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Biographies -- Senne Rouffaer

Senne RouffaerSenne Rouffaer, real name Felicien Rouffaer, was born on 19th December 1925 in Kapellen near Antwerp. At the age of 12 he went to the Archiepiscopal Seminary School in Hoogstraten where he studied Greek and Latin. During his schooldays he performed on stage for the first time in several school plays.

After the Second World War, Rouffaer studied German philology at the Catholic University Leuven followed up by dramatic art at the Royal Academy of Antwerp. To earn a living he accepted a job in a bank. After a while he left this job to teach diction in several schools. At first he circulated in the amateur theatre until he won a contract with the RVT (Reizend Volkstheater - "The travelling people theatre").

In 1956, he was engaged by the KVS (Koninklijke Vlaamse Schouwburg - "Royal Flemisch Theatre"). In the Sixties, his film and television career took a firm start, especially with his role in the BRT series Kapitein Zeppos which made him well known with the public. The central role in the feature film De man die zijn haar liet kortknippen ("The Man Who Had His Hair Cut Short") in 1965 was the start of a fruitful co-operation with film maker Andrι Delvaux.

From 1972 to 1992, Senne Rouffaer became the Art Director at the KVS. His directing capacities got priority, resulting in more than thirty KVS plays.

Rouffaer resumed teaching from 1970 until 1975 as a declamation tutor at the Royal Academy of Antwerp. After 1975, he taught dramatic art at the Royal Academy of Brussels.

In the theatre, Senne Rouffaer became quite famous as a Shakespeare performer. The sheer number and versatility of these performances can match those of great British icons like Sir Laurence Olivier, Sir Alec Guinness, Sir Michael Redgrave and Sir John Gielgud. Rouffaer can be seen as the Flemish Shakespeare expert.

Awards:

  • Helena Award - Best Actor for his starring role in the play Marat/Sade (theatre: KVS) (1966).

  • Thalia Award - Best Director for the play Driekoningenavond (KVS) and Ieder zijn waarheid (theatre: KVS) (1985).

  • Jan Oscar de Gruyter Award - Director for the play Wilde Honing ("Wild Honey") (theatre: KNS) (1986).

  • Barcelona Film Festival - Best Actor in a Leading Role in the film Het gezin van Paemel ("The Van Paemel Family ") (1987).

Senne Rouffaer in Het gezin van Paemel (1987)

  • Plateau Award - Best Actor for his performance in the film Minder dood dan de anderen ("Less Dead Than the Others") (1992).

Senne Rouffaer had four sons, Peter, Vincent, Bart and Bruno. Peter became famous as an actor in Flikken (Cops), Witse, Spoed, Kongo en Thuis, among others, and Vincent as director of productions including Witse, Alfa Papa Tango, Hard Labeur, De Collega's, De Collega's Maken de Brug, De Leraarskamer, Cello en Contrabas and Kongo. Bart played alongside his father in Kapitein Zeppos: Belderbos and also featured as Bartje in another Flemish children's serial, Fabian van Fallada. In 1982 Bart, together with his girlfriend, died in a tragic car-accident. He was only twenty years old. Senne’s fourth son, Bruno, can be seen as Frank Brems in Kapitein Zeppos: De Eglantier. The actress Greet Rouffaer is Senne's niece.

Senne Rouffaer met his longtime partner, actress Vera Veroft during filming for Kapitein Zeppos: Belderbos, in which she played Ariane Despinal (later Mrs. Zeppos). Their on-screen relationship would also come to be reflected in real life. It was only after twenty years, once his sons had fully grown up, that they lived together, first in Grimbergen and latterly at Strombeek-Bever.

Senne Rouffaer sadly passed away on Friday 14th July 2006, aged 80.

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