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Kirill Lavrov
Born Kirill Yuryevich Lavrov
(1925-09-15)15 September 1925
Leningrad, Russian SFSR, Soviet Union
Died 27 April 2007(2007-04-27) (aged 81)
Saint Petersburg, Russia
Years active 1955 - 2007
Spouse(s) Valentina Nikolayeva (1952 - 2000)
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Kirill Yuryevich Lavrov (Russian: Кири́лл Ю́рьевич Лавро́в; 15 September 1925 – 27 April 2007) was a well-known Soviet and Russian film and theatre actor and director.



Kirill Yuryevich Lavrov was born on 15 September 1925, in Leningrad, USSR (now St. Petersburg, Russia). He was baptized by the Russian Orthodox Church of St. John the Divine in Lavrushinskoe Podvorie Monastery in Leningrad. Young Kirill Lavrov was brought up in Leningrad, in a family with deep roots in St. Petersburg society. He was fond of literature and theatre from his young age, and was exposed to a highly stimulating intellectual environment in his family. He was also a good sportsman: he took gymnastics, fencing, and was a member of the youth football (soccer) team at "Spartak" sports club in Leningrad.[1]


His maternal grandmother, Olga Leonidovna Lykoshina, was related to writer Aleksandr Griboyedov and belonged to Polish Nobility. His grandfather, Sergei Vasilyevich Lavrov,[2] was Director of Gymnasium of the Imperial Humanitarian Society in St. Petersburg; he emigrated to Belgrade after the Russian Revolution of 1917, and died there in 1934. Kirill Lavrov's paternal grandmother, Elizaveta Akimovna, refused to emigrate and stayed home in Petrograd with her children. In 1919, his father, Yuri Sergeevich Lavrov, became an actor at the Bolshoi Drama Theatre (BDT) in St. Petersburg where his stage costumes were designed by the legendary theatrical artist Alexandre Benois. His mother, Olga Ivanovna Gudim-Levkovich, was also an actress in Leningrad. Both Lavrov's parents worked together at various theaters in Leningrad, they married in 1924, in Leningrad.

Under Stalin

In the 1930s Leningrad was shocked by a series of high-level political murders and Great Purges under the leadership of Joseph Stalin. In 1934, the popular governor of Leningrad, Sergei Kirov was brutally murdered in his office. Joseph Stalin targeted Leningrad for the purpose of degrading the superior reputation of the former Russian capital by destruction of its culture and society through extermination of intellectuals. Soon the director of BDT Aleksei Dikij was arrested and imprisoned. After the most dangerous year of 1937, the family of Lavrovs managed to escape from Leningrad amidst the heat of the Stalinist repressions. The Lavrovs were at risk, because of their grandfather's Imperial past and emigration with the White Russians. In 1938 the family moved from Leningrad to Kiev, where Kirill's father, Yuri Lavrov, became a permanent member of the troupe at Kiev State Russian Drama Theatre named after Lesya Ukrainka.


During World War II Kirill Lavrov was evacuated to Kirov, then to Novosibirsk in Siberia. There he worked as a metal worker at a military-industrial plant. In the beginning of 1943, then 17-year-old Lavrov applied to join the Red Army to fight the Nazis. He was sent for training to Astrakhan at Technical School of Aviation, from which he graduated in 1945. Then he served as an aircraft technician in the Air Force, he was stationed at an Air Force Base on the Kuril island of Iturup until 1950. There he was also involved in acting with an amateur troupe at a local army club. In 1950 he was discharged from the Red Army and reunited with his parents in Kiev, Ukraine.[3]


Kirill Lavrov did not have any theatrical training, he did not matriculate from a high school, so he was not accepted at any acting school in Moscow, when he tried to apply there. Frustrated Lavrov left Moscow for Kiev, and settled with his parents. In Kiev he became an actor of Russian Drama Theatre named after Lesya Ukrainka, where his father was among leading actors at that time. Father and son Lavrovs were involved in several stage productions together. The artistic director of Kiev Russian Drama, Konstantin Khokhlov became Lavrov's mentor, and soon invited Lavrov to move from Kiev to Leningrad, where Khokhlov was appointed artistic director of BDT. In 1955, upon Khokhlov's invitation, Kirill Lavrov moved to Leningrad and joined the troupe of BDT.


From 1955 to 2007 Kirill Lavrov was a permanent member of the legendary troupe at BDT in St. Petersburg (Leningrad). From 1956 to 1989, Lavrov worked under directorship of Georgi Tovstonogov. During those 33 years with Tovstonogov, Lavrov ascended to stardom in theatre and film. After the death of Tovstonogov, Lavrov continued his work as the leader of an outstanding ensemble of actors at BDT. There his stage partners were such stars as Oleg Basilashvili, Tatyana Doronina, Alisa Freindlich, Lyudmila Makarova, Svetlana Kryuchkova, Zinaida Sharko, Valentina Kovel, Innokenti Smoktunovsky, Sergei Yursky, Nikolai Trofimov, Oleg Borisov, Vladislav Strzhelchik, Yefim Kopelyan, Yevgeni Lebedev, Georgi Shtil, Vsevolod Kuznetsov, Pavel Luspekayev, Vadim Medvedev, Yuri Demich, Leonid Nevedomsky, Gennadi Bogachyov, Andrei Tolubeyev, and many other notable Russian actors.

Film career

In 1955, Kirill Lavrov made his film debut in Vasyok Trubachev I ego tovarishchi, directed by Ilya Frez. In 1964 Lavrov shot to fame with his leading role as Sintsov in The Alive and the Dead, a war drama by director Aleksandr Stolper. Kirill Lavrov received international acclaim for the leading role as Ivan Karamazov in an Oscar-nominated film The Brothers Karamazov (1969),[4] which he also directed together with his co-star, Mikhail Ulyanov, after the death of the original film director Ivan Pyryev. Among Lavrov’s other achievements were his roles in such films as Tchaikovsky (1969), Doverie, and Taming of the Fire (Ukroshcheniye ognya).

His last works in film were supporting roles in TV series Master and Margarita (2005) and in war drama Leningrad (2007).


In 1989, Kirill Lavrov was unanimously elected the Artistic Director of the Bolshoi Drama Theatre (BDT) in St. Petersburg. He managed to preserve the artistic tradition established by the great Russian director Georgi Tovstonogov, and to rename BDT after G. A. Tovstonogov. Kirill Lavrov was awarded the State Prizes of the USSR (1974) for his work in the film Taming of the Fire. He was also awarded the State Prize of Russia for his works on stage and in film. He received numerous decorations from the State of the USSR as well as from the State of Russia, and was designated People's Actor of the USSR (1972). He was elected representative to the Supreme Soviet of the USSR, and later was also an active political and cultural figure in the new Russia. From 1992 to 2006 Lavrov was President of the International Confederation of Theatrical Unions.

Kirill Lavrov was honorary citizen of St. Petersburg. He was co-chairman, with Dmitry Likhachev, of the St. Petersburg Council for Culture and Arts. He died of a heart failure, aged 81, on 27 April 2007, in St Petersburg. His burial service was held at the Bolshoi Drama Theatre, and then at the same Russian Orthodox Church of St. John the Divine where he was baptized as a child. Kirill Lavrov was buried next to his wife in Bogoslovskoe Cemetery in St. Petersburg, Russia.



  • 1956 The Quarrel in Lukashi
  • 1964 The Alive and the Dead (Russian: Живые и мертвые) as Sintsov
  • 1966 "A Long Happy Life" (1966 Film) as Victor
  • 1969 The Brothers Karamazov as Ivan
  • 1969 Tchaikovsky as Władysław Pachulski
  • 1970 Lyubov Yarovaya (Russian: Любовь Яровая) as Shvanda
  • 1972 Taming of the Fire as Andrei Bashkirtsev
  • 1974 Ocean
  • 1976 Trust (Russian: Доверие) as Lenin
  • 1978 A Hunting Accident as Count Karneyev
  • 1979 A Glass of Water
  • 1981 20 December as Lenin
  • 1982 Journey to Another Town
  • 1983 Magistral (Russian: Магистраль) as Urzhumov
  • 1986 Red Arrow as Kropotov
  • 1988 Bread is a proper noun (aka.. Khleb - Imya suschestvitelnoe) (Хлеб - имя существительное) as Communist Shabatin
  • 2000 Tender Age
  • 2000 Uboynaya sila
  • 2005 The Master and Margarita as Pontius Pilate
  • 2009 Attack on Leningrad as Radio host

Stage works

  • Ocean
  • Uncle Vanya
  • The Three Sisters
  • Boris Godunov
  • And Quiet Flows The Don
  • Before Sunset
  • The Quartet

Honours and awards

  • Order of Merit for the Fatherland;
    • 2nd class (2 September 2005) - for outstanding contribution to the development of theatrical art, and many years of creative activity
    • 3rd class (13 September 2000) - for his great personal contribution to the development of theatrical art
    • 4th class (5 August 1995) - for services to the state and many years of fruitful work in the arts and culture
  • Hero of Socialist Labour (1985)
  • Order of Lenin (1985)
  • Order of the October Revolution (1971)
  • Order of the Red Banner of Labour (1975)
  • Order of the Badge of Honour (1967)
  • Medals "For Victory over Germany in World War II", "Victory over Japan", "To commemorate the 30th anniversary of the Soviet Army and Navy", commemorative medals of the anniversary of Victory
  • People's Artist of the USSR (1972)
  • People's Artist of the RSFSR (1970)
  • Honoured Artist of the RSFSR (1963)
  • People's Artist of Ukraine (2003)
  • Lenin Prize (1982) - for his role of Lenin in the play "On reading again ..." (1980) on the stage LBADT Gorky
  • USSR State Prize (1978) - a performance of "Silent Don" Mikhail Sholokhov, placed on the stage LBADT Gorky (1977)
  • State Prize of the RSFSR Vasiliev brothers (1974) - for his role Andrey Ilyitch Bashkirtseva in the movie "The Taming of the Fire" (1972) [5]
  • Russian President's Award for Literature and the Arts (1997)
  • Russian Presidential Prize "For outstanding contribution to the development of Russian cinema" (2000)
  • Diploma of the Government of Russia (2000)
  • Honorary citizen of St. Petersburg (1995)
  • Honorary Diploma of the Legislative Assembly of Saint Petersburg (2000)
  • Certificate of Merit of the President of Yakutia (2007) [10]
  • Winner of Tsarskoye Selo Art Prize (2004)


External links

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