Orphaned as a child and raised by nuns, she saw her home bombed in the war: the story of Sanda Toma, the actress with a life in the movies

Sanda Toma was one of our country’s most celebrated stage and film actresses.

You most likely remember her if you watched Post Meridian, Magazin 111, Album Duminical or Zig-Zag at some point before the 1989 Revolution.

Sanda Toma - archive image
Sanda Toma – archive image

Sanda Toma, an acclaimed and award-winning actress

Sanda Toma was born in 1934, in the capital, and attended the Saint Mary’s Institute, and later the Gheorghe Lazar High School.

Although, at first, she oscillated between Polytechnics and Letters, she chose, to everyone’s great fortune, the “I.L. Caragiale” Theatre Institute. Here, he ended up in Aurea Buzescu’s class.

Throughout her career, Sanda Toma has presented television shows, acted in countless plays, on the biggest stages of the country, but also in films.

Among the latter, the following are worth mentioning: Bădăranii (1960), Darclee (1960), Zestrea (1972), Tufă de Veneția (1977), Harababura (1991) or Crucea de piedra (1994).

He also had a role in a 1995 television film called Nobody Lives Here Anymore.

She received the UNITER Prize for Lifetime Achievement in 2002, the Order of Labour 3rd class, the Order of Cultural Merit 4th class (1967) “for outstanding merits in the field of dramatic art”, the 3rd prize for acting in the Republican Competition in 1959, and the 2nd prize for acting in the “Young Artists in Dramatic Theatres Competition” in 1957.

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Moreover, for years she could be seen in plays on the stages of the Craiova National Theatre, the Comedy Theatre and the National Theatre.

Sanda Toma – stamp – photo source: Wikipedia

Her life was not the happiest, but she went on

At one point, Sanda Toma was asked if it had happened to her, like everyone else, to have regrets in life. She didn’t hesitate to answer, obviously.

“Honestly? Yes! If I thought about my peace of mind, my health, my daily life, I would have to answer: No! But I say: Yes! Once, Radu Beligan told me: you’re proud, from any role you want to do something! I detest mediocrity. I want to do everything thoroughly, thoroughly, well. If that means pride, then I am also proud”, said the actress at the time.

As for her early life, Sanda Toma recalled that it wasn’t exactly the happiest.

She was born at a time when the geopolitical context was creaking at the seams, with the threat of World War II marking every aspect of normal life.

She was orphaned at the age of 5 months, and years later was forced to leave the home she knew for fear of bombing. The fear came true, and the house was indeed destroyed.

She lived for a time in a shelter with her aunt, and until the age of 13 she studied at St. Mary’s Institute with the nuns, as mentioned earlier in this article.

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“In those days all little girls were church doors. It was a boarding house run by German, French, English, even Romanian nuns. I had Simona Bondoc, who was to become my colleague, Paula Iacob, the lawyer, and the daughters of Princess Ileana as my colleagues.

I had good company. And the nuns would play with us at recess and were very good at education. Imagine seeing a whole school of girls crying because their teachers were leaving. After the 1948 education reform, the school was abolished and they left,” Sanda Toma told Libertatea more than 10 years ago.

At the age of 16, Sanda Toma faced another challenge. Her father had already remarried, and she wasn’t sure where life would take her.

“She came to the theater by chance, at the suggestion of friends. “The one with whom I fulfilled my dream of love was my colleague at the Comedy Theatre, Mihai Pălădescu. He became my friend, my lover, my life and stage partner. We managed to form a couple and it’s not easy at all.

Michael was more than my husband, he was my brother and my child. I wish I could have had a child with him, but… we were too busy with the theater. And anyway, I wouldn’t want him to think I was forcing him to marry. I had been much too married, and he was a confirmed bachelor,” Sanda Toma also said, according to the source quoted above.

Sanda Toma passed away recently, on November 26, 2022, at the age of 88.

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