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Tatianovka near Tomsk< URSS, Russia
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Innokenti Smoktunovsky - the first international Russian film star, associated with two powerful award-winning films Hamlet (1964) and Tchaikovsky (1969).
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Innokenti Smoktunovsky (birth name Smoktunovich) was born in Siberian village of Tatianovka near Tomsk in 1925. His ancestors were Polish Jews exiled to Siberia for the Warsaw uprising in 1863. His father was killed in WWII. Smoktunovsky was drafted in the Red Army during WWII and was seized by the Nazis as a POW. He was on the road to a concentration camp, but managed to escape from the Nazis. He joined the partisans and served until the end of WWII. After the war he was under suspicion as a former POW and his career was limited to Siberia. He studied acting for one year at the drama-studio of the Krasnoyarsk Drama Theater (1946). He found employment at the Norilsk Zapolyarny Drama Theater, where his friend and partner was Georgi Zhzhyonov, among other exiled actors. Both friends later starred in `Beregis avtomobilya (1966)`, directed by Eldar Ryazanov. But his film career started with director Mikhail Romm in `Ubiystvo na ulitse Dante (1956), and in `Soldaty (1956)` with director `Aleksandr Ivanov`. From then onwards he had credits in dozens of movies some of which are still popular on TV and regarded as "standards" and some sank into oblivion. His international breakthrough came with Hamlet (1964), an artful film based on of one of the most famous tragedies in the world literature. The film`s worldwide box office success was very big. Leading roles in `Tchaikovsky (1969)`, `Uncle Vanya (1970)`, were among the highlights in film career of this great Russian actor. `Tchaikovsky` received Oscar nomination for the Best Foreign Film. Acknowledging his reputation of an international movie star Smoktunovsky travelled widely attending various film festivals as Honorary Guest or presiding over juries. He was very effective as romanticized young scientist in Nine Days of One Year (1961) and as car thief in a modern satire Watch out for the Automobile (1966). Although Smoktunovsky won acclaim for his theatre performances in the 1970s and 80s he continued to star in movies but his choice of film roles over these years was erratic. He often played in B-movies or took small parts in mini TV series of doubtful merit. Nevertheless he showed his unique versatility as actor when he played Mozart`s rival composer Saglieri in Little Tragedies (1979) and an elderly millionaire who doubts his young wife`s fidelity in Heart Is Not A Stone (1989). His voice has often been described as "soft, sweet and magical" with capacity of conveying all shadows of emotions. Smoktunovsky recorded several audio books including The New Testament. Smoktunovsky wrote an autobiographical book titled "They left me alive", in which he described his survival in Siberia, in WWII, and back again in Siberia, where he started his brilliant acting career. In his long career Smoktunovsky received a lot of awards and honors for his stage and screen work. There is an asteroid named in his honor: 4926 Smoktunovsky. He died on August, 3, 1994 and was mourned by many in the motion picture industry and by legions of fans.
Full Name at Birth
Innokenti Mikhailovich Smoktunovich
Innokenty Mikhaylovich Smoktunovsky (Russian: Иннокентий Михайлович Смоктуновский; March 28, 1925 – August 3, 1994) was a Soviet actor acclaimed as the "king of Soviet actors". He was named People's Artist of the USSR in 1974 and the Hero of Socialist Labour in 1990.
1956 — 1994
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