Born Aug. 7, 1877, in Lublin; died June 18, 1955, in Warsaw. Polish actor, director, theatrical figure, and teacher. Son of a physician.
Zelwerowicz studied at the dramatic school attached to the Warsaw Musical Society and at the University of Geneva. In 1900 he made his theatrical debut in Kraków, where he appeared in farcical-comic and dramatic roles. During a visit to Russia in 1908, he met A. M. Gorky and K. S. Stanislavsky, both of whom greatly influenced his work. In 1908–11 he directed a theater in Łódź, and in 1911–12 he was an actor and director at the United Theater in Warsaw. From 1913 to 1955 (with interruptions), he worked in the Polish Theater in Warsaw. He also directed in theaters in Kraków, Warsaw, and Łódź. In 1925–26, together with L. Schiller and W. Horzyca, he headed the Boguslawski Theater in Warsaw. Following the best realistic traditions of the Polish national theater, he created plays and characters expressing deep psychological truth. He strove for brilliant visual effects, often employing the grotesque.
Zelwerowicz wrote a number of articles on the theater. He began to teach in 1912. In 1945–47 he headed the Higher Theater School in Łódź and served as honorary rector of the Higher Theater School in Warsaw. He also appeared in films. Zelwerowicz received the State Prize of the Polish People’s Republic in 1950 and 1951.