Iconic actor of Turkey’s Yeşilçam cinema remembered
Three years have passed since the death of Münir Özkul, one of Turkey’s most renowned actors who is best known for the poor, honorable, dignified and funny characters he has played since the 1950s.
Social media was awash with posts remembering the veteran actor who has greatly contributed to traditional Turkish theater and Yeşilçam cinema, also known as Turkey’s Hollywood, during his career.
Politicians, public institutions and organizations and sports clubs remembered the veteran actor with their posts.
Loved by the public for the familiarity and sincerity in his acting, Özkul was born in Istanbul on Aug. 15, 1925.
After graduating from Istanbul Boys’ High School, Özkul studied at the Art History Department at Istanbul University from where he never graduated. He dropped out to pursue a career in acting.
Özkul started his professional acting career with the play “Aşk Köprüsü” (The Bridge of Love).
He worked with theater great Muhsin Ertuğrul at the Küçük Stage after her first play. He was a regular performer for the Istanbul City Theaters, Ankara State Theaters and Bulvar Theater in Istanbul.
Throughout the 1950’s and 1960’s, his main focus was theater, whereas he also played minor roles in movies that brought him overall recognition by Turkish audiences.
Özkul rose to fame in the 1970’s with major roles in Yeşilçam comedy and family drama movies, which also featured some of his most famous peers at the time.
Along with actress Adile Naşit, another iconic figure of Turkish cinema, they formed an unforgettable duo in family dramas, whereas his most famous role in that period was “Mahmut Hoca” in the “Hababam Sınıfı” (The Chaos Class) series, in which he portrayed a strict but compassionate vice principal admired and respected by his students.
Throughout his long career, Özkul acted in more than 200 films and also worked as a co-director for “Süt Kardeşler” (Milk Siblings).
Özkul kept acting until the late 1980s. After that he took on several roles, but his health did not allow him to act on stage or for films anymore. He was diagnosed with dementia and had been living with it for years, losing most of his memory.
Özkul has been awarded and celebrated for his art on various occasions.
Besides winning Best Actor at the 1972 Golden Orange Film Festival, he also received a special award at the 1977 Azerbaijan Film Festival for the character Yaşar in the film “Bizim Aile” (Our Family).
He was given the Culture and Art Prize by the presidency for “his successful presentation of the traditional Turkish theater and aesthetic interpretations of daily life.”
Özkul died in 2018 at the age of 93 at his home in Istanbul.