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Türkan Şoray

Türkân Şoray (born June 18, 1945, Istanbul), is a Turkish actress, screenwriter and director. Türkân Şoray has starred in the most feature films for a female actress worldwide, and has a whopping 222 films to her name. She is regarded as one of the four most important actresses in Turkish cinema, and is the icon for a golden age in Turkish cinematography.

Türkân Şoray, born in Eyüp, Istanbul, Turkey, was the first child in a family of government officials. Türkân has two sisters, namely Nazan and Figen. Their father passed away very early.

With the support of her mother, Meliha Şoray (1927-1984), Türkân decided to step into the acting world, and starred in her first film in the 1960s.

Türkân has had two public relationships in the span of her career. She had an on-again/off-again relationship with Rüçhan Adlı (1923-1995), the former vice-president of soccer club Galatasaray, of which she eventually parted her ways from, after he continuously said to, but failed to leave his wife for her. She did, however, stay by his side in the hospital, and spent his last days with him there when he was on his deathbed in 1995.

Türkân married theater actor Cihan Ünal in 1983, and had a daughter with him, namely Yağmur, before divorcing him in 1987.

She made her film debut in 1960 at just 15 years old with the film Aşk Rüzgarı (The Wind of Love). After the movie’s success Türkan started to be advised by a Yeşilçam screenwriter, film director and producer Türker İnanoğlu. It is he, who would in the same year, sack Türkan’s close friend Emel Yıldız in order to give his new prodigy the leading role in the studio’s upcoming movie Köyde Bir Kız Sevdim (Falling in Love with a Girl in the Village).

Early career

For the next five years, Şoray appeared in over sixty films. After her 1965 triumph, she was named as one of Turkey’s four leading actresses. For the remainder of the 1960s she starred in a further 48 films, making her one of Turkey’s most successful female artists in Turkish film history having acted in over 100 movies in the span of ten years. But this would be short-lived because the market changed during the 1970s and 1980s.

Later career

She went on working with respectable directors in later years. One of them was Atıf Yılmaz, with whom she would work in both dramas and comedies. In the 1970s she also acted in films with a more realistic theme. She also directed four films in those years. Her most applauded films in the 1970s included Selvi Boylum Al Yazmalım, Hazal, Sultan, Dönüş and Baraj. In those films she was mostly accompanied by the famous Turkish actor Kadir İnanır.


She won her first of many awards when she received the best actress prize at the ‘Antalya Golden Orange Film Festival’ for the film Acı Hayat (Bitter Life).

At the end of the 1960s, she was named one of the four greatest actresses of the Turkish cinema. She was highly applauded for her choices in film and her ability to act in a wide variety of roles. She starred in Vesikalı Yarim (My Licensed Love) for which she was awarded the Best Actress Award for the second time in the Antalya Film Festival.

In the 1980s she began portraying women with problems of female identity; Mine, Rumuz Goncagül (Nickname: Goncagül), On Kadın (Ten Women) etc. She won her third Best Actress Award from the Antalya Film Festival in 1987 with the film Hayallerim, Aşkım ve Sen(My Dreams, My Love and You), in which she portrays three different women, each of whom is a facet of Türkan Şoray herself.

Some of her awards are:

Antalya Film Festival Best Actress Award

1964-Acı Hayat

1968-Vesikalı Yarim

1987-Hayallerim, Aşkım ve Sen

1994-Bir Aşk Uğruna

Moscow Film Festival Grand Jury Prize

1973-Dönüş (her directorial debut)

Tashkent Film Festival Best Actress Award

1978-Selvi Boylum Al Yazmalım

Bastia Film Festival Best Actress Award

1992-Soğuktu ve Yağmur Çiseliyordu

1996 Istanbul Film Festival, Honorary Cinema Award

1999 Rome Film Festival, Honorary Award