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Legendary Actor István Szilágyi Killed by His Own Son

Péter Cseresnyés 2020.05.04.

Actor István Szilágyi was allegedly beaten to death by his son in his home early Sunday morning. Police closed the entire street and the son of the 82-year-old actor was detained.

According to press reports, István Szilágyi died of a blow to his head on Sunday morning. The actor was allegedly attacked by his own son and beaten to death with a hammer. Police arrested the alleged perpetrator, 49-year-old Péter Sz.

The man had previously stood trial in court for violence against his father. In the summer of 2017, he broke István Szilágyi’s ribs, the actor had to stay in the hospital for several days. In 2018, the court sentenced him to two years in prison for the felony of aggravated battery, but it was suspended for three years, given that he had no criminal record.

Police at the crime scene. Photo: Zoltán Mihádák/MTI

After his graduation at the Academy of Drama and Film in Budapest in 1961, István Szilágyi started his career at the Gárdonyi Géza Theater in Eger. He later worked at the Irodalmi Színpad (Literary Stage), the Vidám Színpad, the National Theater of Pécs, and the Comedy Theater of Budapest.

He first appeared on the big screen in 1959 in the film ‘Skylight Window’ (Égrenyíló ablak), and became popular in 1968 after taking the role of the character Mr. Sípos in the Hungarian television series ‘Pepper’ (Bors).

However, the outstanding character actor’s greatest role was that of Gáspár Lópici in the 1974 children’s TV series ‘Hard hat and potato-nose’ (Keménykalap és krumpliorr).

In addition to his cinematic and theatrical roles, he is also well known in Hungary for his series of commercials:  in the ’90s he became the face of the Lottery.

In 2002, Szilágyi received the Aase Award, founded by Hilda Gobbi, in 2003 he was awarded the Hilda Gobbi Lifetime Achievement Award, and in 2009 he was presented with the Lifetime Achievement Award of Hungarian Film Critics. In 2010, he was offered the Kisfaludy Award, in 2015 the Kisfaludy Lifetime Achievement Award, and in 2016 the Pro Urbe Győr Award.

In his last years, he was living in Rákosliget  (17th district of Budapest) in extremely modest circumstances.

Featured photo by Bea Kallos/MTI