Romanian film and theater director Liviu Ciulei, whose 50-year career included winning the Palme d’Or at the Cannes Film Festival, a stint heading up the Guthrie Theater in Minneapolis, died Monday, Oct. 24, in Munich, where he lived. He was 88.

Romanian actor Ion Caramitru said, “An era has died! A genius had died!”

Ciulei, as an actor, director and set designer, was the most influential figure of Romanian theater and film in a generation. He won the Palme d’Or award in 1965 for the “The Forest of the Hanged” and made more than 20 films both as an actor and director.

President Traian Basescu paid homage to Ciulei on Tuesday, saying he belonged to an “elite generation” that created a “valuable and original” drama school both in Romania and abroad. He called Ciulei’s artistic vision “classic and modern, extremely clear and contemporary.”

Ciulei studied theater and architecture in Bucharest and began his acting career in 1946, as Puck, in “A Midsummer Night’s Dream.” He began to direct in 1957.

For 10 years he was artistic director at Bucharest’s prestigious Bulandra Theater, and he held the same position at the Guthrie Theater in Minneapolis from 1980-1985. During that period the Guthrie received a Tony Award. Afterwards, Ciulei taught at Columbia U. and NYU.

Caramitru, who heads the UNITER Romanian theater union, said Tuesday that “without Liviu Ciulei, there would be no Romanian theater.”