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Jacob Mendez
Jacob Mendez

Behind the scenes of “Janosik”: Unknown stories of stars that changed their fate

“Janosik”, a cult series that attracted millions of viewers, has become not only a legend of Polish television, but also a milestone in the careers of many outstanding actors. Marek Perepeczko, Anna Dymna, Marian Kociniak – these are just some of the stars who, thanks to their roles in “Janosik”, have forever entered the history of Polish culture.

Although Marek Perepeczko he previously played with Andrzej Wajda and Jerzy Hoffman, this is just a role Janosik in Jerzy Passendorfer's series brought him real popularity. The charismatic figure of the robber leader attracted the attention of viewers. Marek Perepeczko was cast a bit “under the terms”. In his youth, he trained rowing, basketball and bodybuilding, he was 190 centimeters tall and had a muscular figure. He fit Janosik's character perfectly, as it turned out – not only visually.

After the daring role of Janosik, Marek Perepeczko played in several more films. Among them were “Promotion” and “Death of Hitchhikers”. In the 1980s, his wife, Agnieszka Fitkau-Perepeczko, persuaded him to go to Australia. While she was doing great there, the star was falling into more and more stagnation. He missed the country and playing. He even founded an amateur theater and the Temporary Society of Theater Lovers. Witkacy. However, this did not fulfill his artistic ambitions.

The actor returned to the country, where in 1989 he played Commander Władysław Słoik in Maciej Ślesicki's sitcom “13 Post”. Later he was the director of the Adam Mickiewicz Theater in Częstochowa, where he also performed on stage. He died of a heart attack in 2005.

For Ewa Lemańska “Janosik” was the first role in the series. Previously, she played in the theater and in Tadeusz Konwicki's film “How Far From Here, How Close”. In the series, Maryna played the love interest for a handsome harangue so suggestively that viewers suspected them of having an affair. The actors have always denied these rumors, they were both in relationships at the time.

The role of Maryna in “Janosik” turned out to be a curse for Ewa Lemańska. She didn't get any other serious offers because everyone associated her with the hyrax raven. In the early 1980s, she emigrated first to France, then to the United States. There she also did not get significant roles due to her lack of knowledge of the language, but she became a model.

She married four times and always divorced. In the late 1990s, she suffered from cancer. This made Ewa Lemańska interested in medicine, and she finished nursing school. Today he lives in Florida and although he misses Poland, he does not want to return to it.

Even before “Janosik”, the actor played Corporal Wichura in the series “Czterej pancerni i pies”. After the success of “Janosik” Witold Pyrkosz moved from Wrocław to Warsaw. It was a good move, because in addition to theater roles, the actor appeared in many films and series.

He played characteristic roles of underworld hustlers. We remember him as Balcerek from the series “Alternatives 4”, the Dane from the movie “Vabank”, the Varsovian from “Nie ma Mocych”. He was also an unforgettable Lucjan Mostowiak from the series “M jak miłość”. Witold Pyrkosz died of a stroke in 2017. He was buried in the cemetery in Góra Kalwaria, where he lived for the last years of his life.

Bogusz Bilewski before “Janosik” he played mainly in theaters. On the set of the series, he created an unforgettable duet with Witold Pyrkosz, also known as Pyzdra. Their saying “I'll tell you what I tell you, but I'll tell you” has become common language. Bilewski carefully prepared for the role, learning the dialect in highlander pubs. Apparently he wasted several wages and a Trabant this way, but he became the highlanders' favorite flail.

After his role in “Janosik”, Bogusz Bilewski played in many films and series, but these were mainly supporting roles.. He only got his mains on the stage of theatres. He also did dubbing and appeared in radio plays. He died in 1995, at the age of 65. The cause of his death was a hemorrhagic stroke.

Mieczysław Czechowicz even before “Janosik” he was a well-known and popular actor. Directors appreciated his talent, especially comedy. Before playing Count Horvath, the actor starred in the films: “The Wedding”, “Wanted, Wanted”, “Satan in the Seventh Grade” and “His Wife's Husband”. We also remember him from the series “Civil War” and “Czterej pancerni i pies”, as well as from “Cabaret of Old Gentlemen”.

After playing the Count, the actor continued to play character and comedy roles. He played Lusia's father in the film “Nie ma Róża bez dziennik”, he also appeared in “Podróże Pana Kleks”, “Lalka” and “Zwodniki”. His characteristic, warm voice was known to all children watching “Misia Uszatka”. Mieczysław Czechowicz died of heart disease in 1991. He did not live to see his 61st birthday or his long-planned surgery.

Marian Kociniak Even before he starred in “Janosik”, he gained great popularity in the country. It was, of course, brought to him by his role as Frank Dolas in the film “How I Unleashed World War II”. In the series about highwaymen, he played their enemy, a murgrave in the service of Count Horvath.

The success of the series “Janosik” only confirmed the actor's talent. He later appeared in many films and series. We saw him in “Playing with the Devil”, in the series “Jan Serce”, in “Danton” and in “Pan Tadeusz”. For 50 years, he was in a harmonious marriage with Grażyna Kociniak, a film editor. He called her his “only friend.” He died a month after her, in 2016 at the age of 80.

Anna Dymna She became known as an actress while still in college. She appeared in the films “How Far From Here, How Close” and “Raja's Diamond”. The talented and beautiful actress played Countess Clarissa in “Janosik”.. After this role, her popularity continued to grow. We remember her from the films “No Strong”, “Love or Dump”, “The Leper” and “The Quack”. Today, these pictures are considered iconic Polish productions.

At the same time, Anna Dymna did not neglect the theater, performing at the Stary Theater in Krakow, where audiences from all over Poland came to see her performances. The Television Theater often demanded it.

However, Anna Dymna did not limit herself to acting. She lectured at the State Theater School in Krakow and, above all, was socially active. First in many charitable institutions, to establish the “Despite Everything” foundation in 2003. Initially, the foundation was supposed to help the residents of the house in Radwanowice, today it covers the whole of Poland. Despite many social activities, Anna Dymna still plays. We recently had the opportunity to watch her in the Netflix series, “Big Water”.

Jerzy Cnota became an actor by accident. He replaced his friend in the play and he liked it. He got his first film roles while still studying at PWDT in Warsaw, which he completed as an external student. But it was only the role of Gąsior in “Janosik” that brought him real popularity. The actor also played, among others, in Bareja's cult films: “What will you do to me if you catch me” and “Misiu” and in the series “Home”.

Jerzy Cnota also had a political episode. In 2002, he ran for the Silesian Voivodeship assembly on behalf of Anti-Clerical Poland. He died in 2016 in Katowice, the cause of death was a diseased pancreas. He was 74 years old.

Janusz Kłosiński was an actor, director and theater director. Before “Janosik”, he appeared in many films, including “The Story of the Yellow Cat”, “The Two Who Stole the Moon” and “How I Unleashed the Second World War”.. In “Janosik” he was Kuśmidr, a robber with extensive experience.

Poles know his voice from the radio play “W Jeziorany”, where he played the role of Józef Jabłoński. At the same time, he performed in Warsaw theaters and was also the director of the New Theater in Łódź.

Politics overshadowed his career. He was an active member of the Polish United Workers' Party, and after the introduction of martial law, he publicly supported the authorities' decision. For this, he was ostracized in the theater community and among the audience. When he was booed by the audience during the performance of “The Wedding” in 1982, he abandoned his acting career. He died in 2017, a week before his 97th birthday. His last wish was for no one to find out where… he was buried.

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