Legendary Serbian and Yugoslav actor Bata Zivojinovic dies

Legendary Serbian and Yugoslav actor Velimir Bata Zivojinovic has died aged 83, Belgrade media reported on Monday.

Source: B92, Tanjug
(Tanjug/Zoran Zestic, file)
(Tanjug/Zoran Zestic, file)

Zivojinovic, who four years ago suffered a massive stroke, passed away at Belgrade's St. Sava Hospital late on Sunday.

Zivojinovic was the region's most prolific actor who gained international fame thanks to the leading role in the 1972 Yugoslav WW2-themed movie Walter Defends Sarajevo, which became massively popular in China, Tanjug is reporting.

Born on June 5, 1933 in the village of Koracica near Belgrade, he studied at the Theater Academy in Belgrade and worked as an actor at the Belgrade Drama Theater for several years with up to 300 performances a season, but later decided to become a full-time film actor.

He made his silver screen debut in Rados Novakovic's 1955 film The Song from Kumbara.

In his own words, his first major role was in Veljko Bulajic's Train Without a Timetable (1957).

He appeared in over 340 films and television series, and will also be remembered as a comedy actor.

His roles include those in Aleksandar Petrovic's classics Three (1965), I Even Met Happy Gypsies (1967) and The Master and Margarita (1972).

After the introduction of the multi-party system in Serbia, he served several terms as a Socialist Party of Serbia (SPS) MP and also ran for president in 2002, winning around 120,000 votes.

Zivojinovic was the founder of the Association of Film Actors of Serbia. His last role was in the 2012 movie Ice (Led).

During his career Zivojinovic won many national and international awards, including the top recognition of the Yugoslav Film Archive - the Golden Seal.

Earlier this year, the actor was presented with the Belgrade Victor for Creative Achievement Award of the international festival FEST.

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