The company of Vígszínház is devastated by the news that on the 22nd of October 2021, at the age of 75 actress Vera Venczel, bearer of Jászai Mari Prize, Virtuous- and Outstanding Artist of the Republic of Hungary, member of the Immortal Company, has passed away.
The amazingly talented actress was a loyal member of Vígszínház for more than 50 years, where she walked on staged countless times, giving the audience unforgettable, legendary performances, and was also shining in many Hungarian cult films too.
The characters portrayed by her were full of goodness and purity, delicate femininity and the passion for acting. Her outstanding acting skills, strength and her commitment to work were paired with kindness and modesty.
She was always paying attention to her colleagues, friends and family, turning to the people around her with tremendous love and interest.
Vera Venczel passed away in her home surrounded by her loved ones.
With the passing of the determining actress of the 125-year history of Vígszínház, the unforgettable figure of the Hungarian theatre and film scene, Vígszínház has lost one of its own.
Vera Venczel was born on the 10th of March 1946 in Budapest. She was accepted to the University of Theatre and Film Budapest for the first try to the class of Géza Pártos. He wanted her to become a member of Madách Theatre, but Zoltán Várkonyi, who already recognized the talented girl at the audition for the school, offered her a role at the end of the second school year at Vígszínház. Since that, she showed her talent not only at Ódry Stage but also at Vígszínház in smaller and bigger roles. In 1967, at the age of 21 as a student she played the leading role as a partner of Géza Tordy, Nándor Tomanek and László Tahi Tóth in The Summer by Weingarten at Pesti Theatre. With this performance, she was recognized as one of the big actresses of that times: “Vera Venczel is a real recognition…something intimate, clear pureness, the naïve glowing of talent is what she owns… Wish she would keep this glowing, this modesty of talent under the weight of success.” – was written about her after the premiere.
Due to her shining talent, she was recognized by film and television quite early, and she got one role after the other. Zoltán Kárpáthy, Three Nights of One Love, Study of Women and Stars of Eger – all these films were shot during her academic years, so already at a very young age Vera Venczel became a popular and beloved star of the country, but she hadn’t been spoiled by the fame: she really kept her modesty under the weight of her success.
Right after her diploma she became a member of Vígszínház directed then by Zoltán Várkonyi, getting big and bigger roles as: Sonya in Uncle Vanya, Marianne in Tales from the Vienna Woods and Adele in the House of Bernanda Alba. She played the leading role in the Tersánszky adaptation See you, darling and Grekova in Platonov staged by István Horvai.
After this, regarding acting, some lean times followed, although she was playing constantly and later they wrote about her: “she kept her solidness in the years too, where she had to build her acting life-work from one-scenes.”
Then, from the 90’s, renewed she brought down the house again and was recognized by the audience afresh. Very important meetings were the ones with director Sándor Zsótér, where she always worked humble and with enormous devotion: Farewell Symphony, Spring Awakening, The Good Person of Szechwan, The Caucasian Chalk Circle, The Blue Bird and the Winterreise – all these works are in a unique place in her acting career. Her dramatic strength, solid discipline, smartness and accuracy were impressive in the performances.
Meanwhile she showed her comic skills from night to night in performances like The Sisters-in-Law and Monocle. In one of her last roles we could wonder her demonic strength, delicate intellect and character-building skill.
Besides Vígszínház she also worked as guest artist in different theatres, films and TV-plays. Her performances filled with rare sensitivity and empathy (The Butterfly, The Black City) were awarded at more TV Festivals. For the leading role in the Móricz adaptation The Butterfly she won the Golden Nymph Prize in Monte Carlo. She got the Niveau Prize of the Hungarian Radio on several occasions. In 1977 for the audioplay Games on the Square she was awarded with the Prize of Critics. In 1975 she got the Jászai Mari Prize, in 1977 the Varsányi Irén Mourning Ring, in 1987 the Kazinczy Prize, in 2003 the Ruttkai Éva Mourning Ring, in 2004 the Ajtay Andor Prize, in 2005 the Páger Ring and Premier Prize, in 2010 the Virtuous Artist Prize. In 2008 she became the member of the Immortal Company. In 2021 she won the prize of the Hungarian Academy of Arts.
Best Female Performance Golden Nymph Prize at the Monte Carlo Film Festival (1970)
Jászai Mari Prize (1975)
Critics Prize (1977)
Varsányi Irén Mourning Ring (1977)
Kazinczy Prize (1987)
Ruttkai Éva Mourning Ring (2003)
Ajtay Andor Prize (2004)
Páger Ring (2005)
Premier Prize (2005)
Immortal Company – Eternal Member (2008)
Virtuous Artist (2010)
Harsányi Zsolt Prize (2011)
Bilicsi Prize (2011)
Ruttkai Éva Mourning Ring (2011)
Szepes Mária Prize (2014)
Outstanding Artist (2016)
Tolnay Klári Prize (2016)
Golden Diploma of University of Theatre and Film Budapest (2018)
Prima Prize (2018)
Lifetime Achievement Award by the Hungarian Film Academy (2019)
Roboz Imre Prize (2020)
Hungarian Academy of Arts- Theatre division Prize (2021