Jerzy Cnota, who played the unforgettable outlaw highlander Gąsior in the series Janosik and senior citizen Kopciński in The Lousy World, died last Thursday after a severe and protracted illness. He was 74.
Jerzy Cnota was born on October 17, 1942, in Jastrzębie-Zdrój, but lived most of his life in Chorzów. ‘I come from Silesia and I will never disown my roots. I was born and raised here. I learned so much here,’ he used to say. After graduating in Russian from the Jagiellonian University, Kraków, he completed a degree course in drama at Warsaw’s PWST in the 1990s. While still a student, he performed at the famed Cellar under the Rams, Kraków.
Cnota came to wide attention with his role in TV series Janosik in 1973, helmed by Jerzy Passendorfer, where he starred alongside Marek Perepeczko, Witold Pyrkosz and Bogusz Bilewski.
Before that, he appeared in Kazimierz Kutz’s two Silesian films, Salt of the Black Earth and Pearl in the Crown. He also created many memorable supporting roles including in Stanisław Bareja’s What Will You Do When You Catch Me? and Teddy Bear.
Since 2011 Jerzy Cnota has made a few appearances in The Lousy World. The tenement denizens did not take a shine to his character, but in real life the actor was well liked. We’re going to miss him.