Happy birthday “Master Actor”
Veteran Iranian star of stage and screen Ezzatollah Entezami turns 83 tomorrow.
He has been known as the “Master Actor” of Iranian cinema since journalist and film critic Hushang Golmakani wrote the memoirs of Entezami in a book with this same title.
“I went to Lalezar (somewhere in the old days in Tehran like New York’s Broadway) when I was 12,” he once said.
“We didn’t have the opportunities you have today, but we could stomach life despite all the difficulties,” he added.
“I never memorized the texts in dramas and screenplays, instead I used my own words, in this way I truly understood the meaning of what I was saying. This method required much patience, but a sense of devotion for work makes hurdles endurable,” he explained.
In September 28, 2007, UNESCO honored Entezami with a lifetime achievement award in a ceremony at its headquarters in Paris. Upon his arrival at Tehran’s Mehrabad Airport he dedicated the award to the young generation.
“I’ve played in many theaters from the Ferdowsi Theater to the Sangalaj. Now I’m here, a child of Sangalaj (the name of an old district and an old theater in Tehran),” he said during the award presentation.
When he was young, he left Iran for Germany to study theater and cinema at a school in Hanover. He retuned home in 1958 and shortly afterwards he was employed by the Fine Arts Office of the time.
He began his career in small theaters, narrating traditional Iranian stories which were illustrated on a curtain hung up in the theater hall.
He then appeared in the plays “Tricky Students”, “The Boat of Destiny”, “The Last Rehearsal”, “The Scarecrows at Nights”, and many other performances.
He made his film debut in “The Spring Variety” directed by Parviz Khatibi in 1949. However, he shot to fame for his part in Dariush Merjuii’s acclaimed film “The Cow” in 1969.
He has starred in over 50 movies and won many awards in international and national events.
In February 2007 he was awarded the Jury’s Special Crystal Simorgh award at the 25th Fajr International Film Festival, Iran’s most prestigious cinematic event, for his role in Amir-Shahab Razavian’s film “Mina of the Silent City”.
He also won the best actor Simorgh award for his roles in “Grand Cinema” (1988), “The Day of the Angel” (1993), and “The Marsh” (2003).
His role in Fereidun Jeirani’s “Star: Becoming a Star” (2005) as an old paralyzed stage actor was unforgettable, but his skillful performance was ignored by the jury members of the Fajr festival due to the film’s theme.
“You have starred in many acclaimed films after the victory of the Islamic Revolution (1979) because you have cared about the screenplays, the directors, and the quality of the films,” Jeirani once said to Entezami.