120 years since Marvan’s birth: The dark side of his life

Jaroslav Leopold Marvan († 72) was born on the then outskirts of Prague, still independent Žižkov, on December 11, 1901. Before becoming a film star, he tried his career at the post office and as a loan repayer, which he hated. He willingly sniffed at the theater between 1920 and 1923, a major turning point came in 1925, when he began guesting at the Theater. Vlasty Buriana. He then received 30 crowns for the performance, which was soon to change. Marvan’s star shone more and more, and Burian († 70) supported him as best he could. He believed in the responsible actor.

Read “majlant”

In his lifetime, Marvan made 212 films and 40 TV shows! From a policeman in The Good Soldier Švejk (1926) to a burgrave in Noci na Karlštejně (1973). His participation was a guarantee of the film’s success in the 1940s. At that time, his fees already corresponded to that – they were nineteen times the average earnings of that time! While people normally took 789 crowns, he about 15 thousand! The representative of morous, clerks, elegant and cheerful guys was one of the busiest actors. At the same time, however, he hid many of the wrongs he committed. However, Auditor Gustav Anděl, Police Council Vacátko, brothers Bořivoj and Jaroslav from The Last Mohican (1947) or King Jindřich of the Madly Sad Princess (1968) are still welcome in the Czech living rooms.

He tripped Burian

Vlasta Burian discovered a 10-year-younger colleague and swept his way to fame. They stood together on stage and in front of the camera in the successful films Anton Špelec, Sharpshooter (1932) and Ducháček Arrange It (1938). But Marvan was said to be jealous of Burian. In 1943 he left for the Vinohrady Theater, but that was not enough for him. When Burian was accused of collaboration during the war, Marvan not only did not defend his friend, but also allegedly confirmed the accusations. He didn’t have a problem with the new communist regime either, he took part in construction hits such as Dovolená s Andělem (1953) or Němá barikáda (1948). He collected one art prize after another from the hands of the Red Chiefs, he could turn. But no one forgave him Burian.

Medallion: Jaroslav Marvan

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Suspicious death of a mistress

Another shadow in Marvan’s life was women. He waited for the title of national artist until 1971 – he would have gotten it sooner, but he had a mistress, which the regime did not like. That woman was the actress Alena Jančaříková († 34), by the way the mother of the moderator Petr Jančařík (69). The actor’s wife, Márinka, resented that she did not hide the relationship, and in addition, her illegitimate daughter, Alena (61), was born. The actor also gave her his last name. Then came the tragedy, their mistress Alena was found dead on December 3, 1961 in her apartment!

Flash Podcast: 130 years since the birth of King of Comedians Vlasta Burian

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She is said to have been poisoned by gas, but few believed that version. Not only did Jančaříková have no reason to commit suicide, there were also traces of a fight in the apartment … The death of the woman was allegedly planned by the then powerful. She was not investigated, the case was quickly closed, allegedly because of the award Marvan received shortly afterwards. “Undoubtedly, the political assignment was there,” believes Jiří Markovič (79), the former head of the Prague Mordparty.

The last role

Marvan made his last film, The Night at Karlštejn (1973), already with great health problems and pain caused by cancer, which affected a large part of his body. When he died on May 21, 1974, he weighed only 41 kg.

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