Mira Stupica

Mira Stupica

Stupica, center, with Vera Šegan and Mira Trailović in the 1950s.
Born Miroslava Todorović
(1923-08-17)17 August 1923
Gnjilane, Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes
Died 19 August 2016(2016-08-19) (aged 93)
Belgrade, Serbia
Occupation Actress
Years active 1940–2016
  • Nikola Popović Mavid
    (m. 1943; div. 1947)
  • Bojan Stupica
    (m. 1948; d. 1970)
  • Cvijetin Mijatović
    (m. 1973; d. 1993)
Children 1

Mira Stupica (née Miroslava Todorović; 17 August 1923 – 19 August 2016) was a Serbian actress best known for her work in the theater, but also had extensive career on television and in films. Enjoying the enduring popularity for over 60 years and celebrated as the ‘actress of the century’ by her peers, she is considered one of the best Serbian actresses of all times. [1][2]

Early life

Miroslava Todorović was born in Gnjilane, Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes.[3][4] She was born as the oldest child to Danica (née Stanišić) and Radomir Todorović, both professors at the gymnasium. She had three brothers, Predrag (died at the age of two), Zoran (died at the age of three) and Bora Todorović, who himself became a famous actor. [5][6] Family later moved to Gornji Milanovac, in central Serbia, where her father passed away in 1932, and then to Aranđelovac, before family settled in Belgrade, where Mira graduated from the Belgrade’s Trading academy.



She started to act already as a high school student and finished the acting studio of the Artistic theatre in Belgrade, where she began acting professionally in 1940. In 1941 she moved to National theatre. Her early career, so as personal life, was highly influenced by popular actor Milivoje "Mavid" Popović, who became her first husband, but the relationship was short. During and after the World War II she acted in the theatres in Šabac (1943-45) and Niš (1945-47), after which she returned to the National theathre in Belgrade. She was invited to the newly formed Yugoslav drama theatre (JDP) in 1948 by Bojan Stupica, tour de force of Serbian theatre who was in charge of creating JDP and making it the forerunner of the modern theatre in the state. Remaining at JDP on and off till 1970, she often changed theatre houses, though: 1955-57 Croatian National Theatre in Zagreb, JDP again 1957-59, then National theatre in Belgrade 1959-63, JDP again 1963-70, and finally National theatre in Belgrade 1970-79. She also acted as a guest in Atelje 212, Belgrade Drama Theatre, Zvezdara theatre and Montenegrin National Theatre. On European tour she won international acclaim as Petrunjela in Dundo Maroje by Marin Držić in Vienna, Paris and Moscow, but also performed elsewhere throughout her career, including Vienna, Leningrad, Budapest, Warsaw, Moscow, Paris, etc.

Her work with Bojan, and their subsequent marriage, had a semial influence on Mira’s maturity as an actress. She was known for her rich expression and emotivity and inspiring temperament, and for possessing universal aptitude toward acting, which allowed her to equally master both dramatic and comedic roles, and to successfully breaks barriers between the genres. Many of her performances are considered to be anthology roles in Serbian theatre. Appart from Petrunjela, others include: Živka (The Cabinet minister’s wife by Branislav Nušić), Joan of Arc (Saint Joan by George Bernard Shaw), Colombe (by Jean Anouilh), Grusha Vashnadze (The Caucasian Chalk Circle by Bertold Brecht), Lucietta (Le baruffe chiozzotte by Carlo Goldoni, Commissar (An Optimistic Tragedy by Vsevolod Vishnevsky), Glorija (by Ranko Marinković), Mirandolina (The Mistress of the Inn by Carlo Goldoni), Melita (Leda by Miroslav Krleža), Signora Ignazia (Tonight We Improvise by Luigi Pirandello), Mary (Mary fights with the angels by Pavel Kohout), Chérubin (The Marriage of Figaro by Beaumarchais), Ljubica (Đido by Janko Veselinović), Grushenka (The Brothers Karamazov by Fyodor Dostoyevsky), Alexandra Negina (Talents and Admirers by Aleksandr Ostrovsky), Danica (Ljubav by Milan Đoković), Madame Sans-Gêne (by Victorien Sardou), Actress (L'Otage by Paul Claudel), Baroness Castelli-Glembay (Messrs. Glembay by Miroslav Krleža), Nastasya Filipovna (The Idiot by Fyodor Dostoyevsky, Jenny Diver (The Threepenny Opera by Bertrold Brecht), Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy, Lady Milford (Intrigue and Love by Friedrich Schiller), Princess Ksenija of Montenegro (by Radmila Vojvodić).


Even though predominantly a theatrical actress, she landed several prominent film roles, especially in the 1950’s and 1960’s. She made her feature film debut in 1951 film Bakonja fra Brne by Fedor Hanžeković, followed by the roles in The Parvenus (1953; directed by Bojan Stupica), I Was Stronger (1953; Gustav Gavrin), Stojan Mutikaša (1954; Fedor Hanžeković), Hanka (1955; Slavko Vorkapić), U mreži (1956; Bojan Stupica), Mali čovek (1957; Žika Čukulić), The Fourteenth Day (1960; Zdravko Velimirović), Destination Death (1964; Wolfgang Staudte), Narodni poslanik (1964; Stole Janković), Roj (1966; Mića Popović), Pre rata (1966; Vuk Babić), Palma među palmama (1967; Milo Đukanović), Hanka (1955; Slavko Vorkapić), Delije (1968; Mića Popović), Sunce tuđeg neba (1968; Milutin Kosovac), Krvava bajka (1969; Branimir Tori Janković), Doručak sa đavolom (1971; Mika Antić), Kako umreti (1972; Miomir Miki Stamenković), Zvezde su oči ratnika (1972; Branimir Tori Janković) and Sablazan (1982; Dragovan Jovanović). After a long absence from the silver screen, younger generation of Serbian movie directors again showed interest in her, so she appeared in well received supporting roles in 2006 in Miroslav Momčilović’s Seven and a half and in 2011 in Srđan Dragojević’s The Parade.


After appearing in several TV movies, filmed plays and episodes of TV series, she landed a role of Kika Bibić, illiterate woman who learns to read in educational series TV Bukvar (TV Spelling-book), written by Aleksandar Popović for Radio Television Belgrade. Aired from 1968 to 1969, it brought Stupica an exceptional broad popularity and critical praise for her remarkable creation of folksy Kika. Many people believed that she is a real person, so much that she had a whole page in daily Politika on Saturday to answer to the letters sent to Kika. Her other noteworthy TV roles inculde those in mini-series Sedam sekretara SKOJ-a (1981), Španac (1982) and especially Priče iz fabrike (1985) and Otvorena vrata (1995).

Personal life

In 1943, at the age of 19, she married Serbian actor and famous playboy Milivoje "Mavid" Popović (1909-94), who was 14 years her senior. [5] They had a daughter Jasmina-Mina, but soon divorced. In 1948 she married Bojan Stupica, Slovene theatrical director, who was a major force in Serbian theatre until his death on May 22, 1970. Widowed, in 1973 she married Cvijetin Mijatović, a politician and they remained married until he passed away on November 15, 1993. From May 15, 1980 to May 15, 1981, Mijatović was President of the Presidency of Yugoslavia, a collective presidency of the republic, thus Mira Stupica was Yugoslav first lady in that period.

In 2015, she settled at the retirement home in Belgrade’s borrough of Zemun. [7][8] On 10 March 2016 [9] Stupica suffered a stroke, and after months without leaving the hospital, died on on 19 August 2016. [1][10]


Stupica was awarded the Award of the Federal Government of FNRJ in 1949 and Sedmojulska nagrada (at the time the highest government award in Serbia) in 1960.

She also won two awards at Sterijino pozorje in Novi Sad, the most important theatrical festival in Serbia, three Golden Lauren Wreath awards at MES in Sarajevo, and Ljubiša Jovanović award in Šabac in 1986. Stupica was awarded the highest theatrical awards for lifetime achievement in Serbian theatre, including Dobričin prsten in 1981, Statuette of Joakim Vujić in 1985 and lifetime achievement awards at Sterijino pozorje in 1984, and at the Dani Zorana Radmilovića festival in Zaječar in 2013.

At Pula Film Festival, top film festival in former Yugoslavia, she won two best actress awards, in 1954 (Stojan Mutikaša) and Golden Arena in 1966 (Roj).

At the Filmski susreti, actor’s festival in Niš, she was awarded at the inaugural festival in 1966 as the best actres (Roj). In 1969 she and Miodrag Petrović Čkalja won an award as the best acting couple of the year (Stupica for TV Bukvar). In 2006 she won an award for the best supporting female role in Seven and a half and in 2007 Pavle Vuisić award, the highest film acting award in Serbia, for her lifetime achievement in the movies.

In 2001, on the celebration of her 60-years of acting. Stupica on the stage publicly called for establishing the Velika Žanka award (Great Žanka), in honor of Žanka Stokić (1887-1947), today generally considered the best theatrical Serbian actress ever, pointing out that there are no appropriate awards for actresses in their prime, when they are too old for the debutant awards and still too young for the life-time awards. In 2002 it was announced that new award will be established next year, under the name of Žanka Stokić award. Mira Stupica was the president for life of the jury and the award has beed awarded yearly ever since.

On September 23, 2013, an exibition titled Mira Stupica – actress of the century was held in the Museum of the National Theathre in Belgrade.

In 2000 she published her autobiography Šaka soli (A handfull of salt) which became a bestseller in Serbia.


Theatre (selected)

Year Title Role Author
1941 The Marriage of Figaro Chérubin Beaumarchais
1941 Đido Ljubica Janko Veselinović
1942 A Midsummer Night's Dream Puck William Shakespeare
1942 Zona Zamfirova Ruška Stevan Sremac
1943 Kir Janja Katica Jovan Sterija Popović
1943 Tartuffe Dorine Molière
1948 Le baruffe chiozzotte Lucietta Carlo Goldoni
1949 Dundo Maroje Petrunjela Marin Držić
1949 Talents and Admirers Alexandra Negina Aleksandr Ostrovsky
195? The Mistress of the Inn Mirandolina Carlo Goldoni
195? Anna Karenina Anna Karenina Leo Tolstoy
1953 Blood Wedding Verenica Federico García Lorca
1955 Glorija Glorija Ranko Marinković
1955 Saint Joan Joan of Arc George Bernard Shaw
1956 Colombe Colombe Jean Anouilh
1957 The Caucasian Chalk Circle Grusha Vashnadze Bertold Brecht
1957 An Optimistic Tragedy Commissar Vsevolod Vishnevsky
1958 The Brothers Karamazov Grushenka Fyodor Dostoyevsky
1958 The Cabinet minister’s wife Živka Branislav Nušić
1959 The Threepenny Opera Jenny Diver Bertold Brecht
1959 Ljubav Danica Milan Đoković
1959 The Idiot Nastasya Filipovna Fyodor Dostoyevsky
1962 Leda Melita Miroslav Krleža
1973 Messrs. Glembay Baroness Castelli-Glembay Miroslav Krleža
1979 Stanoje Glavaš Stana Đura Jakšić
1983 Tonight We Improvise Signora Ignazia Luigi Pirandello
1984 Mary fights with the angels Mary Pavel Kohout
1986 Tattooed souls Altana Goran Stefanovski
1992 General Nedić Živka Nedić Siniša Kovačević
1994 Princess Ksenija of Montenegro Princess Ksenija Radmila Vojvodić
“Madame Sans-Gêne” Catherine Hübscher Victorien Sardou
L'Otage Actress Paul Claudel
Intrigue and Love Lady Milford Friedrich Schiller
Fuenteovejuna Laurencia Lope de Vega
Twelfth Night Viola William Shakespeare
The Lower Depths Vassilisa Maxim Gorky


Year English title Original title Role Director
1951 Bakonja fra Brne Bakonja fra Brne Maša Fedor Hanžeković
1953 The Parvenus Jara gospoda Ančka Bojan Stupica
1953 I Was Stronger Bila sam jača Zora Gustav Gavrin
1954 Stojan Mutikaša Stojan Mutikaša Anđa Fedor Hanžeković
1955 Hanka Hanka Ajkuna Slavko Vorkapić
1956 In the Net U mreži Višnja Bojan Stupica
1957 Little Man Mali čovek Nada Žika Čukulić
1960 The Fourteenth Day Dan četrnaesti Kristina Zdravko Velimirović
1964 Destination Death Muški izlet Miroslava Wolfgang Staudte
1964 People’s Deputy Narodni poslanik Pavka Stole Janković
1966 The Swarm Roj Stojanka Mića Popović
1966 Before the War Pre rata Sarka Vuk Babić
1967 Palm among the Palms Palma među palmama Palma Milo Đukanović
1968 The Sun of Another Sky Sunce tuđeg neba Rosa Milutin Kosovac
1968 The Tough Ones Delije Lepša Mića Popović
1969 A Bloody Fairytale Krvava bajka Piljak’s mother Tori Janković
1969 A Certain Distant Light Neka daleka svjetlost Uroš’s wife Josip Lešić
1971 Breakfast with the Devil Doručak sa đavolom Olga Miroslav Antić
1972 The Stars are the Eyes of warriors Zvezde su oči ratnika Nana Tori Janković
1972 How to Die Kako umreti Miki Stamenković
1973 Mortal Spring Samrtno proleće Aunt Ema Miguel Iglesias Bonns & Stevan Petrović
1982 Blasphemy Sablazan Miloš’s nana Dragovan Jovanović
2006 Seven and a Half Sedam i po Milica Miroslav Momčilović
2011 The Parade Parada Granny Olga Srđan Dragojević


Year Original title Role Notes
1959 Dundo Maroje Petrunjela TV movie
1961 Siromašni mali ljudi TV movie
1967 Volite se ljudi TV series; 1 episode
1967 Zabavlja vas Mija Aleksić TV show; 1 episode
1967 Noćna kafana Short
1968 Parničari Peasant woman TV series; 1 episode
1968 Maksim našeg doba TV series; 1 episode
1968 Kalendar Jovana Orlovića Caca TV movie
1968-1969 TV Bukvar Kika Bibić TV series
1969 Preko mrtvih Hristina Petrović TV movies
1970 Mirina TV stupica TV series
1971 Sve od sebe Mini-series
1971 Operacija 30 slova TV series
1971 Jedan čovek – jedna pesma TV series short
1972 Ženski razgovori TV series
1972 Selo bez seljaka TV series; 1 episode
1972 Slava i san Mother TV movie
1972 Nesporazum Marta TV movie
1973 Težak put TV movie
1976 Odluka Dušanka TV movie
1976 Poseta stare dame Klara Zahanasijan TV movie
1977 Zovem se Eli Mother TV movie
1978 Gospodarev zet TV movie
1981 Sedam sekretara SKOJ-a Zlatko Šnajder’s mother TV series
1982 Priče preko pune linije Rajna Prokić TV series; 1 episode
1982 Španac Žikica Jovanović Španac’s mother Mini series
1983 Imenjaci Mira TV series; 1 episode
1985 Priče iz fabrike Emilija Bošnjaković Babac TV series
1987 Ženska priča Majka TV movie
1989 Ranjenik Old woman TV series
1990 Gala korisnica: Atelje 212 kroz vekove Herself TV special
1995 Otvorena vrata Kristina Trobožić TV series; 6 episodes


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