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Türkan Şoray


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Date of Birth

28 June 1945, Istanbul, Turkey

Türkan Şoray was born to a government official father, Halit Şoray and her mother, Meliha Şoray, was a housewife. She also has one younger sibling, a sister called Nazan, who is also an actress in her own right, but is nowhere near as famous as Türkan. After the birth of her younger sister, Türkan's parents divorced and custody of the children was given to the mother. Türkan Şoray went on to study at the Fatih Kız Lisesi (Fatih Girl's Lyceum) and attended the middle/intermediate grades but she would not continue her education at a university. Whilst living in rented accommodations in Karagümrük with her mother and sister, she would not know that their landlords would be her link to stardom. The landlords were the parents of one of Turkish cinema's first actresses Emel Yıldız and it is with her that Türkan first stepped foot on a film set. After this Türkan was ever closer to a contract with one of Turkey's top film studios, Yeşilçam.


She made her film debut in 1960 at just 15 years old with the film Aşk Rüzgarı. 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.

Early career

For the next five years, Şoray appeared in over sixty films. After her 1965 triumph, she was named one of Turkey's four leading actresses. But this was also the year when her career was in turmoil. Her starring in stereotyped roles, in films with the same plot and story lines, drove people away from her and slowed her work down. This led to several arguments with film producers and as a result was dismissed by most of them. Türkan Şoray knew, in order to survive, she would have to take control quickly and she did. She introduced what became known as the "Şoray Rules" and she would only work if the studio and the directors obeyed these rules. Some of these rules are known to be:

* She would have to be given the script no later than a month before shooting was to start, and if she disapproved of anything in it, changes would have to be made or she would not accept the role.

* Films in which she performed could be filmed only in Istanbul, as she could not and would not leave the city.

* She would not work on Sundays.

The "Şoray Rules" were seen by some to be the demands of a Hollywood diva, but it paid off as she was given the respect she wanted and the movie roles came flying in as well.

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 sadly this would be short lived because the market changed during the 1970s and 1980s. People were no longer into the traditional "boy meets girl, girl is poor, boy is rich" scenarios.

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.


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