Bekim Fehmiu (Albanian: [bɛˈkim fɛhˈmiu]; Cyrillic: Беким Фехмију; 1 June 1936 – 15 June 2010) was a Yugoslavian theater and film actor of Albanian ethnicity. He was the first Eastern European actor to star in Hollywood during the Cold War.
|Died||15 June 2010 (aged 74)|
Fehmiu was born in Sarajevo, Yugoslavia, into an ethnic Albanian family from Gjakova, Kosovo. His father Ibrahim adopted his high-school nickname Fehmiu as a surname replacing the original Imer Halili. The family moved to Shkodër, Albania, where they spent three years, and in 1941 returned to Yugoslavia to Prizren, Kosovo, where Bekim spent his childhood. He was part of the acting club at his high school in Prizren, and after graduation he became a member of County Popular Theatre in Pristina, the only professional Albanian language theatre in Yugoslavia. He graduated from the Faculty of Dramatic Arts (FDU) in Belgrade in 1960.
Fehmiu's big break was the 1967 film I Even Met Happy Gypsies, a subtle portrayal of Roma life which won two awards in Cannes and was nominated for an Oscar. Known for his macho appearance and mild manner, Fehmiu was then wooed by Western filmmakers and signed a contract with the Academy Award-winning producer Dino De Laurentiis. It was De Laurentiis who, in 1968, cast him as Odysseus in the acclaimed mini-series of The Odyssey. It was the first blockbuster of Italian television and made Fehmiu an icon in parts of Europe.
Fehmiu seemed poised for stardom in Hollywood as well, but his first American film, The Adventurers, was a critical and financial disaster which "ruined any chances for Fehmiu to achieve similar stardom in Hollywood". In 1971, Fehmiu starred in the western action drama The Deserter, directed by Burt Kennedy. In 1973 he played the role of the busy father in Raimondo Del Balzo's heartbreaking film The Last Snows of Spring, and then in 1975 played the role of ex-politician Alexander Diakim in the movie Permission to Kill, with Ava Gardner and Dirk Bogarde. In 1976, Fehmiu starred as fictional murdered Luftwaffe pilot, Hans Reiter in Tinto Brass's film, Salon Kitty alongside Helmut Berger, Ingrid Thulin and Teresa Ann Savoy. He portrayed a Palestinian terrorist in John Frankenheimer's 1977 political thriller, Black Sunday. Despite his Hollywood films achieving little success, he did well in European art house cinema as well as in the theatre, the latter being his preferred medium. He portrayed the father of Mother Teresa, Nikola Boyaxhiu, in the 1982 film La Voce (The Voice). He acted as Joseph in the Italian production A Child Called Jesus (1987). He was to have acted in the movie Genghis Khan (1992), but it was ultimately never made.
In 1987, in protest at the Yugoslavian government's treatment of Kosovar Albanians, he walked off the stage at the Yugoslav Drama Theatre in Belgrade during the play Madame Kollontai by Agneta Pleijel. He left the stage, and soon after, film.
Fehmiu was found dead on 15 June 2010 in his apartment in Belgrade. Initial reports stated he committed suicide. Interior Minister Ivica Dačić said Fehmiu was found shot in his apartment and the gun was registered in Fehmiu's name. He was 74 years old. His body was cremated and the ashes were scattered in Prizren Bistrica in Prizren, his childhood home.
The New York Times dubbed Fehmiu the "Yugoslav heart-throb" for his youthful conquests and acquaintances with the likes of Brigitte Bardot and Ava Gardner. Decades after his last appearance on the screen, readers of a leading Italian women's magazine voted him one of the ten most attractive men of the 20th century.
Fehmiu appeared in 41 films between 1953 and 1998. He was one of the first Albanian theater and film actors to act in theaters and movies all over Yugoslavia, with Abdurrahman Shala, Faruk Begolli and Enver Petrovci, appearing in a series of roles that changed the history of the Cinema of Yugoslavia and left a mark in the artistic developments elsewhere. By the end of his career he had acted in film productions in nine languages, including Balkan languages, French, Spanish, English and Italian.
|1961||Tu ne tueras point||Čuvar u čekaonici||Uncredited|
|1962||Saša||Marić, poručnik Kraljevske vojske|
|1964||Pod isto nebo||Kerim|
|1965||Ko puca otvoriće mu se|
|1966||Morgan: A Suitable Case for Treatment||Uncredited|
|1966||Vreme ljubavi||Milija, trubač||(segment "Put")|
|1968||Uzrok smrti ne pominjati||Mihajlo|
|1970||The Adventurers||Dax Xenos|
|1971||Klopka za generala||Doktor – obaveštajac OZNE|
|1971||The Deserter||Capt. Victor Kaleb|
|1973||The Last Snows of Spring||Roberto|
|1974||Il gioco della verità|
|1974||Il testimone deve tacere||Il dottor Giorgio Sironi|
|1975||Cagliostro||Count Alexander Cagliostro / Giuseppe Balsamo]|
|1975||Libera, amore mio...||Sandro Poggi|
|1975||Pavle Pavlović||Pavle Pavlović|
|1975||Permission to Kill||Alexander Diakim|
|1976||Salon Kitty||Hans Reiter|
|1977||Disposta a tutto||Marco|
|1977||Black Sunday||Mohammed Fasil|
|1977||Special Education||Vaspitač Žarko Munižaba|
|1978||Stići pre svitanja||Esad Ljumi|
|1979||Partizanska eskadrila||Major Dragan|
|1981||Široko je lišće||Baja|
|1982||Pavilón seliem||Kalmán Furtek|
|1985||Crveni i crni||Ivan Pipan|
|1992||Genghis Khan||unfinished film|
|1997||Balkan Island: The Last Story of the Century||Mentor|
|1968||L'Odissea||Ulisse||International TV mini-series|
|1968||Prljave ruke||TV film|
|1972||Paljenje Rajhstaga||[Georgi Dimitrov]||TV short|
|1979||I vecchi e i giovani||Aurelio Costa||TV mini-series|
|1987||Un bambino di nome Gesù||Joseph||TV mini-series|
|1987||Poslednja priča||TV film|
|1989||Disperatamente Giulia||Armando Zani #2||TV mini-series|
|1998||Il cuore e la spada||Gormond||TV film|
- "Veteran actor dies". 16 June 2010. Archived from the original on 7 June 2011. Retrieved 28 June 2010.
- "Bekim Fehmiu forse suicida" (in Italian). 16 June 2010. Archived from the original on 4 April 2012. Retrieved 28 June 2010.
- "Kosova President Sejdiu remarks on Fehmiu" (in Albanian). 16 June 2010. Archived from the original on 13 August 2011. Retrieved 28 June 2010.
- "Film Obituaries: Bekim Fehmiu". The Daily Telegraph. London. 16 June 2010. Archived from the original on 24 January 2011. Retrieved 4 February 2011.
- Ćirić, Sonja (24 June 2010), Blistavo i strašno (in Serbian), Vreme
- Uliks Fehmiu: Životopis moga oca Bekima (in Croatian)
- Bekim Fehmiu. IMDb
- Obituary London Daily Telegraph, 8 July 2010.
- Tragičan odlazak Bekima Fehmiua (in Serbian)
- Suicida l'attore Bekim Fehmiu, fu celebre in Italia nei panni di Ulisse Archived 19 June 2010 at the Wayback Machine (in Italian)
- "Yugoslav Movie Star Bekim Fehmiu Found Dead". balkaninsight. Archived from the original on 18 June 2010. Retrieved 17 June 2010.
- "Bekimi në Prizren" (in Albanian). Pristina, Kosovo: Gazeta Express. 21 June 2010. Archived from the original on 24 June 2010. Retrieved 3 July 2010.
Pesë ditë pas vetëvrasjes së aktorit të madh Bekim Fehmiu, hiri i trupit të tij u hodh në Lumbardhin e Prizrenit, qytet të cilin e ka konsideruar si shtëpi të veten. Ky ishte amaneti i tij, që familjarët e përmbushën të dielën.
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