The educational project “Personalities of the Russian Community Abroad. 1920-1945”

Yul Brynner

Yul Brynner

Yul Brynner

(1920 – 1985)

He was the first actor of Russian descent who won an Oscar (in 1957 for his role in “The King and I”). He was extremely popular all over the world, in the USSR in particular, after starring in “The Magnificent Seven”.

The actor was born in 1920. He lived in China for some time and when he was 14 years old, his family moved to Paris. There he tried to work as a trapeze acrobat in a circus and got his back badly injured. There, in Paris, he fell in love with Roma music and learnt to sing and perform Roma songs with a guitar like a virtuoso.

In 1941 the man moved to the US and was invited to join Mikhail Chekhov’s studio. Brynner’s career was in full swing since 1951 with his role in “The King and I”, the musical staged on Broadway. The performance was a huge success and entertained the public for three years. In 1956 a movie was made after this play, with Brynner starring in it. That was the role he won Oscar for. His other famous roles included the following: Dmitry Karamazov in “The Brothers Karamazov”; King Solomon in “Solomon and Sheba” (the actor got 1 mln. dollars for  this role which was a huge sum at the time); Chris Adams in “The Magnificent Seven” (the movie made Brynner a super star all over the world, and gained particular popularity in the USSR.


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