Dina Cocea

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Dina Cocea
Stamps of Romania, 2006-120.jpg
Dina Cocea
Born 27 November 1912
Bucharest, Romania
Died 28 October 2008(2008-10-28) (aged 95)
Bucharest, Romania
Other names Dina Cerna
Occupation Actress
Spouse(s) Ion Toboşaru

Dina Cocea (Romanian pronunciation: [ˈdina ˈkot͡ʃe̯a]; 27 November 1912[1] – 28 October 2008[2]) was a Romanian stage actress and occasional movie star with a career that spanned 50 years. Among other activities, Cocea was an actor in residence at Bucharest's National Theatre for 17 years, a university professor, writer and columnist, playwright, political activist and representative to UNESCO.


Cocea was born on 27 November 1912 in Bucharest to father N. D. Cocea, a well-known writer and journalist, and mother Florica Mille, who was the daughter of another prominent journalist and writer, the socialist politico Constantin Mille,[1] in whose house Cocea resided as a child.[3] At 14 years of age, Cocea went to Paris, where she attended a Roman Catholic boarding school for a time. She later moved in with her aunt, Alice Cocéa,[4] a film actress and star of the Parisian theatre, who introduced and encouraged Cocea to take up the acting profession.[3]

After completing an education in the dramatic arts in Paris,[5] Cocea returned to Romania where she debuted as an actress in 1934. In 1935, Cocea landed a role at Bucharest's Comedia ("Comedy"), a basement theater, (today the site of the Odeon) alongside actor G. Timică[1] in the play Adevăratul Iacob ("The Real Jacob").[6] She initially appeared using the stage name, "Dina Cerna" but she quickly dropped the pseudonym.[3]

Cocea's first big success came when she played in Melchior Lengyel's 1909 play Taifunul ("Typhoon").[1] Cocea first screen appearance was in 1939's O noapte de pomină (An Unforgettable Night).[6] In 1941[7] Cocea founded an acting troupe, Teatrul Nostru ("Our Theater") and took as partners, Fory Etterle, Eugenia Zaharia and Peter Niro. The partnership lasted for 8 years but was dissolved by circumstance when the Comedia theater was nationalized in 1948–1949. Cocea quickly became an actress in residence at the Bucharest National Theater where she remained for 17 years until retiring in 1966.[1] Spanning part of this period, from 1952 to 1962 Cocea was dean of the University of Bucharest's Faculty of Theater.[7]

Following her retirement from the National Theater, Cocea appeared in many roles in other Bucharest theaters, from 1979 to 1989[7] acted as president of Asociaţia oamenilor din instituţiile teatrale şi muzicale (ATM)[1] (Association of Theatre Artists and Musicians), taught acting at university, and was a sometime political activist.[1] She also appeared in a dozen films, up through the 1992 detective film Atac în bibliotecă (Attack in the Library), and represented Romania for UNESCO and at international congresses organized by the UN.[2][8]

Despite acting in over 100 stage productions, a dozen films, being a regular television and radio guest, and being well known as a writer in Romania with a career spanning more than 50 years, Cocea was little known outside of Romania.[2][8] However, in her home country she was a household name, having been dubbed Mare Doamnă a Teatrului ("Queen of the Theater").[3] In 2001, Cocea was presented with an honorary doctorate from the Universitatea de Artă Teatrală şi Cinematografică (University of Theater and Cinematography),[5][6] In 2002, she was awarded the Ordinul Naţional (Romanian National Order) or "Steaua României" (Order of the Star of Romania), Romania's highest civil order awarded only by Romania's President, and granted thereby the rank of knight.[9]

Cocea died on 28 October 2008 of a heart attack about a month shy of her 96th birthday, having entered Floreasca hospital just days before suffering from a pulmonary infection. Following her death, former Romanian President, Ion Iliescu and Culture Minister Adrian Iorgulescu, among other dignitaries, expressed sorrow.[2][10] On 30 October 2008, Cocea's body was laid in repose in the foyer of Bucharest's National Theatre where last respects were paid by dignitaries, actors such as Gheorghe Dinică, Marin Moraru and Ion Caramitru, many of her former students, friends, and relatives, as well as students of the National University of Theater and Cinematography known as "IL Caragiale."[5] On 31 October 2008 Cocea was interred at Bellu cemetery where she was given military honors at the funeral.[11] She was survived by her husband, Ion Toboşaru.[1]


  • Night in May (1934)
  • O noapte de pomină (1939)
  • Cartierul Veseliei (1964)
  • Neamul Şoimăreştilor (1964)
  • Ciprian Porumbescu (1972)
  • Ştefan cel Mare – Vaslui 1475 (1974)
  • Muşchetarul român (1975)
  • Aurel Vlaicu (1977)
  • Iancu Jianu haiducul (1980)
  • Cântec pentru fiul meu (1980)
  • Atac în bibliotecă (1992)


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h Maria Sârbu (29 October 2008). "A apus o stea – Dina Cocea, între glorie şi nemurire" (in Romanian). Jurnalul Naţional. Retrieved 29 October 2008. 
  2. ^ a b c d Associated Press (28 October 2008). "Dina Cocea, well known Romanian actress, dies". San Diego Union Tribune. Retrieved 28 October 2008. 
  3. ^ a b c d "A murit actriţa Dina Cocea" (in Romanian). Jurnalul Naţional. 28 October 2008. Archived from the original on 9 August 2014. Retrieved 29 October 2008. 
  4. ^ Quite a few reliable sources mix up Cocea's mother (Florica Mille) and her aunt (Alice Cocéa), asserting the aunt to be Cocea's mother. However, sources in which Cocea is quoted, describing her family makeup, make the distinction clear. See, e.g., this article (in Romanian).
  5. ^ a b c Roxana Ioana Ancuţa (31 October 2008). "Dina Cocea – "Doamnă, dumneavoastră trebuia să fiţi preşedinte!"" (in Romanian). Jurnalul Naţional. Retrieved 1 November 2008. 
  6. ^ a b c Roxana Dumitru & Andreea Dogar (28 October 2008). "A murit Dina Cocea" (in Romanian). Matichon. Archived from the original on 31 October 2008. Retrieved 1 November 2008. 
  7. ^ a b c Ioana Bogdan (29 October 2008). "Actriţa Dina Cocea s-a stins la 96 de ani" (in Romanian). Adevărul. Archived from the original on 6 November 2008. Retrieved 1 November 2008. 
  8. ^ a b "Actriţa Dina Cocea, înmormântată la Cimitirul Bellu" (in Romanian). Ziare.com. 30 October 2008. Retrieved 1 November 2008. 
  9. ^ "Dina Cocea, înmormîntată cu onoruri militare" (in Romanian). Telegrafonline. 31 October 2008. Retrieved 1 November 2008. 
  10. ^ Associated Press (28 October 2008). "Dina Cocea, well known Romanian actress, dies". TPR-inside.com. Archived from the original on 17 February 2012. Retrieved 1 November 2008. 
  11. ^ "Aristocrata Dina Cocea a fost inmormantata cu onoruri militare" (in Romanian). Ziare.com. 31 October 2008. Retrieved 1 November 2008. [permanent dead link]