2023 Author: Leah Sherlock | [email protected]. Last modified: 2023-08-25 09:26
Soviet clowns were considered among the best on the planet. The circus in the Soviet Union was a separate art form that was very popular. Many clowns are still remembered by those who personally caught them at their first performances. We will talk about the most famous of them in this article.
Among the Soviet clowns, one of the most famous is the People's Artist of the USSR, the idol of several generations of Soviet lovers of humor and laughter, Yuri Nikulin. He was born back in the Smolensk province in 1921. His parents were artists, so Yuri's fate was largely predetermined.
In 1939, immediately after leaving school, he was drafted into the army. During the Great Patriotic War he fought near Leningrad. In 1943, he caught pneumonia, spent a long time in the hospital, and after being discharged almost immediately received a shell shock during one of the air raids on Leningrad.
After the war, he tried to enter VGIK, but he was not accepted, not having found acting abilities in him. Therefore, Nikulin went to the clownery studio school, which worked underthe capital's circus on Tsvetnoy Boulevard. This became his home for several decades.
In 1948, the famous Soviet clown made his debut in tandem with Boris Romanov in a performance called "The Model and the Hack", which immediately captivated the audience. For some time he worked as an assistant at the Pencil. He met Mikhail Shuidin, with whom he went on tour throughout the country to gain experience in the circus.
Nikulin worked with Pencil for two and a half years, after that he left with Shuidin due to a conflict. Starting to perform on their own, they made up a duet famous throughout the country, although they were completely different artists in type and character.
Among the clowns of the Soviet Union, Nikulin was one of the most popular. He worked in his native circus for half a century, becoming its symbol, now there is even a monument to the famous artist on Tsvetnoy Boulevard.
At the same time, he made a brilliant career in the cinema, playing in the popular comedies "Operation" Y "and other adventures of Shurik", "Prisoner of the Caucasus", "Diamond Hand".
He stopped performing in the circus only when he was 60 years old. In 1981, he officially retired from the stage, starting to work as the chief director of the circus on Tsvetnoy Boulevard. In 1982, he took over as director of the circus. With this famous Soviet clown, the circus flourished, a new building was built, the opening of which took place in 1989.
Yuri Nikulin was popular not only in big movies, but also on domestic television. In the 90s, his program was released undercalled "White Parrot". She brought together famous and honored artists who told their favorite anecdotes and funny stories from their own careers. The signature jokes were always those that Yuri Nikulin himself poisoned.
Nikulin died in 1997 at the age of 76 after complications from heart surgery.
Mikhail Shuidin is a clown from the Soviet comedy trio. He performed with Nikulin and Pencil, not at all lost against the background of famous stage colleagues. Shuydin was born in the Tula province in 1922. Was an eccentric acrobat.
Like Nikulin, he went through the Great Patriotic War, they were almost the same age. Shuidin participated in the Battles of Stalingrad and Kursk, distinguished himself in battles in Ukraine, receiving the Order of the Red Star. He was even assigned to the title of Hero of the Soviet Union, which was then replaced by command with the Order of the Red Banner.
Immediately after the war he entered the school of circus art. Together with Nikulin, he worked as an assistant at the Pencil. His debut was successful, when the famous Soviet clown portrayed an important director, being himself full and small in stature. His appearance invariably caused laughter in the audience.
After leaving Pencil with Nikulin, they worked together until 1983, almost until the death of the Soviet clown after a long and serious illness at the age of 60. His stage image is a shirt-guy who knows and can do everything, unlike Nikulin, who played a melancholy clumsy. Your jointthese Soviet clowns built their work on the contradiction of characters.
It is interesting that in ordinary life Shuidin and Nikulin practically did not communicate with each other. They were very different in character and way of life, but as partners on stage they were inimitable. Spectators specially came to the circus on Tsvetnoy Boulevard to see this amazing couple of artists.
The famous Soviet clown Shuidin shone in satirical sketches and pantomimes "Little Pierre", "Peace Pipe", "Carnival in Cuba", "Roses and Thorns".
Mikhail Rumyantsev most know as Pencil. This is one of the most famous stage names of clowns in the USSR. He was born in St. Petersburg in 1901. Rumyantsev decided to become an artist when he met the legendary American silent film actors Douglas Fairbanks and Mary Pickford in Moscow.
Rumyantsev goes to acting classes, and then to the school of circus art, studies with the chief director of the circus on Tsvetnoy Boulevard Mark Mestechkin.
In 1928, he begins to appear in public in the image of the then legendary Charlie Chaplin. After graduating from the school of circus art, he works in Kazan, Smolensk and Stalingrad. In 1932, one of the most famous Soviet clowns in the future, the list of which he rightfully heads, decides to abandon the image of an overseas artist. In 1935, he began working in the Leningrad circus under the pseudonym Karan D'Ash. Gradually, he forms his own unique stage image,determined with the costume and program of the performance.
In 1936 he moves to Moscow, where he takes in his companions a small Scottish terrier named Klyaksa, so the career of the Soviet clown Pencil begins. The metropolitan audience was delighted with the new artist.
Pencil's unique feature was political jokes. For example, during the Brezhnev stagnation, he went on stage with a large shopping bag stuffed with dummies of scarce products: red caviar, pineapples, raw smoked sausage. Once on stage, he froze in front of the audience in silence. The audience waited impatiently for what the clown would say. After some time, he loudly announced: "I am silent because I have everything. And why are you ?!" At the same time, Rumyantsev himself noted that his stage character never allowed himself anything extra.
Throughout his career, he not only performed solo, but also was a clown from the Soviet comedy trio, along with Nikulin and Shuydinov. His fame was such that it was believed that by his appearance on stage he was able to save any performance. A full house was guaranteed. The Soviet clown, whose photo can be found in this article, was very conscientious about his work, always demanded full dedication from all assistants, uniformists, and illuminators.
He has worked in the circus for almost his entire adult life, for 55 years. The last time he appeared on stage was just two weeks before his death. In March 1983 he died. Mikhail Rumyantsev was 81 years old.
Perhaps everyone knows him. Soviet clown Oleg Popov was born in 1930 in the Moscow region. He began his career as an equilibrist, speaking on the wire. In 1951, he first appeared on stage as a carpet clown in the Saratov circus, then moved to Riga. He finally established himself in this role, working under the guidance of the legendary Pencil in the early 50s.
Soviet clown Popov created the famous image of the Solar Clown. It was a young guy with a bright mop of straw hair, who did not lose heart in any situations, who appeared on stage in a plaid cap and striped pants. In his performances, he often used a variety of circus techniques: juggling, acrobatics, tightrope walking, parodies, but the key place in his performances was occupied by entre, which he staged by means of classical buffoonery and eccentricity. Among his most famous numbers are "Whistle", "Chef", "Ray".
Domestic viewers immediately remembered the name of the famous Soviet clown in a plaid cap. He performed not only on stage, he often appeared on television programs, for example, in the children's morning program "Alarm Clock", often acted in films, usually in cameos, staged circus performances as a director.
The artist often went on tour in Western Europe, as a result they brought him worldwide fame. The Soviet clown in a checkered cap was known all over the world.
After the collapse of the Soviet Union, Popov went to Germany. In 1991 he settled in the small town of Eglofstein, beganperform in his own circus program under the new stage name Happy Hans.
He returned to Russia only in 2015, having spent 24 years in Germany. On June 30, his long-awaited performance took place in the Sochi circus as part of the Master circus festival.
In 2016, the already Russian clown Popov was scheduled to tour Russia. His performances were sold out in Saratov. In October, he arrived in Rostov-on-Don, where he planned to perform at least 15 times. After that, he was going to go on tour to Samara and Yekaterinburg.
His acquaintances remember that on November 2 he was cheerful, went to the central market, planned to go fishing, to the local river Manych to catch perches. In the evening he watched TV in the hotel room. At about 23.20 he became ill, the hotel staff called an ambulance, but the actor could not be saved. As it became known, he fell asleep in his hotel room in a deep chair and never woke up.
By decision of his wife and daughter, he was buried in Eglofstein, Germany, where his family lives. Moreover, according to the will of the artist, he was put in a coffin in a clown costume.
Remembering the famous Soviet clowns whose photos can be found in this article, it is imperative to talk about Vyacheslav Polunin, better known by his stage name Asisyai.
This People's Artist of Russia was born in the Orel region in 1950. He received his higher education at the Institute of Culture in Leningrad, then graduated from the popdepartment at GITIS. It was the Soviet clown Asisyai, famous throughout the country, an actor-mime, author and director of clown numbers, masks, reprises and performances.
It was he who became the founders of the famous mime theater "Litsedei", which successfully performed throughout the country. At the peak of popularity, "Litsedei" came out in the 80s. Asisyai was the main character of this theatre. The most popular numbers were "Asisyay", "Sad Canary", "Nizzya".
Since 1989, Polunin initiated a caravan of wandering comedians in Moscow, which, speaking from Moscow, went all over Europe with performances, uniting many stages in different countries into a single theatrical space. Since 1989, the Caravan of Peace festival has been held annually.
It is noteworthy that since 1988 Polunin has been living and working mainly abroad. In 1993, he assembled a new troupe, with which he staged a dozen premiere performances.
Talking about the principles of his work, Polunin always noted that for him clowning is a new way of seeing the world, this is a special perception of reality, within which the clown heals the souls of the audience.
Tamer and circus performer Vladimir Durov was born in Moscow in 1863. Even in his youth, he left the military gymnasium, because he became interested in the circus. He began performing in 1879.
In 1883 he settled in the circus-menagerie of Winkler in Moscow. He began his artistic career as a strongman, then tried out the role of an illusionist, onomatopoeia, clown, coupletist. Since 1887began to specialize exclusively as a satirist and clown trainer.
Education of animals was entirely built on the principle of feeding, developing conditioned reflexes in them with the help of encouragement, for each successful trick the animal received a treat. Durov studied the works of Sechenov and Pavlov, basing his training method on scientific achievements.
In his own house in Moscow, he conducted psychological experiments on animals, involving famous psychiatrists and psychologists, such as Pavlov and Bekhterev. To start making money, he opened a living corner right in his house, which eventually became known as Durov's Corner. "In it, he gave paid performances along with animals. For example, he came up with a unique famous number called" Mouse Railway ".
This work was suspended by the October Revolution and the devastation that followed. Again the doors of "Durov's Corner" were opened in 1919, but not as a private, but as a state theater. Durov himself was allowed to live in his former house, which by that time had been nationalized.
Already in the Soviet Union, Durov continued experiments on telepathy together with the famous Soviet biophysicist Bernard Kazhinsky. In 1927, already in the status of a Soviet clown, Durov published the book "My animals", which over time was repeatedly reprinted and enjoyed great popularity.
In 1934, Vladimir Durov died at the age of 71. After his death, the business was continued by daughter Anna, in 1977 "CornerDurov" passed to her nephew Yuri. Now it is headed by the great-grandson of Vladimir Leonidovich - Yuri Yuryevich, continuing the tradition of Soviet and Russian clowns working with animals.
Remembering the names of the clowns of the USSR, photos of which are presented in this article, you should definitely remember about Leonid Yengibarov. This is a mime clown who has acted as a "sad clown" for almost his entire career.
He was born in Moscow in 1935. At the age of 20, he entered the circus school at the clowning department. Since 1959, he began performing at the arena of the Novosibirsk Circus. Then he appeared on the stage of the circuses in Tbilisi, Kharkov, Minsk, Voronezh. Gathering full houses in the Soviet Union, he went on a tour abroad to Poland, where he was also successful.
In 1962, Yengibarov was awarded a medal in Leningrad for the best number, where he met Roland Bykov and Marcel Marceau. These meetings played an important role in his career, they remained friends with Bykov until the end of his life.
In 1963, Yengibarov also became known as a film actor. He starred in Levon Isahakyan and Henrikh Malyan's film comedy "The Way to the Arena" - in the title role of the clown Leni, who decides to work in the circus, despite the protests of his parents, who wish him a different future.
A year later, Yengibarov appears in Sergei Parajanov's classic historical melodrama "Shadows of Forgotten Ancestors". He plays the role of a mute shepherd, proving that he is capable of not only humorous, but also tragic roles.
In 1964"sad clown" leaves for Prague, where he wins a professional competition. His short stories are also published there for the first time, it turns out that Yengibarov is also a talented writer. In Prague, his daughter Barbara is born, her mother is a Czech journalist and artist, whose name is Yarmila Galamkova.
In 1966, a documentary dedicated to the artist, "Leonid Yengibarov, meet me!".
By the end of the 70s, he was touring the entire Soviet Union, most of all he was appreciated by the audience in Kyiv, Odessa, Leningrad and Yerevan. In 1971, Yengibarov, in collaboration with his colleague Belov, released a performance called "Star Rain". It is shown in the capital's variety theater. After Yengibarov leaves the circus to establish his own theater with solo performances filled with clowns, reprises and various tricks. This is how the production of "Clown's Whims" appears.
The book of Yengibarov's short stories "First Round" is being published in Yerevan. At the same time, he starred with Tengiz Abuladze in the comedy-parable "A Necklace for My Beloved" in the image of the clown Suguri. In the early 70s, he toured with his theater throughout the country, playing 210 performances in 240 days.
Engibarov's bright career ended suddenly and tragically. In the summer of 1972 he comes to Moscow on vacation. Starts working on a new play. July was incredibly hot and dry that year. In addition, peat swamps are burning near Moscow, on some days in the capital the smog is such that a person cannot be seen from a distance of several meters.
24 July Yengibarov returns home after a concert at the Green Theatre. He does not feel well because of the caught sore throat, which he carries on his feet. His mother Antonina Andrianovna prepares dinner and goes to spend the night with a friend. The next morning, she discovers that Leonid has not yet got up.
By evening he becomes ill, he asks to call an ambulance for him. When the doctors arrive, the artist gets better, he even begins to compliment the nurse. But two hours later, his condition deteriorates again. Mother again calls an ambulance. Yengibarov asks for a glass of cold champagne, which constricts his blood vessels, and his condition only worsens. The doctors who arrived for the second time are unable to help him, the clown dies of chronic coronary heart disease.
According to the doctors, the cause was a blood clot, which was formed due to the fact that the son returned already sick from the tour and rehearsed performances with a sore throat. At the time of his death, Yengibarov was only 37 years old. He was buried at the Vagankovsky cemetery.
Many took his death as a personal tragedy.
People's Artist of the RSFSR Yuri Kuklachev gained fame as a cat trainer. He was born in the Moscow region in 1949. I dreamed of becoming a clown since childhood. But he was not taken to the circus school for seven years in a row.
Finally, in 1963, he enters a vocational school as a printer, but he does not despair in his place. Working in the printing house "Young Guard", in the evenings he is engaged in the folk circus at the Palace of Culture "RedOctober". In 1967, he became the winner of an amateur art competition.
At the final concert of the competition, circus artists on Tsvetnoy Boulevard notice him, Kuklachev is still invited to the circus school. In 1971 he became a certified artist of the Union State Circus, where he worked until 1990. His image is a simple-minded, but at the same time a little sly buffoon from the people in a stylized Russian shirt. Initially works under the pseudonym Vasilek.
In search of his own zest, Kuklachev decided back in the mid-70s that a cat should appear in his performances. It is believed that they are difficult to train, but Kuklachev manages to work successfully with them. Over time, the animal troupe began to replenish with new tailed artists, this made it possible to make several numbers with animals.
It was the numbers with cats that brought Kuklachev all-Union popularity, he was also successful on foreign tours.
In 1990, a circus performer gets at his disposal the building of the former theater "Call", located on Kutuzovsky Prospekt. Soon, at its base, he opens one of the first private theaters in the country, which eventually gets the name "Kuklachev's Cat Theater". It turns out that this is the first cat theater in the world, and immediately it becomes famous far beyond the borders of Russia.
In 2005, the theater receives the status of a state theater, and in addition to cats, dogs appear in reprises.
Now Kuklachev is 69 years old, he continues his work in the cat theater.
Russian actress of Latvian origin Evelina Bledans started out as a clown. She was born in Y alta in 1969. Graduated from the Acting Department of the Institute of Performing Arts in Leningrad.
The first fame came to her in 1999, when she appeared as a member of the Masks comic troupe, which produced popular television shows based on clowning, pantomime and eccentricity. The artists were distinguished by the fact that they worked in the silent film genre. All projects were conceived and implemented by the artistic director Georgy Deliev, who himself was one of the artists of the comic troupe.
In the 90s, the famous television series "Mask Show" was released, in total it was possible to shoot five seasons, which number almost two hundred episodes.
After that, Evelina Bledans gained fame as a television and film actress.
The clown in Soviet culture
The clown has become such a popular image in the Soviet Union that it can often be found outside the circus arena. For example, the Soviet clown toy was in great demand in the USSR, which was considered a special gift for any holiday, and especially for a birthday.
In the humorous program of the variety artist Yevgeny Petrosyan, which was popular in the 90s, the clown toy became a symbol, it can always be seen on the project's intro.
The Soviet cartoon about the clown "The Cat and the Clown" also demonstrates how popular these artists were. It was released in 1988, directed by Natalia Golovanova.
The cartoon is shot in the spirit of the classic buffoonery, which tells the story of an old clown who devoted many years to work in the circus. In his lifetime, he has seen a lot, it is already difficult to surprise him with something. But this succeeds the magic cat, which is able to turn into all sorts of objects.
This 10-minute cartoon shows the tense and irreconcilable struggle between the characters, each of which has a strong and intractable character. On the one hand, there is an elderly clown, and on the other, a cocky, naive and at times frankly rude cat. This unusual work ends very unexpectedly: the cat at the very end turns into a boy.
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