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Jaroslav Vízner (1937) - Biography

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I was able to do more for my homeland while in exile

Jaroslav Vízner was born on 30 May 1937 in Prague as the second oldest of four brothers. He grew up in Prague's Vokovice district. His family was struck by the tragic death of his oldest brother in 1945. Until 1948, Jaroslav's father worked as an agent for the state company Kooperativa (central association of economic cooperatives). After the dissolution of Kooperativa he lost his job, sustained nervous breakdown and Jaroslav's mother became the breadwinner. Until its dissolution in 1948, Jaroslav attended the French grammar school in Dejvice, later transferring to an elementary school in Vokovice. Because of his family background, he was only allowed to carry on studying at a technical high school. He graduated from high school of mechanical engineering in 1956. Even though he passed the entry exam to the Theatre Faculty in Prague, he wasn't admitted, based on a reference of the so-called street committee. After undergoing his military service, since 1958 he worked as an assistant in Documentary Film Prague. Since 1960 he performed as an actor in Prague's Semafor theater, in Uherské Hradiště, Český Těšín and Kladno. In 1962 he got a residency in Prague's theater Theater Na Zábradlí where he stayed for six years. Apart from theater he also acted in several late-1960s movies. Following the August 1968 invasion he decided to emigrate with his wife and daughter. They settled in Geneva where since 1969 he worked as a director of TSR TV (Télévision Suisse Romande). From 1975 to 1981 he taught at the University of Theatre Arts (ESAD) in Geneva. Besides directing he also worked as film and theater actor. In 2002 he returned to the Czech Republic.

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