Gustav Nezval

18 Nov 1907
17 Sep 1998
Film Industry
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Gustav Nezval (18 November 1907 – 17 September 1998) by civil name Augustin Nezval, was a Czech stage and film actor.

Nezval was born to a locksmith family of Frantisek Nezval and his wife Aloisia. The parents wanted him to become a priest. However he managed to finish a technical college and for some time he earned his living as a building designer. He never attended any school of dramatic art.

His enthusiastic passion for theatre brought him to make some acting attempts on the amateurish stage. Later he began to perform in various road show theatre companies.

Still later he successively became a stage actor of Intimni Theatre in Prague (1930–1931), of South Bohemia’s Theatre in České Budejovice (1931–1932), of Svanda’s Theatre in Prague (1932–1934), of Vlasta Burian’s Theatre in Prague (1934–1935), of National Theatre in Ostrava (1935–1938), of National Theatre in Brno (1938–1941), and finally of Vinohrady‘s Theatre in Prague (1941–1977).

Even after his retirement in 1977 he still from time to time performed on Vinohrady’s stage as a guest-actor till his last and final appearance before the public in 1997.

Thanks to his impressive masculine stature, handsome face with expressive eyes, along with charming manners heightened by a pleasant and resonant voice he, at first, impersonated various lover characters.

As he aged, he began to adapt to more various roles, thus starting his career as a classical actor, appearing subsequently in plays of the Czech national literature and the world literature as well (Tyl, Jirasek, Vrchlicky, Langer, Sramek, Capek, Hasek, Sophocles, Lope de Vega, Molière, Flaubert, Strindberg, Rostand, Schiller, Goldoni, Gorkij, Balzac, Lermontov, Pushkin, Tolstoi, Shakespeare, at al).

In July 1937 he married a stage dancer Gertrude Nettel with whom he lived till her death fifty seven years later and with whom he had two sons. He had two hobbies which he gave all his free time to. He loved literature and gardening.

He began to appear in films in the end of the thirties.

Nezval made his very film debut in a comedy film “Jarcin professor” distributed in 1937. His performance attracted attention of several leading Czech film directors. This resulted in his appearance in many similar films made in a quick succession.

One of his most well known films had become “Jan Cimbura”, – film based upon a novel of the very same name of the one of the nineteenth-century Czech literature classics, J.S. Baar.

Shortly after the war he appeared in a title role in the film “Muzi bez kridel, alias Men without Wings, alias Les Hommes sans ailes”, which was later honoured by the Golden Palm Award in Cannes Film Festival in 1946. In many films he was a partner of several most famous Czech movie star-actresses of that era.

One of them was Mrs.Lída Baarová. His last film role, shot in his ninetieth year, was a supporting role in a war drama “Je třeba zabít Sekala, alias Sekal has to die”. Altogether he appeared in 52 films between 1937 and 1998.

He appeared in radio and TV as well.

Some of these appearances belonged however to the beginning of TV broadcasting (in the early fifties) in Czechoslovakia and therefore many of them have not been recorded.

Gustav Nezval died on 17 September 1998, two months before his ninety first birthday.

Seven years after his death Pavlína Vajčnerova published in 2005 his biography titled „Gustav Nezval – oči spíše sympatické“

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