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 Yury Yakovlev

Born:   25 April 1928
Deceased:   30 November 2013



Actor Yuri Yakovlev came to be a favourite of many-millioned Russian public and of highly cultured audience of Evgeny Vakhtangov Moscow Theatre. In the 1960-70s his characters, among them Lieutenant Rzhevsky, Ivan Vasilievich (comical Ivan the Terrible) and Ippolit naturally continued people’s folklore: entire country got infected with his intonations and catchy words and phrases.

Yuri Vasilevich Yakovlev was born in Moscow on April 25, 1928. When the Great Patriotic War broke out the Yakovlels moved to Ufa, where the 13 year-old Yuri worked with his mother in a military hospital. In 1943 they returned to Moscow and he started working in a garage at the USA embassy to help up the family to survive somehow.

In 1948 Yuri Yakovlev entered the Shchukin Drama School and in 1952 he was engaged in Evgeny Vakhtangov Academic Theater.

In two years Moscow started speaking about the young actor after having seen him in the virtuosic role of an overseas prince in S. Marshak’s fairy tale Gorya boyatsa – Schastya ne vidat’ In the same 1960 he Yuri Yakovlev played one of his favourite roles, namely that of Triletsky in Pyesa bez nazvania (Play Without a Title) by Anton Chekhov. It was played gracefully, delicately, poignantly and with sad irony. It became known that the theater got an actor of incredible capabilities creating on its stage. The 1960-80s were starry years in Yakovlev’s biography. He created a variety of voluminous, multi-aspect and diverse characters.


The Idiot (1958)
It is hardly possible to enumerate all the roles performed by the actor onstage; there are more than seventy of them, including mysterious Casanova (Three Ages of Casanova), brilliant court diplomat Duke Bolingbroke (Glass of Water), and tragically genius Prokofiev (Lessons of Master).

However, it was cinema screen that made Yuri Yakovlev a truly national favoiurite of the public. Yuri Yakovlev made his film debut as Chakhotkin in Na podmostkakh stseny (Behind the Footlights) (1956). It was followed by the role of lieutenant Dybych in director V. Basov’s film Neobyknovennoye leto (An Unusual Summer) (1957). In a flash the beginning actor turned popular. His naturalness, integral charms and unusual gift of impersonator manifested themselves in a diverse gallery of characters, many of whom transcended from screen into our daily life, becoming its integral part.

The actor was in the films from 1956 and became really famous in 1958, after his inimitable complicated role of Prince Myshkin in the screen version of Dostoyevsky’s Idiot (1958) directed by Ivan Pyriev.


Ivan Vasilyevich Changes Occupation (1973)
An important place in creative career of Yuri Yakovlev is taken by successful collaboration with illustrious film director Eldar Ryazanov, who first featured the actor in his Chelovek niotkuda (Nowhere Man) (1961). And yet, those were the roles of Lieutenant Rzhevsky in Ryazanov’s splendid Gusarskaya ballada (Hussar Ballad) (1962) and Ippolit in the popular TV comedy Ironiya sudby, ili S legkim parom! (The Irony of Fate, or Enjoy Your Bath!) (1975) that gained unanimous love of the public to Yuri Yakovlev.

Among the actor’s serious dramatic works there is the role of Stiva Oblonsky in the screen version of Anna Karenina, directed by Aleksandr Zarkhi, and Bryukhanov in two related films Lyubov Zemnaya (Earthly Love) and Sudba (Fate) directed by Evgeny Matveyev after novels by Pyotr Proskurnin.


The Irony of Fate 2 (2007)
However, among the most popular and memorable of Yuri Yakovlev’s works are Leonid Gaidai’s sparkling comedy Ivan Vasilevich menyaet professiyu (Ivan Vasilevich Changes Occupation) (1973), in which the actor played two leading roles at once: of house manager Punsha and Czar Ivan the Terrible and Georgy Danelia’s fantastical comedy Kin-Dza-Dza (1986) starring Yuri Yakovlev along with Evgeny Leonov and Stanislav Lubshin.

Today Yuri Yakovlev goes on successfully playing on stage of Vakhtangov Theatre.



Tags: Russian cinema Russian actors Yury Yakovlev   

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