Gummadi Venkateswara Rao (9 July 1928 – 26 January 2010), widely known as Gummadi, was an Indian film actor and producer, known for his works predominantly in Telugu cinema and a few Tamil films. Known as a character actor, Gummadi was starred in around five hundred feature films. He received critical reception for his works in Thodu Dongalu (1954) and Mahamantri Timmarusu (1962), for which he has received the erstwhile Rashtrapati Award.Gummadi was an official member of the Indian delegation from South India to the Tashkent Film Festival in 1978 and 1982.
Gummadi served as a jury member thrice for the 28th, 33rd, and 39th National Film Awards.He served twice on the state Nandi Awards Committee.In 1977, he was awarded India’s fourth-highest civilian honor Padma Shri for his contributions to Indian cinema. He is widely known for his roles in films such as Maya Bazar (1957), Maa Inti Mahalakshmi (1959), Kula Daivam (1960), Kula Gothralu (1962), Jyothi (1977), Nelavanka (1981), Maro Malupu (1982), Ekalavya (1982), Ee Charitra Ye Siraatho? (1982), Gaaju Bommalu (1983), and Pelli Pustakam (1991). In 2008 he was starred in Jagadguru Sree Kasi Nayana Charitra which remained his last film.
He was born in Ravikampadu near Kollur mandal, Guntur District of Andhra Pradesh, India. According to one of his interviews, he studied in ZP High School, Kollur and Hindu College, Guntur.
Gummadi’s acting career extended from 1950 onwards for almost six decades and he worked with three generations of people in the film industry. Though young, he used to play the dignified roles of relatively elderly people at the beginning. He was a versatile character actor in sociopolitical and mythological movies. He acted in nearly 500 movies. He played the role of father to many lead actors in old Telugu films.
Gummadi Venkateswara Rao first appeared as an actor in 1942, where he played the role of an old man on the stage. He began his cinema career with Adrushtadeepudu (1950) and continued on for about 500 more films portraying roles ranging from the hero, the villain, and the character artiste, to roles with a slight comedic bent, such as his guest appearance in Missamma (1955).
Gummadi was married and had five daughters and two sons. He died of multiple organ failure at Care hospital, Hyderabad on 26 January 2010.His last public appearance was at the screening of Maya Bazar which had since been colorized. Here he expressed his happiness and said that “Watching this great movie in colour probably could have been the only reason for me to have stayed alive for so long.”