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Medvedev mourns Russia’s legendary film and theater actor

October 31, 2016, 21:14 UTC+3 MOSCOW

The Russian premier has said he cannot imagine Russian arts without Zeldin's bright and unrepeatable characters

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Actor Vladimir Zeldin

Actor Vladimir Zeldin

© Pavel Smertin/TASS

MOSCOW, October 31. /TASS/. Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev has offered deep condolences to the family of Vladimir Zeldin, a legendary theater and film actor who died on Monday at the age of 101.

"The death of Vladimir (Mikhailovich) Zeldin is a big loss for national culture, for all of us," the message of condolences said. "Vladimir Mikhailovich was a true knight of the theater, an icon of several generations, making our country a present - an era of a big artist, an era of Zeldin," the prime minister said.

Medvedev said Russian arts cannot be imagined without his bright and unrepeatable characters, on screen and at his home theater, the Central Academic Russian Army Theater. "A man of unique talent, he possessed an incredible ability of giving joy to spectators through all appearances on scene and inspiring them with his special energy of goodness," he said.

"Vladimir Mikhailovich is no longer with us, but we have his remarkable works, a kind and cherished memory of that great actor, loved by millions of people," the message said.

Vladimir Zeldin died Monday morning in hospital. He was 101.

Zeldin had been acting since 1935 after graduating from the Mossovet Theatre’s school in Moscow. Until recently, he remained a leading actor at Moscow’s Central Academic Theatre of the Russian Army where he started working in 1945.

Born on February 10, 1915 in Russia’s Tambov Region, Zeldin won nationwide acclaim following his iconic role in a 1941 film ‘The Swine Girl and the Shepherd.’ In this famous pre-war Soviet musical comedy Zeldin, an ethnic Jew, appeared as a hot-blooded Dagestani shepherd Musalib Gatuev, who falls madly in love with Glasha Novikova, a Russian girl from a northern rural village, during a brief meeting in Moscow at the All-Union Agricultural Exhibition (currently VDNKh). Zeldin's acting was so emotional and true-to-life that every single viewer was certain the actor was an ethnic Dagestani, born in the North Caucasus.

Although to a large extent Zeldin owes his popularity to roles played on screen - and he boasts over 60 roles in films and TV series - he invariably remained committed to his career in the theatre. Russian culture experts unanimously refer to him as the ‘Patriarch of the Russian Theatre.’

In October 2013, the actor took part in the Olympic torch relay race in Moscow for the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics.

Zeldin will be buried in Moscow’s famous Novodevichy Cemetery on November 3.

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