Though Romanian actor Ion Fiscuteanu enjoyed a lengthy tenure of film work in his native country, he only achieved international stardom within the final few years of his life. Born in Bistrita, Transylvania, in November 1937, Fiscuteanu received his formal dramatic training in Bucharest, then spent decades in Romanian stage productions before transitioning to film in the 1980s, in such productions as Mircea Daneliuc's films Glissando (1985) and Jacob (1988). Fiscuteanu found global recognition among audiences (and substantial critical acclaim to boot) at age 68, with his starring role in Cristi Puiu's jet-black 2005 tragicomedy The Death of Mr. Lazarescu. As Mr. Lazarescu, an overweight, ailing alcoholic who gets helplessly shuttled through the labyrinths of the Bucharest medical system one miserable night, Fiscuteanu managed to simultaneously convey horror, angst, exhaustion, and misery while keeping the audience emotionally involved in his plight. Tragically, Fiscuteanu's best-known performance was also his last: on a note of grim irony (given the film's subject matter) the actor himself died two years later, from colon cancer, at the age of 70.