De Britse acteur en toneelauteur Steven Berkoff viert vandaag zijn tachtigste verjaardag.

Berkoff has stated that he takes film roles only in order to subsidise his theatre work. He regards many of the films he has appeared in as lacking artistic merit. Zo is hij o.m. te zien in Rambo- en James Bond-films, maar ook in the 1967 Hammer film Prehistoric Women. Still, Steven Berkoff was David Lynch’s first choice for Frank Booth in “Blue Velvet” (1986) but he rejected it. Berkoff said that “there was nothing in that part except destruction”. The role then went to Dennis Hopper who is reported to have exclaimed, “I’ve got to play Frank. Because I am Frank!” (IMDb)
Maar zoals gezegd, normaal gezien beschouwt Berkoff acteren enkel als “noodzakelijk kwaad” om op die manier zijn eigen toneelstukken te kunnen financieren. Vooral in Arca in de jaren negentig was hij erg populair. Op korte tijd werden er niet minder dan drie stukken van hem opgevoerd: “The fall of the house of Usher“, “Mierenzeik” en “Harry’s christmas“.
In 1996, Berkoff prevailed as the plaintiff in Berkoff vs. Burchill, a libel civil action which he brought against Sunday Times journalist Julie Burchill, after she published comments suggesting that he was “hideously ugly“; the judge ruled for Berkoff, finding that Burchill’s actions “held him to ridicule and contempt.”
Berkoff is a committed Zionist, and an enthusiastic supporter of Israel, who believes that being a Jew is inseparable from being a Zionist: Berkoff equates Zionism with being Jewish, stating in The Daily Telegraph in January 2009 that “Zionism is the very essence of what a Jew is. Zionism is the act of seeking sanctuary after years and years of unspeakable outrages against Jews.
In 2012 was hij te zien als Savonarola in de televisieserie “De Borgia’s”.

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