Niemczyk, Leon

(1923-2006)
   Perhaps the most prolific Polish film actor whose career spans half a century, with almost three hundred roles in films made in Poland and the former East Germany and numerous television series. Niemczyk began his career in Jerzy Kawalerowicz's A Night of Remembrance (1954). During the Polish School period he became one of its most recognizable faces after appearing in some landmark films. He played the worldly journalist Andrzej in Roman Polanski's Knife in the Water (1962), the Hungarian officer Istvan Kolya in Andrzej Munk's Eroica (1958), and the confused surgeon on an overnight train heading for a Baltic resort in Kawalerowicz's Night Train (1959). Niemczyk also had a memorable role in Czesław Petelski's Damned Roads (1959) and appeared in Aleksander Ford's The Teutonic Knights (1960). Beginning with the role of knight Fulko de Lorche in Ford's film, Niemczyk was often cast as a foreigner (he spoke fluent German and English and served in General George S. Patton's army during World War II) and, given his commanding presence on the screen, he played noblemen, kings, officers, medical doctors, and other figures of authority. He performed these supporting, often episodic, roles in numerous films, including films by Ewa and Czesław Petelski, Jerzy Antczak, Stanisław Lenartowicz, Wojciech J. Has, Henryk Kluba, Aleksander Ścibor-Rylski, Janusz Majewski, and Jerzy Passendorfer.
   In the 1970s, Niemczyk began to appear frequently in East German films, including roles in popular Westerns/"Easterns," such as Tecumseh (1973) and The Apaches (Apachen, 1973), both starring Gojko Mitic. At the beginning of the 1980s, he played strong supporting and main roles in several known Polish films. He was cast in Zbigniew Kuźmiński's Crab and Joanna (1982), Jerzy Doma-radzki's The Big Run (1981/1987), Juliusz Machulski's Va banque (1982), and Sylwester Chęcińskis The Big Rook (1983). Niemczyk also appeared in several films directed by Olaf Lubaszenko, beginning with The Sting (1997), and played the lead role in Grzegorz Królikiewicz's Fort 13 (1984). In recent years he has appeared regularly in popular Polish television series, such as The Family Złotopolski (Złotopolscy, 1999-2006), and he played a supporting role in David Lynch's Inland Empire (2006) and the starring role in Majewski's After the Season (2006).
   Historical Dictionary of Polish Cinema by Marek Haltof

Guide to cinema. . 2011.

Look at other dictionaries:

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