EastEnders and After in Haluk Bilginer’s Career: Haluk Bilginer (II)

As we notified, it is a hard task to squeeze Haluk Bilginer’s career into only one post. The Turkish actor has the entire corpus, which is unbelievable. What unbelievable is to understand how a human being can be that productive in one single life. And yet, and moreover, how steadily improves his acting talents in every single role…

Haluk Bilginer as Agah in Şahsiyet (Persona), an 8-episode-long mini internet series
Haluk Bilginer as Agah in Şahsiyet (Persona), an 8-episode-long mini internet series

So, are you ready? Let’s continue with the second part of the best Turkish actor alive…


Before we continue, you may want to look at the first part of the serial:

The Best Turkish Actor with a Splendid Acting Career: Haluk Bilginer (I)


Haluk Bilginer's career is one of the greatest ones that anyone in the Turkish TV and cinema sector has ever had
Haluk Bilginer’s career is one of the greatest ones that anyone in the Turkish TV and cinema sector has ever had

Haluk Bilginer’s Career After EastEnders: The Chapter Turkey

During the course of East Enders, the actor came to Turkey to star in the 1987 TV series Gecenin Öteki Yüzü (The Other Side of the Night). Thanks to this series, Haluk Bilginer met his eventual first wife Zuhal Olcay, a famous Turkish actress and singer. After dividing his time in London and Istanbul for six years, he left the show to stay in Turkey permanently and married Olcay in 1992. He guest-starred in an episode of Young Indiana Jones as İsmet İnönü. Then, he went on to star in the Yavuz Özkan film “İki Kadın” (Two Women). He, then, starred in various movies including the controversial Istanbul Kanatlarımın Altında (Istanbul Under My Wings). Furthermore, he also starred in the famous Usta Beni Öldürsene (Master, Kill Me). After critical acclaim for these roles, he earned his first award as a supporting actor in Masum (Innocent).

The actor starred in Buffalo Soldiers film in 2001 along with the world-famous Oscar-winning American actor Joaquin Phoenix
The actor starred in Buffalo Soldiers film in 2001 along with the world-famous Oscar-winning American actor Joaquin Phoenix

New Stage in Haluk Bilginer’s Career: Theatre

After deciding he wants to pursue a career on stage, he founded “Tiyatro Stüdyosu” (Theatre Studio) with his wife Zuhal Olcay and Ahmet Levendoğlu in 1990. After starring in various plays for six years, he had to return to the screen in 1996. Because a fire destroyed the theater. He and his wife starred in television and movies to raise money to found another theater. During this era, he starred in Eyvah Kızım Büyüdü (Oh My, My Daughter Has Grown), starting his second era in television. After years of work, he and his wife managed to start a second theater, called “Oyun Atölyesi” (Play Workshop).

Tatlı Hayat (Sweet Life) was the best debut of the actor on Turkish TV
Tatlı Hayat (Sweet Life) was the best debut of the actor on Turkish TV

The First Most Famous Role of Haluk Bilginer: Tatlı Hayat (Sweet Life)

His most famous role however came after he started his second theater. He landed a role in Tatlı Hayat (Sweet Life), a remake of The Jeffersons. The actor played the role of İhsan Yıldırım, an angry, racist and foul-mouthed, yet lovable dry cleaner. He was accompanied by legendary actress Türkan Şoray, who played his wife. Asuman Dabak was, on the other hand, playing the witty cleaner. As for Neco, he was playing the Greek neighbor (The enmity between Greeks and Turks were put instead of the Black-White one in the original). And there was Çolpan İlhan, who was playing Neco’s wife. He and the show’s breakthrough character İrfan (played by Celal Kadri Kınoğlu) are regarded as the best characters in Turkish TV history.

Haluk Bilginer in Masumiyet (Innocence), a prestigious Turkish film
Haluk Bilginer in Masumiyet (Innocence), a prestigious Turkish film

He Polishes Every Roles He Touches

After Tatlı Hayat, he starred in Neredesin Firuze (Where Are You Firuze?), Hırsız Var (Thief!) and Hacivat Karagöz Neden Öldürüldü? (Why Were Hacivat&Karagöz Murdered?). His other role in Polis (Police) however, received critical acclaim. His portrayal of the troubled police legend Musa Rami has gained critical acclaim from both critics and viewers. They thought the movie was too experimental. Bilginer, however, has said that he will work in all of Onur Ünlü’s (screenwriter and director of Polis) movies, even as an extra if required.

Five Minarets in NY was a huge movie in the Turkish film industry and in Haluk Bilginer's career
Five Minarets in NY was a huge movie in the Turkish film industry and in Haluk Bilginer’s career

Haluk Bilginer’s Career Continues Growing

Bilginer played the role of Mustafa Kemal Atatürk in an İş Bank commercial, which first aired on 10 November 2007 during the 69th commemorations of Atatürk’s death. Bilginer co-starred in the 2009 American thriller The International as Ahmet Sunay, a Turkish high-tech missile guidance system dealer. He was accompanied by Clive Owen and Naomi Watts in this movie.

In Haluk Bilginer's career, Turkish TV series Ezel has probably been the most phenomenon job ever
In Haluk Bilginer’s career, the Turkish TV series Ezel has probably been the most phenomenon job ever

Bilginer starred as Aydin, an imposing grey-haired former actor, in Winter Sleep, which won the Palme d’Or at the Cannes Film Festival in 2014. The actor, then, played Dr. Ranbir Sartain, the new psychiatrist of Michael Myers, in the slasher sequel Halloween.

Haluk Bilginer’s Filmography

In his career to date, Bilginer has been in nearly 80 films and TV series.

In Nuri Bilge Ceylan’s Winter Sleep (2014), Bilginer shared the leading role with Turkish actress Demet Akbağ. The film is only the second Turkish feature ever to win the prestigious Palm d’Or, the highest prize given at Cannes.

Azizler (Stuck Apart) is a 2021-make Netflix original production in which Haluk Bilginer starred as one of the leading roles
Azizler (Stuck Apart) is a 2021-make Netflix original production in which Haluk Bilginer starred in one of the leading roles

Bilginer has been honored with 11 prestigious awards for his performances, including Masumiyet (Innocence, 1997) and Winter Sleep.

Some of the best movies he has ever starred in

  • Azizler (Stuck Apart) (2021)
  • Noah Land (2019)
  • Halloween (2018)
  • Forget About Nick (2017)
  • The Ottoman Lieutenant (2017)
  • Shelter (2017)
  • Rosewater (2014)
  • Winter Sleep (2014) — The movie was awarded as the best film at the Palm d’Or Awards.
  • Five Minarets in NY (2010)
  • The International (2009)
  • Robbery Alla Turca (2005)
  • Buffalo Soldiers (2001) — In the movie, Haluk Bilginer starred along with the Oscar-winning American actor Joaquin Phoenix.
  • Istanbul Beneath My Wings (1996)
Five Minarets in NY was a huge movie in the Turkish film industry and in Haluk Bilginer's career
Five Minarets in NY was a huge movie in the Turkish film industry and in Haluk Bilginer’s career

Some of the Best TV Shows He Has Ever Starred in

  • EastEnders (1985)
  • Spooks (2002)
  • Ezel (2009)
  • New Blood (2016)
  • Şahsiyet (Persona) (2018)
  • Masum (Innocence) (2019)

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