1 June 1936|
Sarajevo, Kingdom of Yugoslavia (present-day Bosnia and Herzegovina)
|Died||15 June 2010
Bekim Fehmiu (Serbo-Croatian: Bekim Fehmiju, Беким Фехмију; 1 June 1936 – 15 June 2010) was a Yugoslavian theater and film actor of Albanian ethnicity. He was the first Eastern European actor to star in Hollywood during the Cold War.
Early life 
Fehmiu was born in Sarajevo, Kingdom of Yugoslavia to Albanian parents. His family descends from a noble family of Imerhalili from the town of Đakovica on Kosovo. In 1941, his family permanently moved to Prizren on Kosovo, where Bekim spent his childhood. He was part of the acting club at his high school in Prizren, and after graduation he became a member of County popular theatre in Priština, the only professional Albanian language theatre in Yugoslavia. He graduated from the Faculty of Drama Arts (FDU) in Belgrade in 1960.
Fehmiu's big break was the 1967 film I Even Met Happy Gypsies, a subtle portrayal of Roma life which won two awards in Cannes and was nominated for an Oscar. Known for his macho appearance and mild manner, Fehmiu was then wooed by Western filmmakers and signed a contract with the Academy Award winning producer Dino De Laurentiis For the 1970 Hollywood epic The Adventurers, co-starring Charles Aznavour and Candice Bergen, he learnt English in three months. He played the role of the busy father in Raimondo Del Balzo's heartbreaking film L'Ultima Neve Di Primavera in 1973. Noteworthy is the film's music score by Franco Micalizzi. By the end of his career he had acted in nine languages, including French, Spanish and Italian. In 1974 Fehmiu appeared in the title role The Adventures of Ulysses, with Irene Papas as Penelope, and in John Frankenheimer's 1977 masterpiece Black Sunday, where he played the role of a Palestinian terrorist alongside Robert Shaw and Marthe Keller.
The New York Times dubbed him the "Yugoslav heart-throb" for his youthful conquests and acquaintances with the likes of Brigitte Bardot and Ava Gardner. Decades after his last appearance on the screen, readers of a leading Italian women's magazine voted him one of the ten most attractive men of the 20th century.
Bekim Fehmiu appeared in 41 films between 1953 and 1998. Fehmiu was the first Albanian theater and film actor who acted in theaters and movies all over Yugoslavia, and he acted in a whole series of roles that changed the history of the Cinema of Yugoslavia and left a mark in the artistic developments abroad.
International career 
Fehmiu had a noted international career, acting alongside movie legends such as John Huston, Ava Gardner, Charles Aznavour, Irene Papas, Claudia Cardinale, Olivia de Havilland, Robert Shaw, Fernando Rey, Dirk Bogarde and Candice Bergen. Early appearances in numerous European films saw Fehmiu do well, but in 1970, he did the internationally released film The Adventurers, and the film failed to get audiences interested in either Fehmiu himself or the film's original author, Harold Robbins. After The Adventurers, critics said that "his American debut in a starring role with a huge, star-studded, international cast backing him up was poorly acted and the epic film a complete misfire. The movie ruined any chances for Fehmiu to achieve similar stardom in Hollywood".
Despite his Hollywood films achieving little critical success, he excelled mainly in European art house cinema as well as in the theatre, which was his natural medium.
He acted in Serbo-Croatian, Albanian, Spanish, English, French, Italian and Macedonian. In 1987 in protest at the Yugoslavian government's treatment of Kosovan Albanians, he walked off the stage at the Yugoslav Drama Theatre in Belgrade, during the play Madame Kollontai by Agneta Pleijel. He left the stage, and soon after, films.
Personal life 
In 2001, Samizdat B92 published a book of Bekim Fehmiu's memoirs, entitled Blistavo i strašno (Brilliant and Terrifying), which describes his life until 1955, the year he became an actor.
Fehmiu was found dead on 15 June 2010 in his apartment in Belgrade. Initial reports stated he committed suicide. Interior Minister Ivica Dačić said Fehmiu was found shot in his apartment and the gun was registered in Fehmiu's name. He was 74 years old.
- Opštinsko dete (1953)
- Saša (1962)
- Pod isto nebo (1964)
- Neprijatelj (1965)
- Ko puca otvoriće mu se (1965)
- Klakson (1965)
- Devojka (1965)
- Roj (1966)
- Morgan: A Suitable Case for Treatment (1966)
- Vreme ljubavi (1966)
- Tople godine (1966)
- Protest (1967)
- Skupljači perja (1967)
- Uzrok smrti ne pominjati (1968)
- Prljave ruke (1968, TV film)
- L'Odissea (1968, international TV miniseries)
- The Adventurers (1970)
- Klopka za generala (1971)
- The Deserter (1971)
- Paljenje Rajhstaga (1972, TV film)
- Libera, amore mio... (1973)
- The Last Snows of Spring (1973)
- Il testimone deve tacere (1974)
- Cagliostro (1974)
- Il gioco della verità (1974)
- Deps (1974)
- Košava (1974)
- Pavle Pavlović (1975)
- Permission to Kill (1975)
- Salon Kitty (1976)
- Disposta a tutto (1977)
- Black Sunday (1977)
- Specijalno vaspitanje (1977)
- Stići pre svitanja (1978)
- Partizanska eskadrila (1979)
- I vecchi e i giovani (1979, mini-serial)
- Široko je lišće (1981)
- La Voce (1982)
- Sarâb (1982)
- Crveni i crni (1985)
- Poslednja priča (1987, TV film)
- Un bambino di nome Gesù (1987, TV mini-serial)
- Disperatamente Giulia (1989, TV mini-serial)
- Genghis Khan (1992)
- Il cuore e la spada (1998, TV film)
- "Veteran actor dies". 16 June 2010. Retrieved 28 June 2010.
- "Bekim Fehmiu forse suicida" (in Italian). 16 June 2010. Retrieved 28 June 2010.
- "Kosova President Sejdiu remarks on Fehmiu" (in Albanian). 16 June 2010. Retrieved 28 June 2010.
- "Film Obituaries: Bekim Fehmiu". The Daily Telegraph (London). 16 June 2010. Archived from the original on 24 January 2011. Retrieved 4 February 2011.
- Uliks Fehmiu: Životopis moga oca Bekima (Croatian)
- Bekim Fehmiu pronađen mrtav, Politika, 2010-06-18
- Obituary London Daily Telegraph, 8 July 2010.
- Tragičan odlazak Bekima Fehmiua (Serbian)
- Suicida l'attore Bekim Fehmiu, fu celebre in Italia nei panni di Ulisse (Italian)
- "Yugoslav Movie Star Bekim Fehmiu Found Dead". balkaninsight. Archived from the original on 18 June 2010. Retrieved 2010-06-17.[dead link]
- "Bekimi në Prizren" (in Albanian). Pristina, Kosovo: Gazeta Express. 21 June 2010. Archived from the original on 24 June 2010. Retrieved 3 July 2010. "Pesë ditë pas vetëvrasjes së aktorit të madh Bekim Fehmiu, hiri i trupit të tij u hodh në Lumbardhin e Prizrenit, qytet të cilin e ka konsideruar si shtëpi të veten. Ky ishte amaneti i tij, që familjarët e përmbushën të dielën."