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Prominent Russians: Andrey Mironov

March 8, 1941 - August 16, 1987
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“Life is a great virtue. And as it turns out it doesn’t really last that long. There is enough misfortune, grief, drama, difficulties and confusion in it. That is why we should appreciate the precious moments of joy and happiness - they make us kinder. When a person is smiling, laughing, delighting at something or commiserating he becomes better and purer...” - Andrey Mironov

Andrey Mironov was a stage and screen actor with an amazingly radiant personality. He was thought an ideal actor possessing power over all genres of cinema and theater. He was so tremendously popular during his lifetime, that even years after his death his birthdays remained a major event of Moscow's cultural life. Andrey Mironov became a legend after his death. When talking about Andrey his friends particularly stress his fantastic devotion to his profession and to his audience.

Andrey Mironov (his first surname was Menaker) was born into a family of actors. He was born on 7 March, yet his parents decided to record his birthday on 8 March as “a present for women.” Indeed, hardly any representative of the fair sex could resist the actor’s immense charms. Andrey Mironov was the son of the popular acting duo Aleksandr Menaker and Maria Mironova. His mother was on stage when she felt that her baby was coming. She was immediately rushed to hospital. 46 years later Mironov, already a beloved actor, fainted in the middle of “Figaro's Wedding” – at a guest performance in the Latvian capital of Riga. Two days later he died.

 Mironov’s star lit the artistic world

In 1958 Andrey Mironov entered the Shchukin Drama School, the renowned artistic institution. Among his fellow students Andrey stood out for his maniacal neatness: he was always wearing perfectly ironed clothes and smelling of exquisite perfume. He used to return home from school by taxi, even though quite often he had to borrow money for that.

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Andrey Mironov received his first small part in a film by Yuly Raisman, “What If It’s Love?” as a student. After graduating from the Drama School in 1962 he was invited to the Moscow Theater of Satire by its stage director Valentin Pluchek, and soon made his theater debut in the role of Garik in the stage play “Round the Clock.” The following two movies “My Younger Brother” (1962) and “Three Plus Two” brought him fame. Mironov made few but regular appearances on screen. In 1965 he was invited by the film director Eldar Ryazanov to play the role of the scoundrel Dima Semitsvetov in the comedy “Beware of the Car” (1966). The picture was a great success, while Mironov’s role was acknowledged as one of the best by critics. His fame as an actor was growing. The roles came one after another, each of them different from the last. Finally he appeared as the amusing swindler nicknamed “Earl” in the famous comedy “The Diamond Arm” (1968) by Leonid Gaiday. It was in “The Diamond Arm” that Andrey Mironov debuted as a singer and hence started to sing songs in many films and during recitals. Later, in 1978 he even made the record “Andrey Mironov Sings.” The year 1971 saw the release of a number of films starring Andrey Mironov, among them the captivating heroic adventure “The Property of Republic” by Vladimir Bychkov. That same year he played in an episode of Eldar Ryazanov’s comedy “Old Men: Robbers” and two years later starred in Ryzanov’s adventure comedy “Unbelievable Adventures of Italians in Russia” (1974). Mironov played a CID lieutenant and performed all the stunts himself.

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Andrey Mironov became a true nationally loved hero after the release of the interpretation of the classic character Ostap Bender in “Twelve Chairs” (1977) by director Mark Zakharov. The movie is based on Il'f and Petrov's “Twelve Chairs” novel. It is a classic treasure hunt adventure with a Soviet twist loved by millions.

In Soviet Russia in 1927, a former member of the nobility, Ippolit Matveyevich Vorobyaninov, works as a desk clerk, until his mother-in-law reveals on her deathbed that her family jewelry had been hidden from the Bolsheviks in one of the twelve chairs from the family’s dining room set. Those chairs, along with all other personal property, were expropriated by the government after the Russian Revolution. He becomes a treasure hunter, and together with the “smooth operator” and a con Ostap Bender, runs after the diamonds. Mironov played an unforgettable Bender.

Ostap Bender is a fictional con man and antihero who first appeared in the novel The Twelve Chairs written by Soviet authors Ilya Ilf and Yevgeni Petrov and released in January 1928.-Appearances:Proclaiming himself the "great combinator", Ostap Bender searches for a stash of diamonds...

But Mironov’s true stage popularity started with his role in “The Nunnery” (1964). Starting in 1966 his career, especially as a comedy actor, began to grow. He became one of the most talented actors of his time, admired by millions of spectators. The part of Figaro in Beaumarchais's famous comedy - one of Mironov's best images created on stage - seemed to have been written especially for him. Radiating elegance and humor, he enjoyed every minute of his risky game with the powerful count.

Family life

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In the early 1970s he married Ekaterina Gradova, who played Kath in the legendary Soviet movie “The Seventeen Moments of Spring.” They had a daughter Maria, named after Andrey's famous mother. Today Maria Mironova is a well-known Russian actress.

Mironov was married twice. His second wife was Larisa Golubkina, a singer and actress best known for her role of the hussar maiden in the beloved comedy “Hussar ballad.” His adopted daughter Maria Golubkina (from his marriage with Larisa) has a successful career in Russian cinema as well.

A movie idol

Mironov's irresistible charm, witticism and musicality won him the undying love and admiration of millions of Russian women. A movie idol adored by the public, towards the end of his life Mironov was increasingly dissatisfied with his predominantly comic repertoire. He yearned for roles in which he could establish himself as a serious drama actor. He played Grushnitsky in an Anatoly Efros (the famous Soviet director) production of “The Hero Of Our Time” based on Milkhail Lermontov's novel and then Don Juan in a modern version of the classical drama. There would, no doubt, have been many more, had his heart not stopped beating so early.

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The lack of serious dramatic film roles was oppressing for the versatile actor. The 1980s were the hardest years of his life. In spite of the disease (furunculosis) Mironov  suffered from, he went on working in cinema and theater, touring around the country and invariably drawing in crowds. On 18 December 1980 he was awarded the title of People's Artist of the Russian Socialist Republic. Many actors frankly confess that Andrey Mironov was simply the best. As time goes his legend continues to grow.

On 14 August 1987 Andrey Mironov was playing on the stage of the Riga Opera Theater in “The Marriage of Figaro” when he suddenly felt bad. On the morning of 16 August the actor died of cerebral apoplexy (it turned out he had had an inborn aneurism).

Filmography of Andrey Mironov

  • What if it's love? (1961) \
  • Three plus two (1962)
  • My younger brother (1962)
  • Two Sundays (1963)
  • A year like a life (1965)
  • Beware of the car (1966)
  • The mysterious wall (1967)
  • The diamond arm (1968)
  • To love (1968)
  • The literature lesson (1968)
  • New Year's abduction (1969)
  • Family happiness (1970)
  • The shadow (1971)
  • Stariki-razboyniki (1971)
  • Patrimony of the republic (1971)
  • The kid and Carlson, who lives on the roof (1971)
  • Unbelievable adventures of Italians in Russia (1974)
  • Mad day or the Marriage of Figaro (1974) TV
  • Lev Gurych Sinichkin (1974) TV
  • Small comedies of the big house (1974)
  • The straw hat (1974)
  • Repeated wedding (1975)
  • Pages of Pechorin's diary (1975) TV
  • Step towards (1975)
  • Heavenly swallows (1976)
  • Blue puppy (1976)
  • The twelve chairs (1976)
  • An ordinary miracle(1978)
  • Three men in a boat, not counting a dog (1979) TV
  • Faratyev's fantasies (1979) TV
  • Appointment (1980) TV
  • One poor Hussar put in the word (1980) TV
  • Be my husband (1981)
  • Inspector-General (1982) TV
  • Tale of wanderings (1983)
  • Somewhere in a provincial garden (1983) TV
  • The blond behind the corner (1983)
  • Victory (1984)
  • My friend Ivan Lapshin (1984)
  • A man from the boulevard des Capucines (1987)
  • The pathfinder (1987) 

Written by Tatyana Klevantseva for RT

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