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 Mikhail Ulyanov

Born:   20 November 1927
Deceased:   26 March 2007

He was a Soviet and Russian actor, one of the most recognizable persons of the post-World War II Soviet theatre and cinema.


Mikhail Alexandrovich Ulyanov spent his childhood and youth in the town of Tara, which he considered to be his native land throughout his entire life. His father, chairman of a collective farm, left to the frontline in 1941.

In 1942 Ulyanov started to attend regular classes in a drama studio, which was organized by a Ukrainian theatrical company that was in evacuation at that period. In that studio lots of boys and girls fell in love with the theatre. Ulyanovs first role was that of Gipsy in the stage play Gipsy.

In 1944 he moved to Omsk to continue his studies as an actor in the studio at Omsk Drama Theatre. After two years of studies in the Omsk studio he went to Moscow and entered the Schukin Theatre School in 1946.

After graduation in 1950 Mikhail Ulyanov started playing on stage of the Vakhtangov Theatre and then connected his creative career with it for many years to come. In 1987 he became the art director of this theatre.

In the first decade of his work in the theatre Ulyanov played both first and second roles, positive and negative characters, both in classics and modern productions, but amidst the kaleidoscope of characters there stood out and remained the role of Rogozhin in the staging of Dostoevsky Idiot. This role put the young actor in the first flight, and made spectators talk about him, especially as nearly at the same time he portrayed his contemporary in Arbuzovs play Irkutsk Story, which became a sort of a banner of that time.

From 1953 Ulyanov was into filming. The 1960s were the time of birth of remarkable, mighty characters that Ulyanov created in Soviet cinema. His well-known Yegor Trubnikov (Predsedatel (1964)), the character that he created passionately and with great ardour, the character suffering for his people and together with them, became a Soviet classic. Remarkable is also his frenzied rebel Mitya Karamazov ( Karamazov Brothers (Bratya Karamazovy) (1969)), as well as General Charnota ( after Bulgakovs On the Run (Beg), 1970) played with violent fearlessness.

Having embodied the figure of Marshall Zhukov in the film epopee The Great Battle (Osvobozhdenie), he brilliantly played this role in other films also, each time adding some new strokes to the portrait of the famed commander. Altogether Mikhail Ulyanov appeared as Marshall Zhukov in fifteen films and became one of the most recognized personifications of the marshal in cinema.

In 1973 he debuted as a stage director with Rozovs play Situation staged in Vakhtangov Theatre; in 1976 he co-directed the staging of Shakespearean Richard III; and in 1979 staged Vasily Shukshins epic novel I have come to give you freedom, where he starred as Stepan Razin. In 1985 Mikhail Ulyanov staged the satirical pamphlet The Child Buyer by the American playwright John Hersey.

In 1986 at the 15th the Congress of the All-Union Theatrical Society Mikhail Ulyanov was elected Chairman of the Society.

Mikhail Ulyanov played more than fifty film roles, however the most successful of them, as recognized by critics and spectators, are the portraits of Predsedatel Yegor Trubnikov and Marshall Zhukov.

Mikhail Ulyanov died on March, 26th, 2007 in Moscow.

The actor was laid to rest with military honours at Novodevichy Cemetery. On September, 27th, 2008 Mikhail Ulyanov monument was unveiled over his grave.

On October, 2nd, 2009 a memorial plaque in his honour was set up on House 29, Bolshaya Bronnaya Street, Moscow.


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