Vyacheslav Tikhonov, Russian actor most famous for Stirlitz, dies at 81

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Saturday, December 5, 2009

File:Vyacheslav Tikhonov 1963 photo.jpg

Vyacheslav Tikhonov (1963 postcard photo)
(Image missing from Commons: image; log)

Famous Soviet and Russian actor Vyacheslav Tikhonov died Friday aged 81.

Born in 1928, he made his film debut in 1948. The first fame came in 1968, when he featured in Sergei Bondarchuk's Oscar-winning War and Peace as Andrei Bolkonsky and in We'll Live Till Monday in the leading role of a history school teacher.

This role [of Stirlitz] personified an ideal Soviet spy — smart, refined, intelligent

—Sergei Ivanov, Russia's Deputy Prime Minister

He is best known for his role of the Soviet spy Standartenführer Stirlitz in the famous 1973 television series Seventeen Moments of Spring, Soviet classics about World War II. Deputy Prime Minister of the Russian Cabinet Sergei Ivanov, and the former head of the Foreign Intelligence Service, remarked that, "this role personified an ideal Soviet spy — smart, refined, intelligent".

His later roles included the portrayal of a KGB General in the 1984 television series TASS Is Authorized to Declare..., also written by Moments author Yulian Semyonov, and the role in the award-winning 1994 film Burnt by the Sun.

Russian state broadcasting company VGTRK recently presented a version of the 17 Moments with restored color. It took approximately US$3,000 to colorize each minute of the film, a $2,520,000 total cost. The television series Isayev was also released recently by Central Partnership, about the deeds of young Stirlitz, based on the novels by Semyonov. Isayev was played by Daniil Strahov.

He was operated on in the Central Clinical Hospital of Moscow last Saturday, but his health remained in a poor condition and he died after a second infarction.

Union Of Cinematographists of Russia specifically asked Yuriy Luzhkov, the Moscow mayor, to permit the burial of the People's Artist at Novodevichiye cemetery. The date and place of the funeral will not be decided until Monday.

He is survived by second wife Tamara, daughter Anna Tikhonova (also in actoring) and four grandsons. His first wife, Nonna Mordyukova, died last year.


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