Krakow. Graduated form the Higher State School of Acting (1953). Actor and director at the Gdansk Theatre and Krakow Theatre (1953-1960), actor and director at the Warsaw Theatre Ateneum (1961-1967). With psychologically saturated parts in the Andrzej Wajda films A Generation (1955, debut) and Ashes and Diamonds (1958, film was awarded FIPRESCI prize at the Venice IFF), ZC became one of the most expressive and notable actors of the Polish Film School.
Internationally acclaimed legend of the Polish cinema, often called "the Polish James Dean".
Starring in Andrzej Munk, Wojciech Has, Tadeusz Konwicki and other directors' films, ZC played major leading roles, both dramatic and character parts, and appeared in 35 films.
ZC co-authored the script of Janusz Morgenstern's film Good Bye, Till Tomorrow (1960), and was preparing for debut in film directing. He died in a train accident in Wrocław, Poland 8.01.1967. Andrzej Wajda made his film Everything For Sale (1969) in the memory of ZC. Since 1969, the Warshaw magazine Ekran presents Zbyszek Cybulski Award for the Best Polish Debut Actor.