In Goya oder der arge Weg der Erkenntnis © DEFA-Stiftung, Arkadi Sager
Donatas Banionis was born in Kaunas, Lithuania on April 28, 1924. In 1941, when he was still a student, he was hired by the famous actor and theater director Juozas Miltinis for his newly founded Panevezys Drama Theater. Banionis went on to act in over 90 theatrical productions.
Banionis has divided his almost seventy-year acting career between theater, television and cinema. His first film appearance was in a supporting role in Marytè. Shortly after that he played the lead role of the adventurer Daus in Adomas nori buti zmogumi, by Vytautas Zalakevicius, and continued to work with this notable Lithuanian director throughout his career.
Banionis became an international film star and worked with some of the most renowned Soviet film directors, including Andrei Tarkovsky (Solaris, Jury’s Grand Prize, 1972 Cannes Film Festival), Mikhail Kalatozov and Eldar Ryazanov. He has performed alongside such international stars as Marina Vlady (in Pyushchye krovi) and Sean Connery and Claudia Cardinale (in Krasnaya Palatka, which was nominated for the Golden Globe). In the 1970s, Banionis also worked at the East German DEFA film studio, where he performed in two memorable film roles portraying famous artists: the Spanish painter Francisco Goya, and the German composer Ludwig van Beethoven.
In 2009, Banionis was awarded the Order of Honor by Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev for his many years of creative work and lifetime contribution to theatrical and film arts. Donatas Banionis lives in Vilnius, Lithuania.
|2009||Russian Order of Honor, for lifetime achievements|
|1971||Art Prize of the GDR for Goya oder der arge Weg der Erkenntnis|
|2011||Tadas Blinda. Pradzia (Fireheart: The Legend of Tadas Blinda)|
|2009||Leningrad (Attack on Leningrad)|
|1999||Kiemas (The Courtyard)|
|1991||Pyushchye krovi (The Vampire)|
|1979||Kentavry (The Centaurs)|
|1976||Mama, ich lebe (Mama, I’m Alive)|
|1976||Beethoven – Tage aus einem Leben (Beethoven – Days of a Life)|
|1975||Begstvo mistera Mak-Kinli (Mr. McKinley’s Escape)|
|1971||Goya oder der arge Weg der Erkenntnis (Goya, or the Hard Way to Enlightenment)|
|1971||Karol Lir (King Lear)|
|1969||Krasnaya Palatka (The Red Tent)|
|1968||Myortvy Sezon (The Dead Season)|
|1966||Beregis avtomobylia (Beware of the Car)|
|1966||Niekas nenorejo (Nobody Wanted to Die)|
|1959||Adomas nori buti zmogumi (Adam Wants to Be a Man)|