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 Rolan Bykov

Born:   12 November 1929
Deceased:   06 October 1998

actor, director


"For the first time I took the stage at the age of 4 – Rolan Bykov said – and never left it since then”. He played everywhere – in films, on stage, and in business. He played over a hundred roles, for which, though belatedly, he was given the title of the People’s Artist.

He directed a number of splendid films: Aybolit-66 (Oh How It Hurts 66) (1966), Sem nyanek (Seven Nursemaids) (1962), Vnimanie, cherepakha! (Attention, Turtle!) (1970), Avtomobil, skripka i sobaka Klyaksa (Car, Violin and Blot the Dog) (1974), and Chuchelo (The Scarecrow) (1983).

Rolan (Rowland) Antonovich Bykov was born on November 12, 1929 in Kiev (Ukraine). The son of a Red Army commander and a beauty from an intelligent family, he inherited rebellious blood from his father and the love of art from his mother.

Rolan Bykov In 1951 he graduated from the actors’ faculty of M. Shchepkin Theatre College and became an actor and stage director of Moscow Theatre for Young Spectators. Afterwards he moved to Leningrad Theatre of Leninsky Komsomol and then to the students’ theatre of Moscow State University.

Rolan Bykov debuted in cinema in 1954 with the film Shkola muzhestva (School of Courage). Since the early 1960s he indulged more and more into cinema: in 1960 he became an actor and film director of Mosfilm Studio and by the 1970s he was among the most favourite actors of the Soviet public.

Rolan Bykov and Oleg Yankovsky in Once there served two friends (1968) Actually, there were not so many films starring Bykov, yet every his appearance on screen imparted some amazing charms and expressiveness to the film. Even his supporting roles became etched in the memory of viewers sometimes even better than the film itself. Rolan Bykov knew that he was a great actor, but did not like others to speak (especially with pathos) about his greatness.

"Twenty years ago I directed a mischievous and quite original for that time feature Aybolit-66 (Oh How It Hurts 66) (1966). My concept, “a fancy on the theme of a global philistine” and “inferiority complex of a ridiculous worthless creature in front of a great personality” found natural embodiment in the comical conflict”, Rolan Bykov, who played Barmalei, the main villain in the children’s film, says.

Rolan Bykov in Oh How It Hurts 66 (1966) In one of his best director’s works, namely the film Chuchelo (The Scarecrow) (1983), released in 1984 after arduous struggle with censors, Bykov was among the first to show truthfully the life of teenagers. Soon he played one of his best roles starring in Konstantin Lopushansky’s philosophical drama Pisma myortvogo cheloveka (Letters from a Dead Man) (1986).

With the start of perestroika and the following reforms Rolan Bykov began taking part in political life of the country. First he was elected as the secretary of the Union of Soviet Cinematographers, and in the 1989-1991 he worked as the People’s deputy of the USSR.

Rolan Bykov Since 1989 he was the art director of the association Yunost (Youth). It was Bykov who initiated the All-Union Foundation for Development of Cinema and Television for Children and Youth (Rolan Bykov Foundation). He also headed the Non-party social Movement 95 – the Union of social organizations of culture, science, education and ecology, and was the president of the bank “Help”.

“I guess I realized almost all professions I dreamt of in my childhood. – Rolan Antonovich said. Once I dreamt of playing the flute – as a result I composed several songs and a waltz. I dreamt of becoming a teacher – and now I teach. I dreamt of becoming a poet – I do write poetry. I dreamt so much of becoming a writer – and in my opinion I have learned to write fairy well…”

Rolan Bykov died on October 6, 1998 and was laid to rest at Novodevichie Cemetery, Moscow. Yet, the memory is alive – the memory of a brilliant actor, film director and a man who could not keep still.


Tags: Russian cinema Russian actors Rolan Bykov   

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