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MOSCOW, November 30, 18:17 /ITAR-TASS/. Soviet and Russian actor Yuri Yakovlev died in Moscow at the age of 85 on Saturday, November 30.
Yakovlev will be buried at Moscow’s prestigious Novodevichye cemetery where renowned persons have traditionally been laid to rest since Soviet times.
Yakovlev was an actor of Moscow’s Vakhtangov Theatre for more than 60 years, having played some seventy roles onstage, including mysterious Casanova (Three Ages of Casanova), brilliant court diplomat Duke Bolingbroke (Glass of Water), and tragically genius Prokofiev (Lessons of Master).
However he became truly famous after his appearance in Ivan Pyryev's adaptation of Fyodor Dostoyevsky’s The Idiot as Prince Myshkin in 1958.
He then regularly appeared in Eldar Ryazanov's comedies, most notably Hussar Ballad (1962). In the 1960s and 1970s he was one of the most frequently filmed actors, his roles ranging from Stiva Oblonsky in the classic Soviet adaptation of Anna Karenina (1968) to the paranoically jealous Ippolit in another of Ryazanov's comedies, The Irony of Fate (1975). His participation in a series of films about World War II won him the USSR State Prize for 1979.
Yakovlev enjoyed perhaps his greatest popular acclaim in Leonid Gaidai's screen version of Mikhail Bulgakov's comedy Ivan Vasilyevich Changes His Occupation (also known as Ivan Vasilyevich: Back to the Future) (1973). His film career largely came to a halt after Georgy Danelia’s sci-fi extravaganza Kin-dza-dza!, in which he played one of the leading roles.
“Yuri Yakovlev, a great actor and a bright person has passed away. This is a very heavy loss for his theatre,” Culture Minister Vladimir Medinsky said. He expressed condolences to Yakovlev’s family, friends and colleagues.
The president’s special representative for international cultural cooperation Mikhail Shvydkoi told ITAR-TASS that “Yuri Yakovlev was simply a great actor,” he was “congenial to the writers whose literary characters he turned into those we know from theatre productions and films.”
Yakovlev could “intricately combine Russian mentality with the great joy of play, something that has always been a distinctive feature of Vakhtangov Theatre actors,” he added.
Moscow Mayor Sergei Sobyanin noted that “Yuri Yakovlev’s name is associated with a whole era in the history of the Vkhtangov Theatre.”
“Talented actor Yuri Yakovlev is no longer with us,” Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev said in his message.
President Vladimir Putin offered condolences to Yakovlev’s family and all those who liked and enjoyed his works.