Tributes have begun to flow in after the death at the age of 76 of Stefan Danailov, one of Bulgaria’s most renowned actors and a former Minister of Culture.
Bulgaria’s National Assembly began its day’s sitting with a moment of silence for Danailov, who had been a long-serving MP.
“We will remember him for his charm, talent and artistry,” said Tsveta Karayancheva, Speaker of the National Assembly.
Danailov’s roles on stage and screen had gained him the warm recognition and affection of the whole nation, she said.
While Danailov’s political career was on the left-wing, such is the reverence in which he is held that tributes to his memory came from politicians of all parties.
The regular weekly sitting of Prime Minister Boiko Borissov’s coalition Cabinet also began with a minute’s silence for Danailov.
Borissov described Danailov as having been a great man.
Culture Minister Boil Banov expressed “words of respect and gratitude to one of the most beloved and charismatic personalities in Bulgarian culture”.
Yordanka Fandukova, mayor of Sofia – Danailov’s birthplace – said that he had been a beloved actor, a man of character who kept his word, “a teacher for the stage and about life”.
President Roumen Radev, whose candidacy in the 2016 election was put forward by an initiative committee headed by Danailov, paid tribute to him as “one of the most beloved actors of our time”.
In a Facebook post, Radev said: “We can hardly imagine Bulgarian cinema and theatre without his talent and charm.
“He was filled with a sense of duty to others and did not remain indifferent to the everyday life of the Bulgarians,” Radev said.
Kornelia Ninova, leader of the Bulgarian Socialist Party, said that Bulgaria had lost a great Bulgarian, loved and respected by millions of people.
Actor and director of the Ivan Vazov National Theatre Marius Donkin, who had worked with Danailov in numerous performances, paid tribute to Danailov as someone whose life was an example. “He loved everyone,” Donkin said. “I can’t forget how he cared for colleagues (even those) who were strongly against him.”
The Union of Bulgarian Actors expressed its thanks to Danailov for “the roles, the lessons, the talented students, the wise words and the attitude”.
Public broadcaster Bulgarian National Television announced that it was changing its programme for the evening of November 27, to show two feature films starring Danailov, and a documentary about him.
The memorial for Danailov will be held on December 2 at 11am at the Ivan Vazov National Theatre.