A stage and film actress, Katarzyna Żak was born on 19 October 1963 in Toruń. She was raised in the Chełmińskie Przedmieście district in Toruń. She graduated from Primary School No. 3, which used to be located at Żwirki i Wigury Street. She sang in the choir, run at that school by Kazimierz Jaworski.
She also graduated from Secondary School No. 5 and the drama school in Wrocław. For nine years, she worked at the Contemporary Theatre in Wrocław, where she performed in many plays, including Opera za trzy grosze/The Threepenny Opera, Sztukmistrz z Lublina/The Magician of Lublin, Wariat i zakonnica/The Madman and the Nun, Piaf and Lot nad kukułczym gniazdem/One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest.
Currently, she is working in various theatres in Warsaw: Roma, Och-Teatr, Capitol, Syrena and Komedia, and also travels across the country with her own original recital and concerts.
During the Actors’ Song Review in Wrocław in 1990, she received the honourable mention for her interpretation of a song, and the Young Actor Award given by the Friends of Theatre Society.
Ms Żak has also released several albums: Młynarski – Jazz in 1994, containing jazz standards with Polish lyrics, written specifically for the album by Wojciech Młynarski, and Kolędy na cały rok in 1995, containing Christmas carols with lyrics by Bogdan Loebl and music by Włodzimierz Nahorny.
In January 2016, she released her latest album, Bardzo przyjemnie jest żyć, with lyrics by Wojciech Młynarski, Magda Czapińska, Jan Wołek, Piotr Bukartyk, Stanisław Wielanek, Michał Zabłocki, Andrzej Poniedzielski and Artur Andrus.
Her first role in a feature film was a bit part in Seszele/Seychelles, directed by Bogusław Linda. Subsequently, she played the bit part of an actress in a television drama in a Polish-French picture entitled Tak, Tak/Yes, Yes by Jacek Gąsiorowski (1991). Her co-stars included Zbigniew Zamachowski and Maria Gładkowska. She also appeared in Obcy musi fruwać/Stranger Must Fly by Wiesław Saniewski and Gracze/Players by Ryszard Bugajski.
She portrayed a physical worker in Wielkie rzeczy/The Great Things (2000) by Krzysztof Krauze, and a secretary in a famous 2005 picture by Feliks Falk entitled Komornik/The Collector.
In 1996, she played in her first television series, Tajemnica Sagali/The Secret of Sagal, and has appeared primarily in television productions ever since. She shot to fame after portraying Alina Krawczyk in a sitcom entitled Miodowe lata/The Honey Years and Danusia in Klan/The Clan. The audience also liked her as Halina Dębkowa in the series entitled Na Wspólnej/At Common Street and Nun Bazylia in Siła wyższa/Act of God. The outstanding character role of Kazimiera Solejukowa in an iconic television series entitled Ranczo/The Ranch reconfirmed the actress’s artistry.
Katarzyna Żak is the ambassador for two reading campaigns in Poland: Cała Polska czyta dzieciom (All Poland Reads to Kids) and Czytam sobie (Let’s Read). She also cooperates with the Congress of Women and works towards the professional activation of women after the age of 40.
Selected awards and distinctions
Honourable Mention for the interpretation of a song – the Actors’ Song Review in Wrocław; the Young Actor Award given by the Friends of Theatre Society; Flisak – the Award of the President of Toruń at the TOFIFEST International Film Festival, etc.