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2.2 Biographical Information (Mira Furlan)


This article is from the Mira Furlan FAQ, by Moyra J. Bligh moyra@zlatna.com with numerous contributions by others.

2.2 Biographical Information (Mira Furlan)

Ms. Furlan was born on the 7th of September in Zagreb, then part of
the former Yugoslavia, now the capital city of the Republic of
Croatia. She grew up surrounded by books and learning in the company
of three university professors, her father and mother (Branka Weil),
and her grandmother (Ljuba Kosar). Mira's grandmother taught her to
speak German at an early age and then later French, and her mother,
who was an avid theatregoer, introduced her to the magic of the
dramatic arts when she was still very young. The high school that she
attended was heavily oriented towards English and other languages, and
it was there that she had her first taste of acting thanks to one of
her teachers, an Englishman named David Jolley(sp?).

Mira went on to attend the University of Zagreb, to further her
language studies with the original intention of pursuing a career as a
simultaneous translator, and at the same time enrolled in Zagreb's
Academy for Theatre, Film and Television. During her second year at
the academy she began to get her first acting jobs and by her fourth
year there was starring in a series on Zagreb TV ("Velo Misto" or "The
Little Big Town"). Ms. Furlan then became a member of the Croatian
National Theatre Company where she played major parts in the world's
dramatic classics, including works by Shaw, Moliere and Brecht. She
also performed regularly at the Dubrovnik Summer Festival, playing
"Ophelia" in a production of "Hamlet" directed by the brilliant
Czechoslovakian director Jiri Menzel ("Closely Watched Trains") and as
"Gloria" in Marinkovic's "Gloria". Her first film role in 1982 won her
the Golden Arena for Best Supporting Actress.

Singing in a band for the fun of it in the mid-1980's, she met a
young, charming director who had come to do a rock video of one of the
songs. The video never did get made, but Mira had met the love of her
life, and her husband to be, the talented director Goran Gajic. He was
studying film in Belgrade at the time so Mira moved there to be with
him and began to take roles at some of the Belgrade theatres but
continuing to work in her hometown of Zagreb as well.

As the former-Yugoslavia began to tear itself apart in 1991 with
nationalist sentiments, ethnic divisions and war, Ms. Furlan was
performing at BITEF, an international theatre festival in Belgrade,
along with actors from all over the world. Her statement in the
program, that art should not serve any political or nationalist ideas,
angered fanatics on both sides of the conflict and a campaign of
hatred was begun against her in the press. Publicly vilified and
subjected to abuse, she was accused in Croatia of treason and dubbed
the "Serbian whore", and branded as a spy in Serbia. Strangers called
her and left messages on her answering machine describing in lurid
detail exactly how she was to be brutally massacred. Yet she received
not a single call from any of her friends or colleagues.

On the first of November 1991, she penned the powerful epistle "A
Letter to My Co-Citizens" which was published in the newspapers in
both Belgrade and Zagreb. Some two weeks later she and her husband
flew from Belgrade to New York to begin their new lives.

Mira has found, and won the hearts of, a new audience with her
compelling portrayal of the Minbari Ambassador "Delenn", on the award
winning series "Babylon 5". Since her arrival in the U.S. she has also
performed in a number of theatrical productions, a made-for-television
movie, and released a new CD.

In 1998, Mira gave birth to her and Goran's first child. Marko Lav
Gajic, a healthy 6 lb. 10 oz, 19 inch baby boy, was warmly welcomed at
5:45 am PST on December 15 at Cedars of Sinai Medical Center. The
Gajic family currently resides in Los Angeles, California.

In the summer of 2002 Ms. Furlan returned to Croatia to work for the
first time in eleven years, to star in the Ulysseys Theatre Company's
production of Medea on Mali Brijuni.


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