The film life of the first Romanian scammer: Iosefini ran away with the circus at 13 and made waves in Romanian cinema

Iosefini was the first and greatest Romanian illusionist. He ran away with the circus, and his life is, without any doubt, suitable to be transposed into a film script.

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Aurel Iosif, known to Romanians as Iosefini

Iosefini, passionate about stage and circus since childhood

Aurel Iosif was born in 1916 (the exact date of his birth is unknown) and died on ) In the time between his birth and death, the artist truly lived a life of film.

When he decided that the stage was for him, he chose his stage name Iosefini (it should be noted that it is pronounced Iozefini).

Throughout his career, Iosefini was a well-known illusionist, delighting entire generations of Romanians, but particularly the young ones, and at times Nicolae Ceaușescu.

For more than twenty years he was the director of the State Circus in Bucharest, but he also worked at the State Circus from its foundation until 1993. A year later, Iosefini left the living.

He is now considered the first and greatest illusionist in Romania.

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At the same time, he acted in films and wrote countless film scripts, and his life was, in turn, one taken from a film script.

At the age of 13, little Aurel would run away from home and take a job in a circus. In other words, he was “running away with the circus”, only in his case the expression is not at all figurative.

The American Mery King, a great magician of his time, learned the craft.

He began his career with performances in villages, in houses of culture, then came to Bucharest, where he conquered even the public here. He was the grandson of the actress Margareta Baciu, from whom he inherited the passion for theatre and, in general, for stage appearances.

Iosefini had a son, Leonard Alexandriuc, who was born out of wedlock, so he did not keep his surname but lent him his stage name. Over the years, Leonard Iosefini has also made a name for himself in illusionism.

Iosebini in the film Brigada Diversew with Dem Raduescu and Puiu Calinescu
Snapshot from Brigada Diverse in Action, a film in which Iosefini also starred. Pictured from right to left: Puiu Călinescu, Jean Constantin and Dem Rădulescu

Iosefini, in the cinema, as “written in the books”

However, his work did not stop at the circus and that was it. As mentioned earlier, Iosefini also made a huge contribution to Romanian cinema before 1989.

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Among his most important films are D-ale Carnivalului, from 1959, Brigada Diverse Intră in Azione, from 1970, Rețeaua S, from 1980, Saltimbancii, from 1981 and Saltimbanc la Polul Nord, from 1982.

Several books have been written about him over the years, as well as articles in the press. He has been called, by turns, “the illusion salesman”, “magician”, and so on.

In 1958, Iosefini wrote an autobiography which he called “Memoirs of a Trickster”, and a year later “How to Guess the Future” appeared on the market, and in 1991, three years before his death, he wrote his last book called “How to Become an Illusionist. Tricks and Tricks of Illusionism”, published by Junimea Publishing House.

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Aurel Iosif (Iosefini) on the film set in Buftea

Iosefini was once said to have been loyal to the communist regime. This claim was denied by his son Leonard Iosefini years later. “Not true! My father was no friend of the regime! I know there was a moment when Coana Leana, in a certain context, told him to hold his tongue. I met Nicu at the bar where my father worked. He was respectful. (…) Through me, my father lives! I took his stage name after he died in ’94. I launched myself as Leonardo!”.

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