Rade Å erbedÅ¾ija (born 27 July 1946), occasionally credited as Rade Sherbedgia in some English language productions, is a Croatian actor/director and musician of Serb ethnicity. He is known for his portrayals of imposing figures on both sides of the law. He was one of the most popular Yugoslav actors in the 1970s and 1980s. He is internationally known mainly for his supporting roles in Hollywood films such as Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1, X-Men: First Class, The Saint and Mission: Impossible II and for his role as main villain Murad in Taken 2, and for his recurring role as former Soviet Army General Dmitri Gredenko in Season 6 of TV action series 24.
Early life and career in Yugoslavia
Å erbedÅ¾ija was born in the village of BuniÄ within Lika region, PR Croatia, FPR Yugoslavia. He is an ethnic Serb from Croatia. In 1969, he graduated from the Academy of Dramatic Arts of the University of Zagreb and then worked as a theatre actor in the City Drama Theatre Gavella and at the Croatian National Theatre in Zagreb. While still a student, Å erbedÅ¾ija started to play leading roles in films and theater productions. He is remembered as an outstanding Peer Gynt, Don Juan, Melkior TresiÄ, Oedipus, Hamlet, Leone Glembay and Richard III. Å erbedÅ¾ija was among the top actors in the former Yugoslavia, as well as an esteemed acting teacher at the Universities of Zagreb and Novi Sad.
In 1964 he first visited the USA, where he enrolled in drama school. Small parts on stage followed for many years until his 1974 breakthrough performance as "Hamlet" at the Dubrovnik Summer Festival made him a star. Although he continued to appear in theatrical productions (notably, "Peer Gynt" and "Oedipus Rex"), Å erbedÅ¾ija broke into films around the same time. Although many of the more than 40 features he has made in the '70s and '80s have been little-seen outside of Yugoslavia, a handful have received widespread distribution. His early work included the starring role in The Republic of UÅ¾ice (1974).
He had various notable roles in Yugoslav film, among others in U gori raste zelen bor (1971), Variola Vera (1981), Kiklop (1982), Å½ivot je lep (1985). He was also among the leading actors in several TV series, such as in Prosjaci i sinovi (1971), U registraturi (1976), Nikola Tesla (1977), Putovanje u VuÄjak (1986).
Å erbedÅ¾ija founded the Ulysses Theater with Borislav VujÄiÄ on the Brijuni islands, where he also directs and acts in most plays. The theater was founded in 2000 and has been very successful so far.
It was probably not until his turn as the captain interrogating a woman who rescued hundreds of children from the Holocaust in Hanna's War (1988) that he was noticed in the West.
In the early 1990s, during the course of the Yugoslav wars, he acted in a few films from various parts of the former Yugoslavia, including the Macedonian film Before the Rain in 1994. With the dissolution of Yugoslavia in the early 1990s, he and his family moved to Ljubljana, Slovenia to avoid the war. Å erbedÅ¾ija then also acted in various western European films before he emigrated to the United States.
He is perhaps most often recognised by world audiences for his supporting roles in Hollywood films such as Mission: Impossible II, Mighty Joe Young, The Saint, Eyes Wide Shut, Snatch, EuroTrip, The Quiet American (2002), Shooter and a cameo in Batman Begins, often varying between sinister villains or trusting friends. He was offered to reprise his cameo role in The Dark Knight but opted not to.
In 2001, he starred in a television production of Rodgers and Hammerstein's classic musical South Pacific in the role of the French plantation owner, Emile de Becque. He was also involved in the BBC Television production of the spy-thriller show Spooks for one episode as a villain. In autumn of 2005, Å erbedÅ¾ija had a supporting role in the NBC science fiction series Surface. His most recent role is in Jeremy Podeswa's feature film adaptation of Anne Michaels' novel Fugitive Pieces, where he plays the character Athos Roussos. His most recent successful role is that of Captain Blake in Rupert Wainwright's remake of The Fog.
He portrayed the part of Dmitri Gredenko on the sixth season of the hit Fox show 24.
On 26 May 2009, Å erbedÅ¾ija announced that he had been cast in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows â" Part 1 as the famous foreign wandmaker Gregorovitch, a 'brief but very important' role. He began filming in November 2009. He announced his casting at a press conference for Fugitive Pieces, and he added that he knew he had the role six months before.
Å erbedÅ¾ija is also known for his poetry readings and has released four albums. On the London stage, he won critical praise for his work in Corin Redgrave's Moving Theatre Company staging of "Brecht in Hollywood" (1994).
Å erbedÅ¾ija was married to Ivanka Cerovac, but they divorced in 1987. They have a son, film director Danilo Å erbedÅ¾ija (b. 1971) and a daughter, actress Lucija (b. 1973). Å erbedÅ¾ija met his second wife, Lenka UdoviÄki, the sister of Serbian politician Kori UdoviÄki, in Subotica in 1990 and they married in 1991.
Together with his current wife, Lenka Å erbedÅ¾ija, he has three daughters: Nina the eldest, Vanja, the middle child and Mimi the youngest. Nina is now attending college and the younger two are in high school. The children grew up in London for their early lives, then moved to California because of Å erbedÅ¾ija's acting career.
His parents left Vinkovci for Belgrade in 1991. His mother died in 1997, while his father still lives in Belgrade.
In 1992, while at a club in Belgrade, an intoxicated youth swore at him, calling him "Serb traitor", then shot his gun in the air. The youth himself was from Lika, as was Å erbedÅ¾ija. He then took his wife and at the time, only daughter Nina, and left Zagreb and Belgrade, and settled in Ljubljana, Slovenia.
Å erbedÅ¾ija has called himself "Yugo-nostalgic", and in 2011, he said that times were better in Socialist Yugoslavia than now.
Among his family's addresses are: London; Hollywood; California; Zagreb and Belgrade, while he currently lives in Rijeka, (as of January 2011).
Awards and nominations
- Rade Å erbedÅ¾ija at the Internet Movie Database