Cüneyt Arkın, one of the most famous Turkish actors of all time, passed away on Tuesday night at the age of 84.
According to media reports, Arkın, who has been suffering from health problems for a long time, was admitted to the Liv Hospital in Istanbul on Monday evening due to heart problems. As the hospital announced, the actor’s heart had already stopped when he arrived. All attempts to revive him were unsuccessful.
Arkın was born Fahrettin Cüreklibatır on September 8, 1937 in Eskişehir. He became acquainted with the film world in 1963 when he won a competition and met the director Halit Refiğ during his military service. The following year he appeared in a film for the first time (“Gurbet kuşları”). The fight scene at the end of this film would eventually shape his acting career.
As “Malkoçoğlu” and “Battal Gazi” Arkın conquered the hearts of the Turks
Refiğ then advised him to act in action films. Arkın took acrobatics lessons and implemented what he had learned in the classics “Malkoçoğlu”, “Battal Gazi” or “Kara Murat”. It is mainly about the Byzantine period, in which Arkın embodies the (historically verifiable or fictional) heroes of the same name of that time and fights against the Crusaders or Byzantines. The numerous stunt scenes in those films in which Arkın is said to have broken his bones several times are particularly memorable. He also showed his acting talent in “Maden” (1978) and “Vatandaş Rıza” (1979).
Arkın, who originally studied medicine and also worked as a doctor for a time, was also active as a screenwriter, film director and producer and also acted in series in his later years. He first became known in Germany with the science fiction film “Dünyayı kurtaran adam” (The man who saves the world), which is regularly voted one of the worst films of all time.
But this did not detract from his popularity throughout his life. A cult grew up around him that is comparable to that of Arnold Schwarzenegger, Sylvester Stallone or Jean-Claude van Damme. This cult is likely to persist even after his death.