Mălăele graduated in 1975 from the Institute of Theater and Cinema in Bucharest and first became a professional actor with the National Theater of Romania in Piatra Neamț. He returned to Bucharest, where he became a prominent actor, working in many of Romania's leading theaters including Nottara, Odeon, and Bulandra. He then became a director, directing such plays as O sărbătoare princiară ("A Princely Feast") by Theodor Mazilu (1982 at Nottara Theatre), A Flea in Her Ear by Georges Feydeau (1993 at Nottara Theatre), and Carlo contra Carlo ("Carlo against Carlo") by Paul Ioachim (1994 at the Odeon), which won him that year's Romanian Comedy Festival Prize. He has since directed over a dozen other stage productions.
He first appeared as a film actor in 1974, appearing in two films that year: Păcală ("Caution") and Muntele Ascuns ("The Hidden Mountain", and has gone on to act in over two dozen other films. He also directed Palaria ("The Hat", 2004, TV movie), Nunta mută ("Silent Wedding", 2008) and Funeralii Fericite ("Happy Funerals", 2013).
- That is according to Horațiu Mălăele at the Internet Movie Database, accessed 2016-11-21. The Horațiu Mălăele page on the Romanian site cinemagia.ro places his birth one day earlier, on July 31, 1952, and gives the fuller form of his name, Horațiu-Valentin rather than just Horațiu.
- "Guests". Romanian Film Festival Seattle. Archived from the original on 2016-11-18. Retrieved 2016-11-17.