Romanian actor and puppeteer. Justin Grad graduated in 1947 from the Universitatea Bucureşti, Facultatea de Arte, Literatura română și franceză (University of Bucharest, Faculty of Arts, Romanian and French Literature), and in 1950 from the Institutul de Artă Teatrală şi Cinematografică (Institute of Theatre Arts and Cinematography) in Bucharest. From 1950 to 1975, Grad was an actor-puppeteer at Ţăndărică Puppet Theatre (today, Teatrul de animaţie Ţăndărică). He played many roles, performing with intelligence and subtlety both as an actor and as a puppeteer. He became one of the most popular Romanian puppeteers following his appearances on Romanian television, where he created the famous character Aşchiuţă, protagonist of children’s programming (theatre designer Ella Conovici).
Justin Grad also played leading roles in stage productions: Mâna cu cinci degete (The Hand with Five Fingers, 1958); Eu si material moartă (Me and Dead Matter, 1964); Cabarettissimo (1969); Cele trei neveste ale lui Don Cristobal (The Three Wives of Don Cristobal, 1965); Ninigra și Aligru (Ninigra and Aligru), written by Nina Cassian; and many other shows which toured the world.
From 1975 to 1979, he formed the first group of professional puppeteers and performed with them in Papeete, Tahiti, under the leadership of French director Marie-Claire Valène, on a text by Claude Morand. From 1979 to 1982, Justin Grad was a member of the puppetry ensemble of Riksteatret in Oslo (Norway), founded in collaboration with Margareta Niculescu of Ţăndărică in 1976.
In 1983, Justin Grad joined the group of Eric Smith in Israel and has dedicated himself to teaching since 1986.