Born July 7, 1923, in Bucharest. Rumanian stage director, artist, and actor. Honored Artist of the Socialist Republic of Rumania (1958).
Ciulei graduated from the Architectural Institute and the Drama Conservatory in Bucharest in 1946. He began his stage career as a designer. He joined the Municipal Theater in Bucharest (since 1961, the L. Sturdza-Bulandra Theater) in 1948 as a designer and actor; he later became a stage director, and he headed the theater from 1962 to 1972. Ciulei has designed and played the leading roles in a number of his own productions. In 1958 he played V. I. Lenin in Pogodin’s Man With a Gun. His other roles have included Treplev in Chekhov’s The Seagull and Protasov in Gorky’s Children of the Sun. He has staged Nash’s The Rainmaker (1957), Gorky’s Children of the Sun (1960) and The Lower Depths (1975), and Brecht’s The Threepenny Opera (1964).
Ciulei began working in motion pictures in 1951. His films, which have proved highly significant for the development of Rumanian cinematography, include Eruption (1959), Waves of the Danube (1959; in Soviet release, The Turbulent River), and The Forest of the Hanged (based on the novel by L. Rebreanu; 1964).