Jiří Krampol is an icon of Czech acting and voice acting. He recently celebrated his 83rd birthday, but he definitely doesn't look the part. He is still very active and loves socializing. Unfortunately, his fourth wife Hanka passed away a year ago. Despite the great sadness he still feels, he tries not to lose enthusiasm and tries to live on. In an interview for LP-life.com, the actor talked about his wife and his activities, of which he has more than enough. There is nothing worse than not having anything to do.
We are in Šanov for the Angel Among Health Professionals event. What do doctors mean to you?
I have endless respect for doctors. There are doctors, as they say, who heal, and then those who want you in a certain state. Fortunately, I have a few doctors who heal me. Or, well, heal, I basically never went to the doctor before I had the injury, I avoided it my whole life, so the insurance company definitely made money on me. But I appreciate it so much, because it's amazing how these people devote their entire lives to it. They're on high alert, doctors never have peace. They're on vacation and have their phone on to know what's going on. I have incredible respect for them, not only for doctors, but for health professionals in general.
You are 83 years old, you also went through some health shenanigans. But still, when I look at you, I have to say that you look healthy and strong.
Nobody in the world is all healthy and strong, but for me, my bronchi are messed up. I've had it since childhood because of my mother, everyone in our family had it, grandma, aunts. Then I had a knee injury, but otherwise, thank God, it's good.
You've been doing sports all your life, you've been doing weightlifting.
No, I did everything possible. As a child, I did fencing from the age of nine to fifteen, then I tried boxing. All my life I've been trying to play tennis, so it's not tennis in the true sense of the word, but as we call it, Czech tennis light. Well, now I keep exercising, I'm keeping myself in shape.
But exercising is different when you're thirty, fifty, and eighty.
One should always exercise. Of course, I can't exercise like I did at twenty-five when I used to do running. I did a backflip when I was fifty-three. I used to do skydiving with Pepík Laufer, we played paratroopers in an American movie, Operation Daybreak, so we learned how to skydive. I did all kinds of sports.
You are not a typical Czech senior. Do you have peers around you who are as active as you are?
I do, of course. This place old geezers go, we call it the Paralympics. It's funny, we talk a lot. But I think it's important. There are different types of people, someone goes out to feed birds in their forties. Look at Jiřina Bohdalova, ninety years old, and hats off to her, she remembers lyrics, she acts, she appears on camera. It's fantastic.
You lost your wife last year. These days, palliative care is a thing dealing with the end of life. What was it like to take care of your wife?
It was terrible.
She was sick, but could palliative care help at all?
It could not be helped because she'd had three injuries and that's how it started. She had broken an arm, a leg, and then shattered her shoulder. She took pills for it, and it basically finished her off.
What is it like, after a person passes away? I'm not talking about emotions, but the practical side.
Sadness, profound sadness.
It's unpleasant. So personally I hate funerals, coffins and urns, I'm absolutely not moved by it. I like one church, in America, that doesn't bother with this at all. There they worship the person by meeting in a meadow, where everyone puts down a stone, tells a story about them, drink a shot, go home and remember them, the nice experiences they'd had. But these traumatic things, funeral marches, I'm not about that.
Did you ever talk to Hanka about it, how you imagine your last goodbye?
I don't deal with this, I act like it's not a thing. I don't go to funerals. When I was at the funeral of Michal Pešek, who died young, and with whom we did Pitaval, instead of writing something about Michal Pešek, they wrote, Jiří Krampol in a friendly talk with Miroslav Šlouf. These are insensitive beasts who basically get off on it.
Are you this disgusted by the media?
No. I don't normally talk about it at all, when someone asks me about it, I refuse to talk about it.
Being with someone for 32 years, that's not a small thing. She was a beautiful girl, very hardworking, successful. When she got sick, instead of someone supporting me, they shot her down, made her into everything possible and then some, a drug addict, an alcoholic, a thief. They imposed all possible existing negative stereotypes on her, which of course was not true. If someone is in terrible pain, they will probably take pills, take anything, just to stop it from hurting. And with that being the road to hell, well, it is, unfortunately.
We've finally seen the easing of restrictions, what are you looking forward to?
I'm doing three shows now. I'm looking forward to discovering new things. We finished the book with Zuzana Bubílková, I'm happy about that, because I think it could be nice. I have been promised one movie, but I can't talk about it yet. The main tragedy is that people stopped going to the cinema.
This was mainly due to the coronavirus.
Not just that, it's global, it's not just here. Unfortunately.
Why do you think it is?
People are fed up with it. When I was young, there was no television, then there was, and there were one or two stations. Now there are a thousand stations, and you don't know what to choose. Unfortunately, by chasing an audience, they put themselves down. The work is terribly superficial. Take this series, it's terribly cheap. It's about nothing. It's how people have fun all over the world, just killing time.
When you turn on the TV, what do you like to watch?
I like to look at nature, watch documentaries, or if there is a good film. The other day I loved Sekal Must Die. I've seen it about three times, it's one of the best movies I've ever seen. There are amazing actors, like Bartoška, who plays a priest, and the Pole who plays the main role.
How do you remember your filming days? What did you love the most?
I, fortunately, had a lot of roles, and nice ones. Main roles, large roles, not so large roles, small roles. I liked everything, otherwise I couldn't have done it.
You will now be publishing the book.
We've already done about eight books, that's nothing new.
How do your fans react to this?
I can't complain about the fans. In general, the reactions are positive.
Are you on social media?
No, I hate it. Deep down, I hate it, I hate it so much, I don't want it.
But it's a pretty good promotion, for example for those books.
I don't need it.
How do you stay connected to your fans?
I go to performances, to discussions. That's enough for me. If there is something interesting somewhere, someone will show it to me, but I do not look for it. Like how people put their summer holidays on social media all the time. I just found out that someone has already created a profile for me three times without my knowledge.
Do you travel a lot, are you planning any more trips?
To tell you the truth, I don't desire any sightseeing tours. I've seen enough of those rusty suits of armour, the stuffed bears in the castles. I enjoyed the beautiful sea in Djerba, a nice hotel, just relaxing.
Do you still go to South Moravia?
I like returning to South Moravia. My wife was from Kyjov, I used to go there as a child, my grandmother lived in Bystřice pod Hostýnem. Dad was born in Haná, when I was little, we used to go there. I really like going to Moravia, I think it's somehow better there.
South Moravia was recently hit by a devastating tornado. Did you know anyone there?
That's terrible. Fortunately, no one in the family was affected.
What would you say to the people of South Moravia?
I'm very sorry, I sympathize with those people, and if I could help in any way, I'd love to. That's horrible.
Mr Krampol, thank you very much for the interview.
In one sentence, how did you get through the coronavirus year?
When you hear 'an angel among health professionals' - who is your medical angel?
What would you say to our government?
What was the last thing that made you laugh to the point of tears?
Your worst nightmare?
What should your new partner look like?
Who do you think is the most beautiful Czech actress?
What can you not imagine your life without?
What was the last thing you prayed to God for?
The most amazing day of your life?
What do you consider your greatest achievement?
If you could choose, would you go to dinner with Joe Biden, Vladimir Putin or Miloš Zeman?
Your role model?
I would like to ask you, who checks over the titles of those tabloid articles.
I'll tell you one thing... when someone dies, it's a very serious thing. And then someone asks me if I buried my wife already and I say we put her in the family grave with the parents, and an article comes out: He got rid of the urn! It looks like I threw it in the trash, it's so offensive. How can anyone write such horseshit?
These are the editors and marketers who make sure it attracts clicks.
They deserve a punch in the face. I'd like them to know that.