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The Tragic Life and Untimely Death of Jiří Hrzán

I was interested to hear that you had a backing band in your early days Jiří Hrzán.

“That was a beautiful period. Well, for me. Jirka got into a situation where he was fired from Činoherak and was without funds from day to day. That’s why he asked me to form a band for him, and we also did a performance of Role, which I didn’t play, with the director Jaromír Vašta. It consisted in the fact that the performance was divided into four sections, in which Jirka played famous roles as he saw them. Like Cyrano or Romeo. It was great fun interspersed with songs. When Jirka was in shape, the show lasted for three and a half hours! It was a great success, ladies threw so many panties at Jirka on stage that we could sell women’s underwear instead of posters!”

What was he like in private?

“He had his charisma and he knew how to deal with people. He was amazing, humble, kind, fun to be with and dependable. He regretted that he was sidelined in acting and de facto returned to it only with the film Bulldogs and Cherries, which he did not even finish. As he never allowed himself to be represented by stuntmen, there was a scene on roller skis where he cut himself up and ended up really badly.”

Jiří Hrzán would be celebrating his birthday: What was the life of the famous bon vivant like?

His stunt ended up costing him his life!

“He loved heights. I’ve had some nasty falls with him about three times when he was climbing somewhere. Only one became fatal for him. It was just after the holidays, we still had time off and the season was ready with another program – Dear Women and Me. Jirka loved women and his women. He went to see a lady, she wouldn’t open the door for him, so he decided that if he couldn’t go through the door, he would go through the window! He climbed up the facade of the house to her, without protection, without anything, I don’t know how many floors… He fell and no one knows how long he lay on the ground before they found him.”

How did you find out about his death?

“They called me from the hospital on Karlov náměstí at half past five because Jirka had my business card in his pocket. My blood wouldn’t boil. He had a stiff root, I immediately went after him and saw him, but he couldn’t be helped anymore. He only lived for about two days. It took me a lot. At that time, Jirka basically didn’t have a home anywhere and he had all his things with us, he showered there and so on. When he died, I didn’t even want to return to the industry, until Pepa Kolín (composer, multi-instrumentalist and member of the group Bacily, editor’s note) talked me into it. But I didn’t want to be a bandleader anymore, I just wanted to play.”

Zdeněk Barták at Vašo Patejdl’s funeral: I woke up with his song in my head…

2023-10-21 03:00:00
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