Kálmán Rózsahegyi

Kálmán Rózsahegyi (October 6, 1873 - August 27, 1961) was a Hungarian actor and teacher.

He descended from a family of actors; his father, Ödön Rózsahegyi acted in the country. Kálmán Rózsahegyi also began his career acting in the country, but in 1898 the Hungarian Theatre recruited him. Between 1900 and 1935 he was a member of the National Theatre, from 1923 as a permanent member.

With his wife, Angéla Hevesi, he founded his own private drama school, which was the place of learning for many famous actors.

Biography and works

Rózsahegyi was one of the most notable representatives of realist theatre; a person who was not an artist of words, but rather of simple, natural and direct plays. The range of his work was broad: his works covered all the shades of low comedy and sensual humor.

He was born in Endrőd, Békés on October 6, 1873. Following in the footsteps of his father, Ödön Rózsahegyi, he became an actor, and he graduated as an actor from drama school. He began his acting career in 1892 in the troupe of Sándor Dobó, and then worked in Debrecen and Cluj-Napoca. In 1898 he joined the Hungarian Theatre, where he played parts in operettas. At the turn of the century he entered the National Theatre, to which he loyally bonded, a bond the institution reciprocated when he was elected into permanent membership in 1923. On the course of his various appearances he stayed with the National Theatre until his retirement in 1935.

Rózsahegyi's name became popular in the 1910s and 20s as a cabaret artist, thanks to which he received renown abroad as well. In 1926 he played a part in the United States. After 1935 he acted in an assortment of private theatres.

The drama school that he founded with his wife, Angéla Hevesi, remains famous to this day. He later taught there with his girls up until his death. He was an outstanding teacher: many notable actors graduated from his school (such as Róbert Rátonyi, Juci Komlós, and József Sas).

Due to his ancestry he was prevented from acting in the Second World War, and after 1945 Tamás Major forbade him from rejoining the National Theatre. In the following decade he acted variously at the Pest, the Hungarian Comedy, the Hungarian, the Budapest Operetta and the Madách Theatres. He was at home in every genre: operettas, comedies, cabarets and classical drama.

He played as one of the gravediggers in Shakespeare's Hamlet, the fool of King Lear, and Gobbo in The Merchant of Venice.

Kalman's students liked the uniquely voiced, smiling man just as much as his audience. He was not forgotten by his birth town, who elected him an honorary citizen.

Kalman Rozsahegyi died on August 27, 1961 in Budapest having become permanent member of the National Theatre, the founder of the School of Acting and an outstanding artist.

Major acting roles

Nick Bottom (A Midsummer Night's Dream); the gravedigger (Hamlet); the fool (King Lear, Twelfth Night); Gobbo (old and young, The Merchant of Venice); Scapin (Molière: The Schemings of Scapin); Master Jacob (Molière: The Miser); eponymous (Halévy: L'Abbé Constantin); eponymous (Poole: Paul Pry); the Notarius of Peleske (József Gaál); Matyi Baracs and Göre Gábor (Gárdonyi: The Wine); Luka (Gorky: The Lower Depths); Gáspár Boly (Harsányi: The Old Villain); Uncle Berci (Zsigmond Móricz: Relatives); Rageneau (Rostand: Cyrano de Bergerac).

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