Polish actress Helena Modrzejewska was best known for playing tragic and Shakespearean roles. She first rose to fame on the Polish stage, but then emigrated to the United States, where she was just as successful as in her native Poland. Later, she made her name in London and Hollywood. In fact, her career spanned over three decades and lasted until her death in 1984.
The relationship between Helena Modrzejewska and the famous actor Michael Opid is fascinating. The Polish actress was born on October 12, 1840. Although her birth name is Jadwiga Benda, she was later baptized as Helena Opid, the surname of her godfather. Her mother was Jozefa Benda and her father was Szymon Benda, a wealthy Krakow trader. Her parents separated and she married Gustaw Zimajer, a provincial theatre manager. He also used the stage name “Modrzejewski” and her first marriage ended in divorce.
After her marriage, Helena Modrzejewska went to England to learn the language. She was interested in learning English and wanted to play Shakespeare for an English audience. Her husband had connections in London and introduced her to the society of the city. In London, she made her debut in an adaptation of La Dame aux Camelias. She also played the role of Juliet in Romeo and Juliet.
operas in London
She also acted in a number of operas in London. Her stage career began in Poland, where she performed in a variety of tragic and Shakespearean roles. After emigrating to the United States, she was a success in both London and the United States. She became the greatest actress in Polish theatre history. In 1893, she was awarded the first prize in the world’s most prestigious acting competition.
Despite the difficulties, both Modrzejewska and Benda were very successful in the United States. The former was a literary genius who won the Nobel prize for literature and the latter was a noted actress. Jadwiga Benda is another star who rose to fame after a long career in the U.S. and later in Europe. They had a lot in common – they were both talented actresses, and both were equally good.
Their friendship was also very important for the Polish art scene. Both actresses had a profound impact on the world of cinema. Her autobiography was published in Polish in 1910. The Polish version of her autobiography appeared in the newspaper Czas, Krakow. The last Polish edition was published in 1957. Both actresses’ homes are recognized as National Historic Landmarks.
In 1862, Modrzejewska began her career on the Polish stage. The young actress had a small sister, Josephine, and several half-brothers from Jozefa’s first marriage. Her aunt Teresa raised her. In 1872, she played the part of the skierka in Slowacki’s “Balladyna.” This play was the actress’s first major international success.
She gained international fame as an actress and subsequently married a gentry man. Her husband was an untitled member of the landed gentry. He also had a son, Ralph Modjeski. However, her husband and daughter did not approve of the marriage. Their son was born a few months later. Their marriage lasted for eight years, and she later married Karol Chlapowski in 1868. Her husband was a nobleman from the Wielkopolska region of Poland. Their relationship was troubled by political turmoil and their daughter died during the revolution.
While growing up in Krakow
While growing up in Krakow, Helena Modrzejewska and her mother, Anna Benda, were in their early twenties. The couple tried to run a farm but soon learned the jezyka and performed on stage. Soon after, Anna Benda returned to Poland, where she gave birth to two children with Gustawem Zimajerem.
Helena Modrzejewska, aka Helena, was a Polish actress. She was born in 1840 and was baptised after her godfather’s surname. Her family was relatively liberal and open-minded, and she developed her talent as an actress. She married her former guardian, Gustaw Zimajer, and performed in provincial towns in southern Poland. The marriage was short-lived and later, Helena emigrated to London.
After making her London debut in Heartsease, she continued her acting career in America. As a result, Modjeska became one of the most important female interpreters of Shakespeare on the American stage. Her magnetic personality, excellent acting techniques, and inventive interpretations made her the leading actress in this country. Her repertoire consisted of more than 260 roles spanning Shakespearean and popular works, including Lady Macbeth, Cleopatra, and Mary Stuart.