On September 21, 2022, on the day of Hungarian drama, Ildikó Kóti, widow of Árpád Kóti, sculptor Richárd Juha (b), and mayor László Papp unveiled the bust of Zoltán Latinovits in front of the Csokonai Forum theater complex in Debrecen, on the day of Hungarian drama.
To the right, you can see the bust of Árpád Kóti, who died in 2015, which was also unveiled today. Photo: MTI/Zsolt Czeglédi
Árpád Kóti signed a contract with the Csokonai Theater in Debrecen in 1963. He came to Cívisváros at the invitation of György Lengyel, and according to his account, it was as if he had come home. Later he also played in other theaters, but always only for one role; the thought of the contract never crossed his mind.
He primarily played dramatic characters, but his title roles are also significant: Matyi Lúdas (1969), Márton the Coast Guard Fázik (1999), Bácsi Ványa (1983), King Lear (2006), Moraje Dundo (2008), Én, Gáspár Károli (2009). The number of his registered performances is nearly 200. He was considered one of the most beautiful and naturally speaking Hungarian actors. The Kossuth, Jászai Mari, and Csokonai prize-winning actor, worthy and outstanding artist, recipient of the Order of Merit of the Republic of Hungary, was elected Actor of the Nation on December 1, 2014, in recognition of the care of the Hungarian language, the interpretation of national literature, Hungarian theater, his outstanding merits in the field of development and popularization of national drama. On April 11, 2015, he became an Honorary Citizen of the City of Debrecen.
Zoltán Latinovits was a member of the Csokonai Theater company between 1957-1959 and 1961-1962. His modern playing style was characterized by an intellectual interpretation of roles, a detailed depiction of emotions, and an exceptional ironic tendency.
We first met his name in 1957 on a stage in Debrecen. Jenő Heltai played the role of Sándor Pázmán in his play Tündérlaki nýyok. The performance was directed by György Thuróczy; his playmates were: Ila Timár, Márta Fényes, Edit Csengeri, Ibolya Schaff, Sári Tikos, Katalin Ujvárosi, Irén Petróczky, Elemér Bán, Sándor Dánffy, Ferenc Puskás. During this period, he had shows every month – in small and large roles.
Although he prioritized theater acting, he also made a lasting impression on Hungarian cinema: first as Krisztyán Tódor in the 1962 adaptation of The Golden Man, then in The Lapwing, The Poor Boys, Alfa Romeo, and Juliet, Szindbád, The Legend of Pendragon, The Fifth in the roles of a seal. He took home the award for best actor at the San Sebastián International Film Festival for his film adaptation of Journey around my skull.