Haluk Bilginer: Turkey's first Emmy Award-winning actor

Turkey on Monday celebrated renowned actor Haluk Bilginer after he won the Best Actor award at the International Emmy Awards in New York for his performance in the TV series Şahsiyet (Persona).

In the miniseries, Bilginer plays a man diagnosed with Alzheimer's who is cursed to eventually lose all his memories.

Bilginer's character turns the ailment into an opportunity in which he can execute guilty people without fear of suffering pangs of conscience.

The 12-episode series won acclaim from viewers in Turkey and abroad and is rated 9.1 out of 10 on the Internet Movie Database (IMDb).

- A LIFE IN ACTING
Born in 1954 in the Aegean Izmir province, Bilginer first acted in a theater group when he was a high school student and won his first award at an inter-high school competition in 1970.

After graduating from the Theater Department at Ankara State Conservatory, Bilginer worked for the State Theaters starting in 1977.

He also went to England to study at the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Arts (LAMDA). From 1980 to 1993, he performed on stage and on TV series in England. He gained fame for his 250 episodes in the role of Cypriot Mehmet Osman in the long-running soap opera EastEnders.

Bilginer started his movie career with the film A Cloud in Love in 1987. He later performed in Istanbul is Under My Wings, playing Hezarfen Ahmed Celebi, the legendary Ottoman aviator.

In 1987, he came to Istanbul to shoot a film called The Other Side of the Night. He had a role on the Young Indiana Jones TV series in Hollywood and in Two Women in Turkey. Shooting in Istanbul, Bilginer met actress Zuhal Olcay, whom he would marry in 1992.

In 1999 Olcay and Bilginer established the Play Atelier, where they staged many international plays including Moliere's The Mister and Anthony Horowitz's Mindgame.

In his career to date, Bilginer has been in nearly 80 films and TV series.

In Nuri Bilge Ceylan's Winter Sleep (2014), Bilginer shared the leading role with Turkish actress Demet Akbağ. The film is only the second Turkish feature ever to win the prestigious Palm d'Or, the highest prize given at Cannes.

Bilginer has been honored with 11 prestigious awards for his performances, including Masumiyet (Innocence, 1997) and Winter Sleep.


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