mikołajczak in the Polish city of Łódź. As a teenager, Miko dropped out of the State Ballet School in Warsaw and went to New York, where she attended the School of American Ballet. Unfortunately she had to quit full-time dancing because of injuries. Unable to become a ballerina, she became an actress and landed a role in the 2000 film Coyote Ugly. Following that, Miko appeared in a number of Hollywood productions including the dance film Save the Last Dance 2.
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Rosati studied acting at a few institutions including the Stella Adler Academy of Acting and Theatre in Los Angeles and the Lee Strasberg Institute in New York. She got her first film role in the 2005 Polish thriller Pitbull, where she played a gangster’s daughter. Afterwards she set out to make her mark on Hollywood. As a result she acted, amongst others, in The Iceman, a 2012 US movie about an American hitman with Polish roots, and in the Hollywood comedy Last Vegas, where she appeared alongside Robert De Niro and Michael Douglas.
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Author: Marek Kępa, April 2015