Who doesn’t remember the New Year’s Eve parties with Dem Rădulescu, Stela Popescu, Alexandru Arșinel or Mișu Fotino? For years, the latter dominated the country’s stages, along with his colleagues.
He detested mythicism, coarseness and triviality with all his being, as he was to declare in an interview with Teatrul magazine in June 1971, and the word that best characterises him is “romantic”.
Mishu Fotino loved the stage more than anything, and his greatest love affair, if one can call it that, was with the theatre itself.
Mișu Fotino, total artist on the paternal line
His real name is Mișulică Fotino, he was born on September 14 in Bucharest and was one of the most important Romanian theatre actors, also working in cinema.
He spent his childhood in Brasov, and his father, Mișu Fotino senior, founded the State Theatre in that city. At the same time, the two Fotinos were seen performing on stage on numerous occasions together
“I made my debut in 1937, that is, at the age of 7, in the play Coloniale, alongside Maria Filotti, Talianu, Maximilian, Nora Piacentini and a young hopeful, Silvia Chicoș. We were two Fotinos, father and son. For this reason we temporarily interrupted our studies in class l.
Among the creations of the first age I also remember my participation in a film in which Mihai Popescu played the main role: The Lady on the Second Floor. I then attended Matei Basarab High School (at that time I lived in Popa Nan) and, as it couldn’t be more natural, I wanted to be an actor. In 1948 I graduated from high school”, said, in 1971, Mișu Fotino Jr. for the magazine Teatrul.
In 1959, he was awarded the title of Emeritus Artist, but also the Order of Cultural Merit in the rank of Commander “in appreciation of all his activity and for the dedication and interpretative talent put at the service of the scenic art and the show”, after the Revolution, more precisely in 2004, at the initiative of the former president, Ion Iliescu.
At the 14th edition of the UNITER Awards Gala, on April 3, 2006, Maestro Mișu Fotino was awarded for his entire activity.
Among his most famous films, the following are worth mentioning: Telegrame, Porto-Franco, Codin, Politica e Delicatese, Titanic-Vals, Elixirul Tinereții, Chirița în Iași, Sexy Harem Ada Kaleh, Barul de Sîmbătă Seara or Amprenta.
Furthermore, he did voice dubbing for the Tarzan series, as well as Disney’s The Great Adventure of the Piglet.
“If I hadn’t been an actor, I would have dreamed of becoming an artist”, said Mișu Fotino in 1999, in an interview with Formula As.
The great sorrow of an eternal lover of theatre: what kept him from being happy
In his last years of life, few people know that Mishu Fotino lived a real drama.
He passed away on 13 January 2014, at the age of 83, but in the latter period he was no longer completely well, as he himself was to confess.
In 2005, the actor suffered a stroke that forever changed his destiny. This sad event forced him to part forever from his great love, the theatre. Although, in his old age, he used to spend his time walking in the park with his little grandson, whom he called “Arșinel”, the longing for the stage never gave him peace. He felt incomplete, and that was because he had been acting for decades, from a young age.
Asked at one point what regrets he had, Mișu Fotino said: “Well, first of all, because I can no longer do my job and secondly because I am handicapped. It changed my life and I understood, I accepted it, I kept quiet and… the rest is silence”.