Mitica Popescu: Celebrated Romanian Actor

Mitica Popescu (Romanian pronunciation: [miˈtikə poˈpesku]; December 2, 1936 – January 3, 2023) was a beloved Romanian actor renowned for his remarkable contributions to the world of theater and film.

Early Life and Arrest

Born in Bucharest on December 2, 1936, Mitica Popescu embarked on his artistic journey in the mid-1950s when he commenced his studies at the Institute of Theatrical and Cinematographic Art. However, his path was marked by adversity as he faced an unexpected turn of events. In 1958, he was apprehended by the Securitate, Romania’s secret police, on charges of planning to flee the country. This led to a grim period in Popescu’s life as he was sentenced to three years of imprisonment.

His incarceration began at Malmaison Prison in Bucharest before being transferred to Jilava Prison. From there, he endured the harsh conditions of the labor camps at Periprava and Salcia on the banks of the Danube. Despite these hardships, Popescu’s resilience prevailed.

Theater Career

Upon his release, Popescu found a lifeline in the form of fellow actors Radu Beligan and Mircea Șeptilici, who helped him secure a position at the renowned Teatrul de Comedie in Bucharest. It was in 1963 that he resumed his pursuit of acting, resuming his studies.

Graduating in 1967, Popescu’s talents found a home at the Teatrul Tineretului in Piatra Neamț, where he graced the stage until 1973. That year, he made a significant move, joining the esteemed Teatrul Mic in Bucharest. For nearly four decades, he enchanted audiences with his performances at Teatrul Mic, solidifying his status as a distinguished figure in Romanian theater.

Awards and Honors

Throughout his illustrious career, Mitica Popescu garnered well-deserved recognition and accolades. In 2002, he was bestowed with the National Order of Faithful Service, earning the title of a knight. In 2009, the UNITER celebrated his lifetime achievements with a prestigious career award. The culmination of his career came in 2013 when he received the esteemed Gopo Award for Lifetime Achievement.

Personal Life and Passing

In 1977, Mitica Popescu’s life took another beautiful turn as he married the accomplished actress Leopoldina Bălănuță. However, his world was touched by sorrow when his beloved wife passed away in 1998.

Tragically, on January 3, 2023, Mitica Popescu breathed his last at the Elias Hospital in Bucharest, where he had been undergoing medical treatment. He was 86 at the time of his passing. In a fitting tribute, Popescu was laid to rest with full military honors in Bucharest’s Bellu Cemetery, beside his cherished wife Leopoldina Bălănuță. His legacy as a luminary of the Romanian stage will continue to be celebrated for generations to come.