While he was working at the Puppet Theatre in Bedzin, under its famous director Jan Dorman, he applied to acting school four times.
He graduated from the Theatre and Film Academy in Łódź in 1965 as one of its best students despite having been rejected three times. He debuted while he was still at school in the role of Pietrek in Maria Kaniewska's children's film Panienka z okienka (1964). Immediately after, Konrad Nalecki offered him the leading role in Czterej pancerni i pies, which for Gajos would turn out to be both an opportunity and a curse. The heroic commander of the tank "Rudy" 102, which was fighting against the Nazi invader at the side of the "fraternal" Soviet Army, became a genuine idol for younger audiences. Meetings with the "soldiers" from "Rudy" were organised at stadiums, schools and cultural centres. The series' gained unbelievable popularity and was shown numerous times on television, this brought about the blurring of the border between cinematic fiction and historical truth. For Janusz Gajos, this meant that he was increasingly becoming identified with the character, as a result, his career was going nowhere. At that time, he was an actor with the Jaracz Theatre in Łódź, however none of the roles he appeared in during the period were ever mentioned in reviews. Aside from some brief appearances, he also was not acting in films. "I was afraid that was the end. Professional death. And I wanted very much to act, I wanted to be an actor", he recalled...
Fortunately, the actor was wrong. Nowdays, he is one of the most recognizable Polish actors, playing interesting and diversed roles. Janusz Gajos won the award for Best Actor for his performance in BODY/CIAŁO, a film directed by Małgorzata Szumowska at 40. Gdynia Film Festival.
'Body' will be screened during PPFF:
Edinburgh – 27.10, 6:10pm, Filmhouse; £9 full / £7,20conc.
London – 20.11, 7:00pm; Hackney Picturehouse; £11,60full / £10,60conc.