Jerzy Skolimowski and Joanna Szczerbic: The complex love story between an actress and a director

She was a rising star and the great hope of Polish cinema in the 1960s. He, the manager who had courted her twice. Johanna Schzerbeck met Jerzy Skolimowski while studying at film school Łódź, and although she immediately caught his eye, they became a couple only a few years later. The actress left the country for her beloved … disappeared from the screens. Although their marriage lasted a quarter of a century, it was not always colourful. The couple faced the death of their son, whose departure left a painful mark on Joanna. She died less than two years later… This is a complicated love story between a director and his lover.

Johanna Schjerbeck and Jerzy Skolimowski: the beginning of their love

She could become a great movie star, as all her friends were convinced of. Shortly after graduating from the acting department of the Łódź Film School, Johanna Schjerbeck played the main roles in Agnieszka 46 by Sylwester Czyński, later considered the hope of Polish cinema, and Aleksander Žibor-Rylski’s “Tomorrow Mexico”. Earlier, she first appeared in front of the camera, playing the role of Joasia in Konrad Nałęcki’s “Mansard”.

However, young Johanna Schjerbeck did not dream of making a brilliant career. Love was the most important thing for her. She fell in love with Jerzy Skolimowski, who at first – although she immediately catches his eye – was a consolation prize after Elżbieta Czyżewska, who dumped him. Skolim, as his friends called the director, was supposed to heal a broken heart by re-establishing a relationship with a beautiful young actress. Johanna made a great impression on him already when she started studying at the Łódź Film School. However, she remained unfazed by his advances, despite the fact that he was flattering her. She wasn’t even impressed by being offered the lead role in The Man Painting.

The promising actress gave Jerzy Skolimowski a basket, and then he got engaged to Elżbieta Czyżewska. For many years, until her death in 2010, the actress confirmed that she was married to the director. However, he himself denied these reports only recently. “We were not married. It was actually a very fleeting relationship. But he admitted in an interview with Gazeta Wyborcza. The lovers formed a couple for more than 5 years, until in 1965 Elżbieta met David Halberstam, an American journalist, with her current boyfriend, convinced that she would be more Happily with her new lover. Furious and abandoned, Skolem decided to try again to win the affection of Johanna Schjerbeck. This time he succeeded, and the actress agreed to marry him. By the end of 1965, they were already married.

Read also: He had a great career, which she supported. unusual relationship Grażyna Marzec and Olgierd Łukaszewicz

picture. Film archive / forum

Johanna Schjerbeck, frame from the 1966 film “The Barrier”.

Johanna Schwerbeck and Jerzy Skolimowski: A Love Story

Jerzy Skolimowski gave his wife the main role in The Barrier, and a year later he also wanted to cast her in the movie “Hands Up”, but the production was not recognized by the communist censors. At that time, the director decided that he would make no more films in Poland, as he was to hear “a wide road” from influential politician and collaborator Władysław Gomułka, who requested that the blockade be lifted for his film. “Then Roman Polanski arranged for me to produce The Adventures of Gerard with Claudia Cardinale – he helped me at first. This project was not lucky, but I had to earn a living on something,” Skolem said years later. Gazeta Weborcza.

When he decided to leave the country, he did not ask his wife’s opinion. However, she was madly in love with him, so when she heard from Jerzy Skolimowski that he had decided to leave, she went with him. Johanna Schjerbeck initially thought that she would appear in her husband’s films, but soon after the couple’s children were born: Mikhai was born in 1968, and Josef in 1970. So Johanna gave up her career and gave up acting, taking care of the house and children.

Years later, a confidant of the director, Jan Wodarczek, She revealed that Johanna Schjerbeck was actually forced to give up her profession. “Jerzy was so jealous of his productions and his wife. Sad for her. Joanna Schjerbeck was one of the most interesting actresses and most interesting faces… He took her away and hid her from people. Few people realize she didn’t quit. Skolimowski isn’t sure why he banned him.” He told Miroslaw J. Nowick. However, Jerzy Skolimowski denies reports that his wife did not achieve the career she deserves because of him.

The director maintains that Joanna never wanted to be an actress, but decided to do so…to spite her parents. “When she married me, she was relieved to say that she no longer needed acting, that she wanted to be a wife and a mother. She had never felt a movie calling nor appreciated the profession of an actress,” he said. Gazeta Weborcza.

See also: “It wasn’t easy loveJerzy Skolimowski and Elżbieta Czyżewska spent six tumultuous years at their side

Johanna Schzerbeck and Jerzy Skolimowski, December 1, 1966

picture. Bridgman Pictures – RDA/Forum

Johanna Schzerbeck and Jerzy Skolimowski, December 1, 1966

Joanna Schzerbeck and Jerzy Skolimowski: The couple’s complex relationship

Jerzy Skolimowski and Joanna Schwerbeck have been married for 25 years, but their relationship wasn’t always perfect. According to their son, Michaek Skolimovsky, they were also not ideal parents… “We were neglected. Mother did not give us a sense of security, because she felt threatened when her father traveled around the world. He worked in films and was absent. Father’s absence affected Joseph especially, because I I was born two years earlier, when my parents were still on their honeymoon from their relationship. Joseph did not have the beginning that could give him a basic background, “he admitted his childhood, childhood and younger brother in an interview with Newsweek.

The director was also known to have a soft spot for other women. “He was never a model of marital fidelity. This led to the final breakup of his relationship with Joanna,” Sławomir Cooper admitted in his book Movie Stars of the People’s Republic of Poland. Jerzy Skolimowski himself confirmed this opinion in an interview with Gazeta Wyborcza. “Joanna, my wife and mother of my two children, is one One of the most important women in my life. She divorced me because I got recklessly involved in unnecessary things and she was too ambitious to put up with it,” he revealed.

Johanna Schjerbeck suffered from her husband’s infidelity for a long time, but eventually she got tired of it. She decided to return to Poland and settled in a house in Szepa, which her husband had built. “She has a new profession, she is trying her hand at business, she has founded a house-building company,” Jerzy Skolimovsky admitted in 2001 during a meeting with the audience.

The couple’s children followed in their father’s footsteps and both became filmmakers. However, in 2012, tragedy befell the family… The younger brother, Joseph Skolimowski, who was also known as Joseph Kay, died of sepsis in India when he was collecting material for a new production. The departure of her beloved son completely broke Joanna Schjerbeck who could not accept it … She died less than two years later, on March 8, 2014. She was buried next to her child in the Powązki Cemetery. After the divorce, Jerzy Skolimowski married a producer and screenwriter, Ewa Piaskowska, who is 35 years his junior.

Read also: “It was love, support, tenderness.” Anna Kalczynska had a unique relationship with her father association

Michał Skolimowski, November 14, 2012

picture. Giampiero Sposito/Reuters/The Forum

Michał Skolimowski, November 14, 2012

Józef Skolimowski, Film Collection

picture. Krzysztof Jarosch / Forum

Józef Skolimowski, set from the movie “Ixjana”

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