The Romanian actor who was always on the back foot and hiding terrible suffering: Ștefan Bănică Senior lost his whole family, and his health was hanging by a thread

Who doesn’t remember Ștefan Bănică Senior? Obviously, there is no Romanian born before the Revolution who does not know who the great actor was.

It was enough to spend New Year’s Eve in front of the television, on TVR, and you would see Ștefan Bănică Senior, most of the times with his stage partner, Stela Popescu.

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Ștefan Bănică Senior, with his stage partner, the late actress Stela Popescu

Ștefan Bănică Senior, the child of a lute player: his parents wanted him to become a lawyer

Ștefan Bănică Senior was born on 11 November 1933, in a modest little house in the town of Călărași, and died on 26 May 1995, in the capital. He was one of the most important Romanian comedy actors of all times.

He also distinguished himself, throughout his career, in terms of music, being a skilful soloist with a “playful” voice.

When his family moved to Bucharest, having been artistically inclined since childhood, he had the opportunity to sing in the children’s choir on the radio and performed in theatre shows for young children.

He was the son of a lute player, and his parents hoped to make him a lawyer, since his father had faced several lawsuits throughout his life and was deeply impressed by the skill of the lawyers who represented him.

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However, his sun was different.

He graduated from the IATC in 1955 and has since appeared in countless films: Hello… You’ve got the wrong number!, The Big Holiday, Beyond the Barrier, Sunday at 6, Golgotha, The Outlaws, Shots on the Carrier, The Tunnel, Chief of the Soul Section, The Bikers Are Coming, The Miscellaneous Brigade Goes Into Action, Songs of the Sea, The Miscellaneous Brigade on Alert!, Vifornița, The Landlords, The Pacho, Fair Play, September, Cyanide… and a Drop of Rain, Alone Among Friends, Nea Mărin the Billionaire, Why Do the Bells Ring, Mitica, A Lost Letter (TV Show), Music is My Life, Harababura and, finally, in The Most Beloved of All Earthlings.

Ștefan Bănică Senior Theatre and Film Actor
Ștefan Bănică Senior

In the theatre, Ștefan Bănică Senior has distinguished himself on stage in O scris scrisdută, …escu or Bachiat bun, dar… cu lipsuri.

Moreover, as mentioned above, the artist also loved music, releasing eight studio albums, all under the Electrocord label.

In memoriam, the actor and singer received a star on the Alley of Fame in the Time Square in the capital in 2016 (World Theatre Day) in recognition of his vast career.

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Audiences will always remember him for his funny couplets with the late Stela Popescu.

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Ștefan Bănică Senior, with his son, Ștefan Bănică Junior

Ștefan Bănică Senior lost almost all his family

Despite the fact that Ștefan Bănică Senior always appeared to be a jovial and easy-going guy on stage, his life was not always all “milk and honey”.

He managed to hide, for the sake of the public, his great sufferings, including three heart attacks. “His health problems were the tribute he paid for the efforts he made, for the faith he had in his profession,” his son Ștefan Bănică Junior once said.

Moreover, the actor lost most of his family in an extremely short time. In a few years, his mother, brother and second wife would die. “My father was a guy who loved life and that was what he felt most strongly about. He was a bonviveur, but he knew how to hide his troubles when they arose. Many times, his life wasn’t exactly rosy,” his son also confessed.

And while we’re on the subject of “sons”, although it is generally known that he had a son, the famous junior, the senior had another son, Alexandre Silviu, whom he married to a fashion designer named Irina.

Both died before their time: Irina of a terrible illness in 1985 and his son in a car accident in 2001.

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