Prolific actress Jiřina Jirásková dies aged 81
On Monday afternoon, a popular theater, television and film actress Jiřina Jirásková passed away in her Prague home at the age 81 after a prolonged illness. Her acting career spans over sixty years and hundreds of roles.
“As a person she was a temperamental, funny and sarcastic lady, which is a well-known fact about her. What’s more, she was a beautiful and elegant woman, well into old age. But she also had something I would call male humour. She was able to hold her own against the sarcasm of such great actors as Miloš Kopecký or soft innuendoes of Vlastimil Brodský. I was terribly lucky that I had the chance to see her as a young actor on stage in the 1980s.”
At the age of 19 Jiřina Jirásková began acting at a theatre in Hradec Kralove, but a year later, in 1951, she came to Vinohrady, where she appeared throughout her life. In the first decade after the fall of communism, she took on a new role at the theater, becoming its director in May of 1990. Although she left that post a decade later, she remained with the ensemble and appeared in a number of roles in the past few years.
She was seen as one of the last great theatre actresses of the older generation. But she also had personal qualities that attracted many friends and admirers. Jiřina Bohdalová, who appeared with Jirásková in a number films, said this on Monday evening on Czech Television:
“I lost a partner, a friend, the god-mother of my grandson. If I were to say it in short, she was one of the best women in my life.”
Ms Jirásková was given a number of awards throughout her life, even receiving recognition from President Václav Klaus in 2006. In March of last year, she was also awarded the silver medal by Prague’s mayor for a remarkable contribution to the city’s cultural scene. On Monday night, fans brought flowers and lit candles outside the Vinohrady theatre where Ms Jirásková’s spent sixty years of her life.