A droopy-faced clown whose familiar voice echoed through the minds of generations of Czech children enamored by the fairy-tale cartoons that ran nightly on television, Vlastimil Brodsky was the clown that laughed despite the pain beneath the surface. Born in Hrusovany, Czechoslovakia, in 1920, Brodsky was schooled in the arts of acting by influential Czech stage thespian E.F. Burian before joining the Vinohrady Theater in 1948. Though he had been appearing in film for over a decade, Brodsky's big break came with his role in the 1956 film Hotel Pokrok. With his career quickly gaining momentum, the dedicated actor would forge close working relationships with such directors as Jiri Menzel (Closely Watched Trains ) and Vojtech Jasny (Cassandra the Cat ), resulting in many of the actor's most well-known roles. His role as a Polish Jew who inspires hope in his fellow neighbors through fake new reports during the darkest days of WWII in Jacob the Liar (1974) was the inspiration for the decidedly lighter 1999 Robin Williams picture of the same name, and won Brodsky a Golden Nymph in addition to his numerous other awards. The subject of a '90s documentary, Brodsky's final role in Autumn Spring (2002) found the actor the recipient of the Czech Lion for Best Actor. Though he was scheduled to receive a lifetime achievement award at the Karlovy Vary Film Festival in 2002, the tragic suicide of the actor would find this award handed out posthumously. Having suffered a debilitating stroke the previous year, the actor had taken his own life. He was 81.