A Playwright, prose-writer, one of the founders of Czech avant-garde theatre and a theatre and film actor. He was undoubtedly one of the greatest Czech actors of the 20th century. He became known to the general public together with his partner and life-long friend Jiří Voskovec during the second half of the nineteen twenties.
Both partners studied law, but they were drawn to the theatre and film. From 1927 until 1938 they appeared as an author-actor duo in the Osvobozeném Theatre in Prague and became idols of the young generation of that time. When the theatre was closed in 1938 they both went into exile in the USA where they survived the Second World War. They attempted to return after 1945 but only Werich remained permanently; Voskovec decided to emigrate a second time. After returning from exile Jan Werich performed at various Prague theatres, most often in partnership with the actor Miroslav Horníček.
Jan Werich was a universal actor and filmed a number of feature films. During the interwar period he appeared in the films Powder and Gas (1931), (Your) Money or (your) Life (1932), Heave-ho (1934) and The World Belongs to Us (1937), the last two are included in the Czech film gold fund. After returning from exile he played the main role in the immortal Czech comedy The Emperor and the Golem (1951) and in the fairytale Once Upon a Time There Was a King (1955) and he also appeared in several smaller roles in other films.
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