It was his first major film role. Thanks to her, even those who did not know him until then remembered his name. Even though he appeared in more than 150 films before the popular Friends in the Rain. But Karl August’s success did not last long. It was given to him by a devil called alcohol.
He says to me: “Karlíčka, come for one. I hesitate, but I will listen. And then I’ll have ten of those beers,” he admitted. He is said to have struggled with excessive drinking all his life. Although many of his colleagues and TV viewers did not recognize it. He was incredibly hardworking.
He was able to study twenty roles a year. Mostly they were just “barks”, but he managed to squeeze a dose of humanity into them as well. He was inspired directly at the source – in pubs. “If you don’t know life in all its forms, you can’t be a good actor,” he used to say. So he sat down with the regulars, talked to them and transformed them into characters.
Actor of hundreds of roles
When Karel Augusta was not filming, he tried a number of other professions. He was an entertainer and a clown in the circus, a cook, a salesman at a stand with grilled chickens, a storekeeper and a helper at the Smíchov lock. “I used to be the girl for everything there. He cleaned, gardened and let the ships into the chambers,” he recalled.
But he still remained faithful to acting. The audience could see him in the role of the cook Murašek in the crime drama Girl to Kill, a thief in the TV series Malý pitaval from the big city or a plumber in the film … and again that Lucie! However, he only became known in the general public at the age of fifty-three thanks to the character of the “bad guy” Kadlec from the films Kamarád do dešte.
At the time of filming, Augusta felt like he was on a swing. He was head over heels in love with his lover – a ballerina, for whom he decided to lose weight. “He solved it by hardly eating and sated his hunger with dry white wine,” revealed his colleague Karel Heřmánek. But without enough nutrition, he was tired. “When it looked like nothing would be filmed that day, I sent him to the dressing room to have a drink,” shrugs director Jaroslav Soukup.
Finally, the devil exacted his toll. Not only did Karl’s offers for roles dwindle, but so did his strength. Broken, he returned to his wife Alena. “It was the end of May when he came home and immediately went to bed. He looked tired,” she recalled.
When he didn’t show up for breakfast in the morning, she started to worry. She carefully entered the room. “I asked if he was sick. He just replied that he likes me very much. That she wants me to know,” she says. The next day Karel Augusta was dead. He most likely died of kidney failure. His unexpected death surprised the creators of Buddies in the Rain, who were planning further filming at the time. They even had the script already written. Director Soukup, however, could not imagine the third part without the legendary “minus”. So he eventually postponed the film.
Resources: www.cs.wikipedia.org, www.korzar.sme.sk, www.idnes.cz