June 28, 1945
Eyüp, Istanbul, Turkey
|Years active||1960 - 2009|
|Awards||Golden Orange for Best Actress (1964, 1968, 1987, 1994)
Golden Boll for Best Actress (1972)
Golden Orange for Life Achievement (1996)
Türkan Şoray was born to a government official father, Halit Şoray and her mother, Meliha Şoray, a housewife. She has one younger sister Nazan, who is also an actress in her own right but is not as famous as Türkan. After the birth of her younger sister, Türkan's parents divorced and her mother was granted custody of the children. Türkan Şoray graduated from Fatih Kız Lisesi (Fatih Girls' High School). Whilst living in a rented apartment in the Karagümrük neighborhood of the Fatih district in Istanbulwith her mother and sister, she would not know that their landlords would be her link to stardom. The landlords were the parents of one of the first actresses of Turkish cinema, Emel Yıldız and it is with her that Türkan first set foot on a film set. After this, Türkan was ever closer to a contract with one of Turkey's top film studios in Yeşilçam.
She made her film debut in 1960 at just 15 years old with the film Aşk Rüzgarı (The Wind of Love). After the movie's success Türkan started to be advised by a Yeşilçam screenwriter, film director and producer Türker İnanoğlu. It is he, who would in the same year, sack Türkan's close friend Emel Yıldız in order to give his new prodigy the leading role in the studio's upcoming movie Köyde Bir Kız Sevdim (Falling in Love with a Girl in the Village).
For the next five years, Şoray appeared in over sixty films. After her 1965 triumph, she was named as one of Turkey's four leading actresses. But this was also the year when her career was in turmoil. Her starring in stereotyped roles, in films with the same plot and story lines, drove people away from her and harmed her fame. This led to several arguments with some film producers and as a result she was dismissed by most of them. Türkan Şoray knew, in order to survive, she would have to take control quickly and she did. She introduced what became known as the "Şoray Rules". She would only work if the studio and the directors obeyed these rules. Some of these rules are known to be:
- She has to be given the script no later than a month before shooting is to start, and if she disapproves of anything in it, changes have to be made or she does not accept the role.
- Films in which she has performed could be filmed only in Istanbul, as she does not and cannot leave the city.
- She does not work on Sundays.
- Due to her character, she never kisses someone.
- Her character having intercourse should never be implied.
The "Şoray Rules" were seen by some to be the demands of a Hollywood diva, but it paid off as she was given the respect she wanted and the movie roles came flying in as well.
For the remainder of the 1960s she starred in a further 48 films, making her one of Turkey's most successful female artists in Turkish film history having acted in over 100 movies in the span of ten years. She gained the soubriquet of "The Sultan" as she was the most demanded actress of the Turkish Cinematography in her golden times. But this would be short lived because the market changed during the 1970s and 1980s. People were no longer into the traditional "boy meets girl, girl is poor, boy is rich" scenarios.
She went on working with respectable directors in later years. One of them was Atıf Yılmaz, with whom she would work in both dramas and comedies. In the 1970s she also acted in films with a more realistic theme. She also directed four films in those years. Her most applauded films in the 1970s included Selvi Boylum Al Yazmalım, Hazal, Sultan, Dönüş and Baraj. In those films she was mostly accompanied by the famous Turkish actor Kadir İnanır.
She won her first of many awards when she received the best actress prize at the 'Antalya Golden Orange Film Festival' for the film Acı Hayat (Bitter Life).
At the end of the 1960s, she was named one of the four greatest actresses of the Turkish cinema. She was highly applauded for her choices in film and her ability to act in a wide variety of roles. She starred in Vesikalı Yarim (My Licenced Love) for which she was awarded the Best Actress Award for the second time in the Antalya Film Festival.
In the 1980s she began portraying women with problems of female identity; Mine, Rumuz Goncagül (Nickname: Goncagül), On Kadın (Ten Women) etc. She won her third Best Actress Award from the Antalya Film Festival in 1987 with the film Hayallerim, Aşkım ve Sen(My Dreams, My Love and You), in which she portrays three different women, each of whom is a facet of Türkan Şoray herself.
Some of her awards are:
- Antalya Film Festival Best Actress Award
- 1964-Acı Hayat
- 1968-Vesikalı Yarim
- 1987-Hayallerim, Aşkım ve Sen
- 1994-Bir Aşk Uğruna
- Moscow Film Festival Grand Jury Prize
- 1973-Dönüş (her directorial debut)
- Tashkent Film Festival Best Actress Award
- 1978-Selvi Boylum Al Yazmalım
- Bastia Film Festival Best Actress Award
- 1992-Soğuktu ve Yağmur Çiseliyordu
- 1996 Istanbul Film Festival, Honorary Cinema Award
- 1999 Rome Film Festival, Honorary Award
As an actress
As a director
- Yılanı Öldürseler - 1981 (with Şerif Gören)
- Bodrum Hakimi - 1976
- Azap - 1973
- Dönüş - 1972
|* Buruk Acı
This song is frequently attributed to Şoray, although the lyrics were actually written by Sennur Sezer but publicised otherwise.