Lovers of old Romanian films may remember George Constantin because of the multitude of impressive roles he played in some of our country’s best-known pre-Revolutionary productions.
The great actor George Constantin met an end you wouldn’t wish on anyone else, as we’ll tell you below.
George Constantin, an actor who started from the bottom but kept the bar high
It may well be that, for the younger generations, George Constantin’s name doesn’t mean much, even though he was one of the leading actors of Romanian cinema during the communist period.
George Constantin died 29 years ago, at the age of only 60. He died much too soon, because of a great suffering caused by the truncated way in which the Romanian housing system worked at that time.
Basically, it can be said that the talent with which he delighted Romanians for years was inversely proportional to what he received from life.
He was born into a modest family in Bucharest in 1933, and from a young age was forced to face life as best he could. He was poor and had to make a living as best he could, working in various obscure places to put bread on the table.
He tried to help his mother who was a housewife, so his youth was not exactly “milk and honey” either. He attended a professional school, not knowing that, years later, he would become one of the greatest actors Romania has ever had.
A year after his admission, fate had it that a teacher at the Pedagogical School in Bucharest was looking for young people for a role in a play by Caragiale. Having charisma and some talent, George Constantin was chosen to play the famous role of Ipătescu in A Lost Letter. After this moment, the young George Constantin, together with his good friend Gheorghe Cozorici, decided in 1951 to take the entrance exam to the National Institute of Theatre and Cinema “I L Caragiale”, about which he tells in an interview – Playtech News reported two years ago.
“When I took the entrance exam to the Theatre Institute in 1951, I fell. The following year, to be even more sure, I took both the Theatre and the Film. I remember, I went with Gheorghe Cozorici to the University Square and we flipped a coin to go. We dropped the Theatre”, the actor once told.
After graduating from the institute, he was transferred to the Nottara Theatre, to which he dedicated a good part of his life.
During his youth he also met Tamara Buciuceanu’s sister, the mezzo-soprano Iulia Buciuceanu, whom he married in 1961. The two would become the parents of another famous and beloved actor, named Mihai Constantin (you know him from Liceenii).
Nationalization, the Constantin family curse
Together with his wife and their son Mihai Constantin, George Constantin lived almost all his life in a nationalized house, assigned by the Communists before the fall of the regime.
The 1989 revolution led to drastic changes in the system, and nationalised houses began to be returned to their rightful heirs.
But as one man’s luck is another man’s misfortune, the actor was put in the unfortunate position of being kicked out of the house he had known all his life.
All of this grief over the loss of his home, mixed with a series of health problems he was already suffering from, was the key to George Constantin’s failure.
He was no longer able to cope with the pressures and problems, so on April 30, 1994, he left the scene of life for good at the age of 60.