Levent Kırca, actor, political satirist, loses cancer battle
Kırca died at 2:30 a.m. on Monday morning in the Marmara University Pendik Training and Research Hospital, where he had been undergoing cancer treatment, the Cihan news agency reported.
Umut Kırca, one of the late thespian's four children, told reporters in front of the hospital that his father had been in critical condition for the past 10 days. The actor had been receiving chemotherapy treatment since July and was hospitalized last week, added Umut, Özdeş and Oğulcan Kırca, who were all by their father's bedside as he passed.
Umut Kırca said they knew their father's condition was critical and that he could die, but they “weren't expecting it to happen this soon.”
“He was an influential artist; he created so many great works throughout his [career of] 50 years,” Kırca added.
Oğulcan Kırca said: “His absence is nothing we can get used to.”
Although best known for his political and social satire in his weekly TV sketch show “Olacak O Kadar,” which he launched in 1988 on the Turkish state broadcaster TRT, Kırca was originally a stage actor who started his acting career in 1964 with the Ankara State Theater.
Before embarking on “Olacak O Kadar,” in which he regularly satirized political figures of the time as well as former coup generals, Kırca also acted in movies during the late 1970s. But his weekly comedy show became so popular that it ran for 22 seasons on various channels, including Star, ATV and Kanal D, before ending in the early 2000s. Its reruns were being aired until the early 2010s on several Turkish TV channels.
Meanwhile, Kırca and his second wife, Oya Başar, who was also a member of the leading cast in his TV show, founded the theater company Hodri Meydan, with whom they staged numerous plays.
Also an occasional film director, Kırca was honored with the title State Artist in 1998 by the Culture Ministry. The actor told reporters in April that he had recently been stripped of the title by President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.
An ailing Kırca had written a letter to his fans recently from his hospital bed when he was deemed worthy of a lifetime award by the organizers of this year's 5th Bodrum Turkish Film Week, which he couldn't attend due to his chemotherapy sessions.
“… I cannot tell right now for sure whether a person from my generation should feel sad because he hasn't been able to see the results of his efforts come to fruition, or find consolation in the fact that at least he won't be seeing it all get worse,” read an excerpt from the letter, seen by his fans and family as Kırca's farewell note.