Rade Šerbedžija

Rade Šerbedžija (Serbian Cyrillic: Раде Шербеџија, pronounced [rǎːde ʃerbědʒija]; born 27 July 1946) is a Croatian and Serbian actor, director and musician.[3] He is known for his portrayals of imposing figures on both sides of the law. He was one of the best known Yugoslav actors in the 1970s and 1980s. He is internationally known mainly for his supporting roles in Hollywood films such as Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1, X-Men: First Class, The Saint, Mission: Impossible 2; his role as Boris the Blade in Snatch; and for his recurring role as former Soviet Army General Dmitri Gredenko in Season 6 of TV action series 24.

Rade Šerbedžija
Раде Шербеџија
Rade Serbedzija.jpg
Šerbedžija at the 12th Satellite Awards in December 2007
Born (1946-07-27) 27 July 1946 (age 75)
Other namesRade Sherbedgia
  • Croatia
  • North Macedonia
  • Slovenia[1]
  • Serbia[2]
Years active1967–present
Ivanka Cerovac
(m. 1969; div. 1987)

(m. 1991)
Children5, including Danilo and Lucija

Šerbedžija’s work has earned widespread acclaim and accolades. He is a four-time recipient of the Golden Arena for Best Actor, Croatia’s highest filmmaking honors. He won the Critics Award for Best Actor at the 51st Venice International Film Festival for his performance in Before the Rain (1994). His performance in the Canadian film Fugitive Pieces (2007) was nominated for a Genie Award and Satellite Award. He was awarded the International Press Academy’s Mary Pickford Award, an honorary award “for Outstanding Artistic Contribution to the Entertainment Industry”, in 2019.[4] The same year, he won his second Vladimir Nazor Award for “Lifetime Achievement - Film Art”.[5]

Early life

Šerbedžija was born in the village of Bunić in the Lika region of Croatia, then part of Yugoslavia.[3] His parents were ethnic Serbs who fought in the Second World War as Partisans. Šerbedžija was raised an atheist.[6]

Career in Yugoslavia

In 1969, he graduated from the Academy of Dramatic Arts of the University of Zagreb and then worked as a theatre actor in the City Drama Theatre Gavella and at the Croatian National Theatre in Zagreb.[7] While still a student, Šerbedžija started to play leading roles in films and theatre productions.[8] His stage roles included Oedipus and Richard III.[9] His performance as Hamlet in 1974 in Dubrovnik catapulted him into stardom.[8]

Šerbedžija landed his first major film role in 1968 in the Branko Ivanda-directed Gravitation.[10][11] He had various notable roles in Yugoslav films, among others in Bravo maestro (1978), Journalist (1979), Banović Strahinja (1981), Kiklop (1982) and San o ruži (1986).[10] He was also among the leading actors in several TV series, such as in Prosjaci i sinovi (1971), U registraturi (1976), and Putovanje u Vučjak (1986).[10]

Šerbedžija taught as a professor at the University of Zagreb from 1979 to 1981 and at the University of Novi Sad from 1987 to 1991.[10]

Šerbedžija was one of the most well-known actors in Yugoslavia,[12][13] in addition to being one of the most beloved.[14] Prior to leaving his home country, Šerbedžija had starred in over 40 films.[8] He was also one of the main supporters of the KGPT Yugoslav theater,[13] a project initiated to unite the different Yugoslav state theaters into a single troupe.[15]

Šerbedžija is a four-time recipient of the Golden Arena for Best Actor at the Pula Film Festival; in 1978 for Bravo maestro,[16] in 1986 for Evening Bells (Večernja zvona),[17] in 2010 for 72 Days (Sedamdeset i dva dana),[17] and Fishing and Fishermen's Conversations (2020).[18]

In 2000, Šerbedžija founded the Ulysses Theater with Borislav Vujčić on the Brijuni islands.[13][19] In a co-production between the Ulysses Theatre and the National Theatre in Belgrade, for his role in the 2019 adaptation of Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?, Šerbedžija received the Zoran Radmilović Award,[20] the Croatian Theatre Award for Best Actor in a Leading Role,[21] and the Orlando Award.[22]

International career

As war broke out in Yugoslavia, Šerbedžija initially moved to Serbia in 1992, then Slovenia before eventually spending some time London, England at the invitation of actor and friend Anthony Andrews.[8] While in London, Šerbedžija met with Macedonian-American director Milcho Manchevski who cast him in his 1994 film Before the Rain.[13] The performance earned him a Critics Award for Best Actor at the Venice Film Festival.[23]

Prior to leaving Yugoslavia, Šerbedžija appeared in two films that were released in the West; Hanna's War (1988) and Manifesto (1989).[8]

Šerbedžija has had supporting roles in Hollywood films such as Mission: Impossible 2, Mighty Joe Young, The Saint, Eyes Wide Shut, Snatch, and Space Cowboys among others.[24] He is usually known for playing villains.[11][25]

He had a cameo in Batman Begins; he was asked to reprise his cameo role in The Dark Knight, but declined.[citation needed]

In 2001, he starred in a television production of Rodgers and Hammerstein's musical South Pacific as French plantation owner Emile de Becque.[26] He also appeared in the BBC spy-thriller show Spooks for one episode as a villain. In 2005 he played Captain Blake in Rupert Wainwright's remake of The Fog,[27] and had a supporting role in the NBC science fiction series Surface.[28] In 2007 he played Athos Roussos in Jeremy Podeswa's feature film adaptation of Anne Michaels' novel Fugitive Pieces.[29]

His performance in the Canadian film Fugitive Pieces (2007) was nominated for a Genie Award[30] and Satellite Award for Best Supporting Actor.[31]

He portrayed Dmitri Gredenko on the sixth season of the hit Fox show 24.[32]

In 2009 Šerbedžija was cast in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 1 as the famous foreign wandmaker Gregorovitch.[33] In 2014, Šerbedžija appeared in six episodes of Downton Abbey as Prince Kuragin,[34] a Russian exile and long-ago lover of the Dowager Countess Violet Crawley, portrayed by Dame Maggie Smith.

Other work

Šerbedžija is also known for his poetry readings and music. He has released four poetry books and four music albums.[35] He recorded the award-winning ballad "Ni u tvome srcu" with Bosnian vocalist Kemal Monteno.[36] While in London, Šerbedžija stayed at actress Vanessa Redgrave's residence and the two became friends.[8] With Redgrave, Šerbedžija founded the Moving Theatre Company.[14]

In 2017, Šerbedžija signed the Declaration on the Common Language of the Croats, Serbs, Bosniaks and Montenegrins.[37]

Personal life

Šerbedžija married Ivanka Cerovac in 1969.[38] They have a son, film director Danilo (b. 1971), and a daughter, actress Lucija (b. 1973).[38] The couple divorced in 1987.[38]

Šerbedžija met his second wife, Lenka Udovički, the sister of Serbian politician Kori Udovički, in Subotica in 1990 and they married in 1991.[39] With his second wife, he has three daughters: Nina, Vanja, and Mimi. The girls grew up in London during their early years, then moved to California due to their father's acting career.[13]

Šerbedžija's parents left Vinkovci as Serb refugees for Belgrade in 1991, due to the Croatian War of Independence.[40]

In 1992, while at a club in Belgrade, an intoxicated youth swore at Šerbedžija, calling him "Serb traitor", then shot his gun in the air.[41] The youth himself was from Lika, as was Šerbedžija.[41] Šerbedžija took his wife and at the time, only daughter Nina, and left Zagreb and Belgrade, and settled in Ljubljana, Slovenia.[42][40] Šerbedžija has called himself "Yugo-nostalgic",[43] and in 2011, said that times were better in Socialist Yugoslavia than now.[41] Šerbedžija owns property in London, Hollywood, California, Rijeka, and Zagreb. As of January 2011, he reportedly spends most of his time in Rijeka together with his wife Lenka.[40]

Šerbedžija is a citizen of Croatia, North Macedonia, and Slovenia.


Year Title Role Notes
1966 Prikupljanje hrabosti Skalper TV film
1966 Sedam sati i petnaest minuta Tomica TV film
1967 Iluzija Mladic koji ubija Branka
1967 Black Birds
1968 Osveta Short film
1968 Seansa
1968 Maratonci TV series; 1 episode
1968 Gravitation Boris Horvat
1969 Dio è con noi
1969 Sedmina - Pozdravi Marijo Niko
1969 Meteor TV film
1969 Čamac za kron-princa TV film
1970 Sam čovjek TV miniseries; 3 episodes
1970 Papagaj Mladić
1970 Passing Days
1970 Red Wheat Južek Hedl
1970 Kainov znak Milan
1971 The Pine Tree in the Mountain Domobran kicoš
1971 Prosjaci i sinovi Matan Špalatrin TV series
1971 Putovanje na mjesto nesreće Vlatko
1972 Poslijepodne jednog fazana Obijesni mladić
1972 Rođendan male Mire
1972 Zvezde su oči ratnika Učitelj Rade
1973 Pelikani
1973 Živjeti od ljubavi Davor
1973 Begunec Ivan
1974 Acting Hamlet in the Village of Mrdusa Donja Hamlet
1974 Tojota Korola 1000
1974 Obešenjak
1974 Nocturno Lucio
1974 Obraz uz obraz Himself TV series; 1 episode
1974 The Republic of Užice Četnički oficir Kosta Parac
1974 U registraturi Ivica Kicmanović TV series; 7 episodes
1975 Pesma Mića Ranović TV series; 6 episodes
1976 The Republic of Užice Četnički oficir Kosta Parac TV series; 1 episode
1977 Noćna skela
1977 Hajka Lado
1977 Nikola Tesla Nikola Tesla TV series; 9 episodes
1978 Bombaški proces Josip Broz Tito
1978 Bravo maestro Vitomir Bezjak
1979 Journalist Vlado Kovač
1979 Živi bili pa vidjeli
1979 The Return Komandir milicije
1979 Usijanje Tomo
1979 Ivan Goran Kovačić Ivan Goran Kovačić TV film
1980 Sedam plus sedam Himself TV series; 1 episode
1980 Gospodjica
1981 Tuga
1981 Duvanski put Tomo
1981 Banović Strahinja Abdulah
1982 Variola Vera Doktor Grujić
1982 Cyclops Ugo
1982 13. jul Kapetan Mitrović
1982 Tamburaši
1982 Nepokoreni grad TV series; 1 episode
1982 Život i priča
1983 Zadah tela Pančo Vila
1983 Kiklop Ugo TV series; 4 episodes
1983 Kvit posao Jozo
1983 Noć poslije smrti Lucio Klarić
1984 In the Jaws of Life Intelektualac
1984 Pejzaži u magli Lelin otac
1984 Una Professor Mišel Babić
1985 Life Is Beautiful Harmonikaš
1985 Horvatov izbor Krešimir Horvat
1986 San o ruži Valent
1986 Večernja zvona Tomislav K. Burbonski
1986 Putovanje u Vučjak Krešimir Horvat TV series; 14 episodes
1987 Die Verliebten Dušan
1987 Hudodelci Raka
1988 Zagrljaj
1988 Tartif
1988 Manifesto Emile
1988 Hanna's War Captain Ivan
1989 Čovjek koji je volio sprovode Hinko
1989 Seobe II De Ronkali
1990 Karneval, anđeo i prah
1990 Majstori mraka
1992 Dezerter Pavle Trušić
1993 Kontesa Dora Karlo Armano
1994 Magareće godine Narrator
1994 Before the Rain Alexandar
1995 Urnebesna tragedija Kosta
1995 Two Deaths Colonel George Lapadus
1995 Belma Josip Papac
1996 Memento The Officer
1996 Broken English Ivan
1997 Nečista krv Gazda Marko
1997 Balkan Island: The Last Story of the Century Rusty
1997 The Saint Ivan Tretiak
1997 The Truce Mardenou the Greek
1998 Mighty Joe Young Andrei Strasser
1998 Polish Wedding Roman
1998 Prague Duet Jiri Kolmar
1999 Eyes Wide Shut Mr. Milich
1999 The Sweet Sounds of Life Bruno Maier
1999 Stigmata Father Marion Petrocelli
2000 Space Cowboys General Vostow
2000 Mission: Impossible 2 Dr. Nekhorvich
2000 Snatch Boris 'The Blade' Yurinov
2000 Je li jasno prijatelju? Milan Rajić
2001 South Pacific Emile De Becque TV film
2002 The Quiet American Inspector Vigot
2003 Quicksand Oleg Butraskaya
2003 The Cruelest Day Miran Hrovatin
2003 Spooks Viktor Schvitkoy TV series; 1 episode
2004 EuroTrip Tibor
2004 Golemata voda Old Lem
2004 Rade Šerbedžija Live in Budva Himself
2004 The Fever Diplomat
2005 The Keeper: The Legend of Omar Khayyam Imam Muaffak
2005 Surface Dr. Aleksander Cirko TV series; 6 episodes
2005 Batman Begins Homeless Man
2005 The Fog Captain William Blake
2005 Short Order Paulo
2005 Go West Ljubo
2006 Moscow Zero Sergei
2006 The Elder Son Maxim Sarafanov
2007 Balkanski sindrom Old Alen
2007 Hermano Carlos Avileda
2007 Tesla Narrator
2007 Shooter Mikhayo Sczerbiak / Michael Sandor
2007 Fugitive Pieces Athos Roussos
2007 Battle in Seattle Dr. Marić
2007 24 Dmitri Gredenko TV series; 8 episodes
2007 Say It in Russian Raf Larin
2007 Pravo čudo Toma
2007 L... Kot ljubezen Big Daddy
2007 Fallen Dr. Lukas Grasic TV miniseries
2007 Love Life Arie
2008 My Own Worst Enemy Yuri Volkalov TV series; 2 episodes
2008 Quarantine Yuri Ivanov
2008 The Eye Simon McCullough
2009 Middle Men Nikita Sokoloff
2009 CSI: Miami Alexander Sharova TV series; 2 episodes
2009 Thick as Thieves Nicky Petrovich/Victor Korolenko
2010 Lonesdale
2010 Kao Rani Mraz Stari Vasa Ladački
2010 72 Days Mane Paripović
2010 Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 1 Gregorovitch
2011 5 Days of War Col. Demidov
2011 Tatanka Vinko
2011 X-Men: First Class Russian General
2011 Shun Li and the Poet Bepi
2011 In the Land of Blood and Honey Gen. Nebojsa Vukojevich
2012 The Fourth State Onjegin
2012 Taken 2 Murad Krasniqi
2012 The Third Half Don Rafael Cohen
2012 Ustanicka ulica Vraneš
2013 Cry of the Butterfly Ray
2013 The Double Frightening Old Man
2014 Hercules: The Legend Begins Chiron
2014 Downton Abbey Prince Kuragin TV series
2014 Tekken 2: Kazuya's Revenge The Minister
2015 Tesla: Iznad maste Milutin Tesla
2015 Sparrows Tomislav
2016 The Porcupine Stoyo Petkanov
2016 Tesla Professor Petrov
2016 The Promise Stephan
2016 The Five Jâkob Marosi TV miniseries; 6 episodes
2016 The Liberation of Skopje Gjorgjija Also director and writer
2017 Mata Hari Emil Guimet TV series; 2 episodes
2017 Anka Biljeznik
2017 Hedgehog's Home Narrator Short film; Serbo-Croatian version
2017 The Blacklist Dr. Bogdan Krilov TV series; 2 episodes
2017 The Executrix Arthur
2017 The Last Prosecco Desiderio Ancillotto
2017 Better Things Arnold Hall TV series; 1 episode
2018 Proud Mary Luka
2018 Murderous Trance Dr. Dabrowski
2018 What's This Country Called Now? Ismet Tabakovic Short film
2018–2019 Strange Angel Professor Filip Mesulam TV series; 12 episodes
2019 Caviar Pappy
2020 Fishing and Fishermen's Conversations Petar Hektorović
2020 Strike Back Kalmedi TV series; 1 episode

Awards and nominations

Year Group Award Result Notes
1979 Pula Film Festival Best Actor Won Bravo maestro
1986 Pula Film Festival Best Actor Won Evening Bells
1994 Venice Film Festival Best actor Won Before the Rain
1996 New Zealand Film and TV Awards Best Foreign Performer Won Broken English
2006 Monaco International Film Festival Best Actor Won Short Order
2007 Rome Film Fest Best actor Won Fugitive Pieces
2008 Satellite Awards Best Actor in a Supporting Role Nominated
2008 Vancouver Film Critics Circle Best Supporting Actor in a Canadian Film Nominated
2009 Genie Awards Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role Nominated
2012 Tetouan International Mediterranean Film Festival Best Actor Won Io sono Li


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External links