Czech actor Jan Tříska dies, aged 80, after fall from Prague bridge

Actor who emigrated to the US during Czechoslovakia’s communist era was best known for his appearances in The Karate Kid Part III and Quantum Leap

Actor Jan Tříska, who moved to the US after being banned by Czechoslovakia’s communist regime, has died after falling from Prague’s iconic Charles Bridge. He was 80.

Prague theatre director Jan Hrušínský confirmed Tříska’s death on Monday. The actor died in Prague’s military hospital overnight due to injuries from the fall on Saturday, the circumstances of which remain unclear.

Tříska emigrated in 1977 after signing a human rights manifesto inspired by his close friend, dissident playwright Václav Havel. He settled in Los Angeles and appeared in dozens of movies, including Ragtime, The Karate Kid Part III and The People vs Larry Flynt, which was directed by his fellow Czech Miloš Forman. Tříska also appeared on television, in series such as Quantum Leap and Highlander: The Series, and on stage, starring as the Devil in a New York Public Theater adaptation of The Master and Margarita. Tříska’s films were banned from Czechoslovakian cinemas and TV screens until the fall of communism in 1989.

After the anti-communist Velvet Revolution led by Havel, Tříska regularly returned home to appear in stage productions and films, including taking a lead role in 1991 comedy The Elementary School, which was nominated for an Academy Award.

In the UK the Samaritans can be contacted on 116 123. In the US, the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is 1-800-273-8255. In Australia, the crisis support service Lifeline is on 13 11 14. Other international suicide helplines can be found at befrienders.org.

Staff and agencies

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