Jacob Mendez
Jacob Mendez

Marek Kondrat opens up to new passions. Why did acting fall by the wayside?

Not so long ago Marek Kondrat he planned to spend the autumn of his life in his Spanish home, but had to give it up so that – as he confessed in an interview – his daughter Helena could receive a thorough education.

A dozen or so years ago, Marek Kondrat decided to give up acting, but few people believed that he would survive without acting. And yet his new passion absorbed him so much that he doesn’t even want to hear about returning to the big screens. The retired actor is today one of the largest tycoons in the wine industry in Poland, and his company (he runs it with his sons from his first marriage) is known throughout Europe.

He was a 10-year-old boy when made his debut in front of the camera in “The history of the yellow beetle”. Some time later, when he had to choose a profession, he had no doubts about what he wanted to do in life. He didn’t become an actor by accident – all the men in his family were actors, so he simply decided that acting was the only profession he could pursue. Thanks to his father – Tadeusz and uncle Józef – he learned the pros and cons of working in theater and film from the inside. He took the exams at the capital’s theater school – as he jokes – out of family obligation.

“It was obvious to me that after passing the high school final exams, I would go to study acting. But I had no ideas about my future in this profession. I can’t say that I entered college with a strong determination to prove to everyone what a dazzling talent I had.”

Less than two years after graduating, Marek played the main role in the famous films “Enchanted areas”. Although he revealed an unprecedented talent in Janusz Majewski’s film (he even received the Zbyszek Cybulski Award for his performance), he had to wait a long time for the audience’s love. Only participation in “CK Dezerterach” caused him to start winning popularity polls and taking part in the first Polish soap opera “In the maze” – although disregarded by critics – won him crowds of admirers.

However, Marek Kondrat considers the day of its premiere to be the moment of his second birth “Psów” Władysław Pasikowski. Critics then wrote that the most extraordinary acting transformation in recent years took place before the eyes of the audience, because a subtle young man and a prankster full of comedic verve turned into a tough guy endowed with features previously unseen in Polish cinema – sensitivity, warmth and intelligence.

“I was invented by Władek Pasikowski and Boguś Linda” – Kondrat recalled, adding that in 1992, thanks to his participation in “Dogs” he suddenly found himself in an environment dominated by people younger than him “from a fresh hand”.

Although Marek Kondrat gained the status of a megastar, and each subsequent one after that “Dogs” he proved with this role that he was an outstanding actor, suddenly – and it happened in 2007 – he decided to end his career. Only once was he persuaded to return to the film set, but by participating in… “Little Matura 1947” he finally said goodbye to a profession that simply no longer satisfied him. And then he was born for the third time.

The fact that Marek Kondrat left acting does not mean that he retired. Today he is one of the most respected wine experts in Europe. However, he denies rumors that he is the owner of the vineyard.

“I don’t have any vineyard. I don’t know anything about this. I only import wines and I love talking about them” – he said “Gazeta Wyborcza”.

The 73-year-old former actor has been living with Antonina Turnau for over a decade, with whom he had a daughter in 2018. He jokes that his younger wife and child make him forget how old he is.

I don’t feel the passage of time. I experience what is given to me because of my own openness to life. I started over. I took a young woman as my wife out of pure love, we have a daughter. In short – I am happy” – he said in an interview with the magazine “Free Saturday”.