Tadeusz Olsza, actual name Tadeusz Blomberg (b. 03 December, 1895 - d. 01 June, 1975), Polish actor of film, cabaret and stage; singer, dancer and director. From 1915 to 1917 taught vocal classes at the Warsaw Conservatory . Thanks to his talent and versatility he was able to pass his Actor's Guild exam without having to attend any acting classes or courses.
Olsza was one of the most popular actors of the cabaret, vaudeville and drama theatre in Poland. From 1921 he performed in such Warsaw cabarets and vaudevilles as: "Stańczyk" , "Karuzela", "Stara Banda", "Qui Pro Quo" (where he made famous the Polish version of the song "Smoke Gets in Your Eyes" called "Dymek z papierosa"), "Perskie Oko", "Morskie Oko", in the operetta "Nowości" and in "Warsaw Cyrulik". Tadeusz Olsza sang one of the most popular hits of the pre-war music charts: "Ja mam ciocię na Ochocie" (translated: "I have an aunt who lives in Ochota") and became quite famous for his excellent parody performance of Felicjan Składkowski - (a Polish physician, general and politician who served as Polish Minister of Internal Affairs and was the last Prime Minister of Poland before World War II).
Olsza was not only successful in such diverse dramatic structures as monologue, satire, revue sketches, vignettes and musical theater but was also a superb dancer ( he partnered Loda Halama and her sister Zizi in a hit musical review called " A thousand beautiful girls"). He was well-known in Warsaw for being the best tango dancer - thanks in part to his excellent performance of the apache tango with Stanisława Nowicka - known back then as the "Queen of the Tango".
In 1918 Olsza added film acting to his already versatile albeit budding career. He made his big-screen debut by playing small roles in German films such as: "Mater Dolorosa" or "Jugendliebe". From 1921 he began performing in Polish films - for although cinema was still in its infancy - Warsaw could already boast of twenty five movie houses and two filmmaking companies: Kosmofilm and Sfinks. Among Olsza's film appearances were dramatic roles in: "Scream in the Night" (1922), "What We Don't Talk About" (1924, dir. J. Galewski, M. Krawicz); "Destiny's Smile" (1927); "Sinful Love" (1929); "Voice of the Heart" (1930, Les Studios Paramount, Joinville-le-pont, Val-de-Marne, France); "Seduced" (1931); "White Poison" (1932); "His Greatest Love" (1936, dir. S. Perzanowska, M. Krawicz), as well as comedy roles in: "Police Chief Antek" (1935, dir. M. Waszynski), "His Excellency - Count Chauffeur " (1935, dir. K. Tom) - and others. Tadeusz Olsza was frequently involved in the Polish Radio almost from its inception by taking part in numerous programs, monologues and vignettes. To this day Polish Radio One occasionally broadcasts some of his archived performances.
August 1939, just before the Invasion of Poland (otherwise referred to as The 1939 September Campaign) found Tadeusz Olsza in Orłów, a popular beach resort on the Baltic coast, where he was attending rehearsals for an upcoming performance in a new review. Upon learning of the mobilization - he immediately returned to Warsaw and enlisted into the army at the Warsaw Recruiting Command on the 24th of August, 1939. After the fall of the September Campaign - Olsza (and others) found his way to Romania, where in Bucarest he took part in a stage presentation of "The Little Quail Ran Away From Me" ( "Uciekła mi przepióreczka" based on a book by Stefan Żeromski), produced by The Artist Troupe of Warsaw. In 1940, he journeyed through Yugoslavia and Italy - arriving in Paris, France just before it's surrender in June of that year. After the fall of France, Olsza joined the Polish Armed Forces in the West (under the command of Gen. Władysław Sikorski later elected Prime Minister of the Polish Government in exile) and was evacuated to the United Kingdom. During 1941 - 1943, while stationed in Scotland, he organized and ran a semi-professional "Field Theatre" of the 1st Polish Riflemen Brigade (under the command of gen. Gustaw Paszkiewicz); took part in circuit and regional performances as well as entertainment tours providing much needed morale support not only to the Polish troops but also to the local residents.
After returning to Poland in 1946, Tadeusz Olsza first performed in a Cracow cabaret called "Seven Cats" and then, in February of
1947, along with his mentor Janusz Wamecki, Tadeusz came to Warsaw to the "Teatr Muzyczny Domu Wojska Polskiego". Here, under the direction of J. Tuwim and J. Warnecki he became famous for his character roles in Dobrzanski's "Soldier of The Queen of Madagascar" ("Żołnierz Królowej Madagaskaru") adapted by Tuwim.
In 1948 Tadeusz Olsza, who by then was already a widely recognized and regarded member of The Stage Actors' Union - ZASP (equivalent to the Actors Equity), continued his long and highly acclaimed career on the stages of "Buffo" (known as "The Best Musical Theatre in the capital" ) and theatre "Syrena" ("The Mermaid"). He remained with "Syrena" until his retirement in 1971.
Besides his well-known and hugely succesful theatre career as a comedian, satirist and character actor, Tadeusz Olsza had many other impressive accomplishments. Not only did he perform countless monologues and sketches to the delight of Polish Radio listeners; not only was he one of the first Polish actors (stage or film) to perform live in front of the cameras of the fledgling Polish TV (circa 1953); not only did he sing in "Szpak" ( A cabaret founded by Zenon Wiktorczyk in May of 1954); but he also ingeniously directed several theatre productions and musical reviews incl: "The Miracle at Buffo" and "As Long as We're All Healthy".
By the National Council's (Rada Państwa) decree in 1959 - in recognition of his outstanding professional achievements and for his loyal service to his country, Tadeusz Olsza was decorated with one of the highest civilian medals of honor - The Commander's Cross of the Order of Restitution of Poland II class (Krzyż Komandorski Orderu Odrodzenia Polski II-ej klasy). In 1966 the FJN (Front Jedności Narodu - The Front for Country Unity) awarded Olsza the Millenium Badge of Merit for his contributions to the commemoration and celebration of Poland's Millenium.
After being forced to retire in 1971 - disenchanted with the political atmosphere and embittered by increasingly restrictive and discriminatory artistic practices - Tadeusz Olsza immigrated to Great Britain in February of '72 where he lived with his wife and family until his death in 1975.
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