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Sergiu Nicolaescu, director of Romanian film, politician

BUCHAREST, Romania — Sergiu Nicolaescu, a prolific and popular director known for his historical epics who also served as a senator, died Thursday. He was 82.

Mr. Nicolaescu died of heart and lung complications after surgery for diges­tive problems.

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Mr. Nicolaescu quit politics in December, having been senator for the Social Democracy Party since 1992.

He made some 50 movies and, despite his political career, continued to direct films such as the ‘‘Orient Express’’ in 2004.

He was best known for historical films, which found favor with the Communist regime before it collapsed in 1989. His 1979 movie ‘‘Mihai the Brave’’ is considered a cinematic classic in Romania.

‘‘A star of Romania has been extinguished,’’ said Prime Minister Victor Ponta.

Mr. Nicolaescu was also an actor and had several leading roles during his career, notably playing King Carol I in ‘‘Carol I,’’ a movie he also directed.

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