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 Boris Khmelnitsky

Born:   June 27, 1940
Deceased:   February 16, 2008

Soviet and Russian actor, the author of music for stage plays of the Taganka Theatre


Boris Alexandrovich Khmelnitsky was born on June 27, 1940 into the Ussuriisk city of the Primorsky Krai.

His father was a military man and his mother was a housewife. Boris spent his childhood in garrisons and studied music in Officers' Clubs. Initially Khmelnytsky hesitated to enter Theatre School due to his strong stuttering, and instead entered a Music School to major in accordion. Later he finally decided to go to Moscow. In many respects, according to the actor, the support in admission was provided by Wolf Messing, who had been in love with his mother.

Despite his stutter Boris was admitted to Schukin Theatre School and successfully graduated it in 1966. As a student yet he was noticed by Yuri Lyubimov, who invited him to his theater. Already in the beginning of his stage career Khmelnitsky performed the roles of Nozdrev and Mayakovsky. In 1964-1982 he was an actor of the Moscow Taganka Drama Theater. Thanks to Lyubimov he managed to recover from his 25-year-old stutter: for the period of Vladimir Vysotsky’s illness he was urgently introduced into the Life of Galilee play, where on a wave of emotional lift he uttered the entire text without a single halt. Khmelnitsky is the author of music for stage performances of the Taganka Theater and for the movies On a Short Wave, Seventh Ring of the Sorcerer and others.

He was one of the few People’s Artistes of Russia (2001) who was given this title, passing the Merited Actor title. Boris was fond of billiards, and was the billiards champion of Moscow. He was married to the actress Marianna Vertinskaya. Their daughter, actress Darya Khmelnitskaya, after divorce of the parents lived with her father from the age of 2. Boris Khmelnitsky gained the all-Union success after he starred as Robin Hood. The actor Leonid Yarmolnik once said: “Robin Hood was lucky that he was performed by Khmelnitsky”.

Boris Khmelnitsky was recognized as one of the most handsome men of the Soviet cinema. In 1982 he visited Hollywood and got some attractive offers, but Soviet authorities, just like in many other cases with well-known Soviet actors, bereft the actor of this opportunity. From the early 1990s till his last days he arranged concerts dedicated to Vladimir Vysotsky.

Boris Khmelnitsky died, aged 67, on February 16, 2008 and was laid down to rest at the Kuntsevsky Cemetery in Moscow.

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