Bekim Fehmiu played over 40 roles in films throughout Yugoslavia, as well as numerous international productions. He was the first Eastern European actor to star in a Hollywood film during the Cold War (The Adventurers, 1971). He collaborated with directors Dino De Laurentiis and John Huston, and his partners on the big screen were Olivia de Havilland, Ava Gardner, Dirk Bogarde, Charles Aznavour and other world stars. Although he failed to break through in Hollywood, he made a significant career in European arthouse productions and played in as many as nine languages. He made one of the most prominent roles abroad in the mini-series ‘The Odyssey’, where he played the leading role.
He was rated by critics and historians of film art as an actor who changed the history of Serbian cinema, most notably because of his role in one of the key black wave films - ‘Skupljači perja’. This film of Aleksandar Petrovic was awarded the Grand Prix by the Jury in Cannes, and pushed Bekim to the top of the domestic acting scene. For the role of Halil-beg in the film ‘Roj’ by Mico Popovic, he was awarded at the Festival in Pula, and the audience's favorite character was the teacher Zarko in Goran Markovic's ‘Specijalno vaspitanje’. Theatre was his great love, and it was in theatre that his career symbolically ended. In 1987, Fehmiu walked off stage in protest during the play.
He was one of the few figures in public life to rebel against the rising nationalism and fratricidal wars, showing his protest by the complete withdrawal from the public. Born as an Albanian in Sarajevo, raised in Kosovo, studied in Belgrade, and working all over Yugoslavia - Bekim Fehmiu was a symbol of Yugoslavia and a man unreservedly loved and respected throughout Europe. In 2001, he published a book of memories, ‘Blistavo i strašno’, and the second part of the book was published posthumously in 2012. Fehmiu was married to actress Branka Petric, with whom he has sons Hedon and Uliks, also a well-known actor.