Movie actress. She was born on June 25th, 1945, in Fatih / Istanbul. Her father Halit Şoray was a civil servant at State Railways and her mother was a housewife. She is the elder sister of singer and movie actress Nazan Şoray. She completed her primary education, which she had started in Rami Taş Mektebi, at Feriköy Primary School. Then she finished the junior grade of Fatih High School for Girls. Her mother and father divorced in 1954. Mother and the children moved to Karagümrük. She caught Türker İnanoğlu’s attention in a film set that she went to with Emel Yıldız, her landlord who was a movie actress, and İnanoğlu gave her the leading role in the film “Köyde Bir Kız Sevdim”. Afterwards, she received new offers. She also grabbed the attention of media and she got the cover of “Sinema” magazine (1961). In addition, she also appeared in tabloid magazines such as “Ses”, “Artist” and “Büyük Gazete”.
Şoray, who carved out a niche for herself in Yeşilçam, experienced her boom with the film “Acı Hayat” in which she and the famous actor of that period Ayhan Işık played the leading roles and achieved great influence among the audience. With this film, she received the Best Woman Actress award in the 1st Antalya Film Fest in 1964. Also, the film “Acı Hayat”, being an unprecedented film that was regarded as the most successful and poetic love movie, was chosen as the film of the year by the screen writers. Within this period, her mother’s friend Rüçhan Atlı protected her. Türkan Şoray found the attention that she was looking for since she grew up lacking her father’s love and affection in Rüçhan Adlı, who was 23 years older than her.
Late in 1966, Türkan Şoray continued to play in films one after another. However, all these films had similar plots and story lines and therefore her carrier was shaken; producers blacklisted her. In order to survive this she formed and declared the “Şoray Rules”. These heavy conditions were transformed into a written text in 1967. After this, Şoray’s fame and box office return increased so much so that no firm, no director or actor was able to say no to her and they competed with each other to make a contract with her. With these rules, Rüçhan Adlı secured Şoray’s image in Yeşilçam. There were four great actresses in the Yeşilçam cinema of 1960s; Fatma Girik, Hülya Koçyiğit, Filiz Akın and Türkan Şoray. Şoray was the only one of these four actresses to have directed a film as well.
The fact that Türkan Şoray was the actress who gave the most beautiful pictures of the Turkish cinema and reflected the Turkish woman type and that she came from within the people and grew up in difficult conditions made her more familiar with the public. No actress in Turkish cinema has ever had the level of activity she had around herself. With these qualities of her, she gained a distinctive place for herself in our cinema and set an example to other female artists. With her distinct qualities and specialties such as having the top price in the cinema, being the most loved woman, setting her own distinctive rules, performing greatly in every role, her unique beauty and being a “Sultan”, a legend, she has strengthened her place in cinema.
While Şoray, who pursued her cinema policy in early 1970s, achieved success in films such as “Sultan Gelin”, “Cemo” and “Memo” she could not be successful in some other films. By entering an important period in 1972 she decreased the number of films she starred in. In the shooting of the film “Cemo” she fell from the horse and averted the risk of having a stroke. Her film “Dönüş”, which was her first shot at directing a film, achieved success despite the expectations and received special award in Moscow Film Festival (1973). However, her film “Azap”, which was her second attempt at directing, couldn’t achieve success.
Türkan Şoray tried to make more distinguished films in 1980s. In 1976, she shot Bodrum Hakimi, which was the third film she directed, and she played the leading role. In 1977, she starred in one of her best films, Selvi Boylum Al Yazmalım, and she received the Best Actress Award with this film. In 1980, she did not star in or direct any films. In 1981, she returned to cinema with her film Yılanı Öldürseler, which was the last film she directed. However, by then, the public’s interest in Yeşilçam films started to decrease as independent cinema got into the sector. Also, in the meantime, films examining the world of the women started to become prominent. Şoray Rules collapsed in 1980s and Türkan Şoray became the pioneer of the woman films with her film Mine. Leaving Rüçhan Adlı in 1983, she married the stage and film actor Cihan Ünal; from this marriage they had a daughter named Yağmur. She and Ünal starred in a few films together but these films didn’t achieve success. In 1987, Şoray and Cihan Ünal broke up. She starred only in a few films in 1990s. In 2000, she achieved a great success with the television series İkinci Bahar, in which she starred with Şener Şen. Although she played in several more series she could not continue it any more. Mürüvvetsiz Mürüvvet, in which she starred in 2004, was her last film.
Famous films that she starred in are as follows; Ekmekçi Kadın (1965), Bir Dağ Masalı (1968), Cemo (1972), Selvi Boylum Al Yazmalım (1977), Hazal (1979), Mine (1982), Gramofon Avrat (1987) ve On Kadın (1988). Television series that she starred in are as follows: Tatlı Betüş (1993), Bir Aşk Uğruna (1996), Gözlerinde Son Gece (2000), İkinci Bahar (2000), Tatlı Hayat (2002), Cemile (2006).
Şoray, who contributed to education by having a primary school bearing her name built in 1973, has won many awards.