Anatoli Papanov

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Anatoli Papanov
Papanov as Genrikh Graftio (1979)
Anatoli Dmitrievich Papanov

(1922-10-31)31 October 1922
Died5 August 1987(1987-08-05) (aged 64)
Moscow, Russian SFSR, Soviet Union
Resting placeNovodevichy Cemetery
Years active1937–1987
SpouseNadezhda Karatayeva[1] (m. 1945–1987; his death)
ChildrenElena Papanova (b. 1954)

Anatoli Dmitrievich Papanov (Russian: Анатолий Дмитриевич Папанов, romanizedAnatoliy Dmitriyevich Papanov; 31 October 1922 — 5 August 1987) was a Soviet and Russian actor, drama teacher, and theatre director at the Moscow Satire Theatre where he served for almost 40 years.[2] A prominent character actor, Papanov is mostly remembered for his comedy roles in a duo with his friend Andrei Mironov, although he had many dramatic roles as well. As a voice actor he contributed to over hundred cartoons. He was named People's Artist of the USSR in 1973 and awarded the USSR State Prize posthumously.[1][3]

Early and war years[edit]

Anatoli Papanov was born in Vyazma, Smolensk Governorate (modern-day Smolensk Oblast, Russia) into a mixed Russian-Polish family.[4][5] His father Dmitry Filippovich Papanov (1897—1982) was a retired soldier who served as a railway guard and an amateur actor at the local theatre founded by Nikolai Plotnikov, where Anatoli and his sister also performed as children.[4][6] His mother Elena Boleslavovna Roskovskaya (1901—1973) was a Belarus-born[7] Polish milliner who secretly converted from Roman Catholicism to Russian Orthodoxy. Anatoli himself was raised in Orthodox traditions.[5]

In 1930 the family moved to Moscow. As a schoolboy Papanov attended drama courses, then went on to work as a caster at a factory, simultaneously performing in a popular theatre studio for factory workers organized by Vakhtangov Theatre actors led by Vasili Kuza whom Papanov later considered his first teacher.[1][6] During the late 1930s he made a number of uncredited appearances in movies, such as a sailor in Lenin in October (1937) or a passerby in The Foundling (1939).

In 1941, after the invasion of the Soviet Union, Papanov joined the Red Army and left for the front line. As a senior sergeant he headed an anti-aircraft warfare platoon. In June 1942, he was badly wounded by an explosion and lost two toes on his right foot. He spent six months in a military hospital and was sent home as disabled, and for the next several years he could only walk with a cane.[1][6][5] In 1985 he was awarded the 1st class Order of the Patriotic War.[8][5]

Despite his injury, in 1943 Papanov entrolled as a student in the acting faculty of the State Institute of Theatre Arts, taking courses with Vasili Orlov. During his studies he met his future wife, a fellow student Nadezhda Yurievna Karatayeva (born 1924), who had also served in the war as a nurse on a hospital train. They married on 20 May 1945, ten days after the end of the war.[9]



In 1946, after graduating from the State Institute, Papanov left for Klaipėda, Lithuanian SSR, along with other students. There, they founded a Klaipėda Russian Drama Theatre, where he performed for several years. In 1948 Andrey Goncharov suggested he join the Moscow Satire Theatre, where he continued to act up until his death, performing in about 50 plays.[9][10]

Among his popular roles were Alexander Koreiko in The Little Golden Calf (1958), Kisa Vorobyaninov in The Twelve Chairs (1960, both based on the novels by Ilf and Petrov), Vasily Tyorkin in Aleksandr Tvardovsky's Tyorkin in the Other World (1966), Anton Antonovich in Nikolai Gogol's The Government Inspector (1972), Nikolai Shubin in Grigori Gorin's and Arkady Arkanov's Little Comedies of the Big House (1973), Pavel Famusov in Alexander Griboyedov's Woe from Wit (1976), Roman Khludov in Mikhail Bulgakov's Flight (1977), Leonid Gayev in Anton Chekhov's The Cherry Orchard (1984), and others.[6][11]

Apart from performing, Papanov also taught acting at the Russian Institute of Theatre Arts, and in 1986 he staged his first and last play, The Last Ones by Maxim Gorky. Being a devout Christian, Papanov wanted to end it with a prayer. To avoid possible censorship, he used a radio record of Feodor Chaliapin performing a prayer.[5]


During the 1960s, Papanov began regularly appearing in films. He performed leading roles in the comedies Come Tomorrow, Please... (1962), directed by Yevgeny Tashkov, and Children of Don Quixote (1965), directed by Yevgeny Karelov, and appeared in several comedies by Eldar Ryazanov, including The Man from Nowhere (1961), where he played four roles at once. It didn't bring him any fame, though, as the movie was heavily criticized upon release and quickly banned for 25 years straight.[12]

Papanov became very famous, however, after his work as General Serpilin in Aleksandr Stolper's war drama The Alive and the Dead (1964). For this role he was awarded the Vasilyev Brothers State Prize of the RSFSR and the main prize at the First All-Union Film Festival, and Konstantin Simonov personally lauded his work.[3][13][14]

In 1966, Eldar Ryazanov released Beware of the Car, in which Papanov appeared alongside his friend Andrei Mironov, with Mironov as a modern-day black marketeer, and Papanov as his father-in-law, a war veteran who mocks him all the way through. Its popularity led Leonid Gaidai to cast them in his 1968 comedy The Diamond Arm as the main antagonists, a pair of smugglers who tried to get their hands on the hero's "diamond arm". The film was seen by 76.7 million people on the year of release, becoming the third most popular Soviet movie of all time.[15] In 1971, Gaidai also tried both actors for the leading parts in his adaptation of The Twelve Chairs, but decided otherwise.[16] In 1976, Mark Zakharov directed his own TV adaptation of the book and eventually cast both actors in the leading roles, reuniting them for the last time.

Papanov was also highly sought-after by animation directors. His distinguishing growling voice suited all kind of beasts such as Shere Khan from The Adventures of Mowgli (1967), a Soviet adaptation of The Jungle Book. His most popular characters, though, were wolves, especially after he voiced the Wolf character in the top-rated animated series Well, Just You Wait! (1969—1986), which has been considered his best role, overshadowing all of his other work, to his great displeasure.[1][17]

Death and memory[edit]

Anatoli Papanov on the 2001 stamp

Papanov suffered from chronic heart failure. In 1987, he performed his last role in the tragic drama The Cold Summer of 1953. After work on the movie was finished, Papanov returned from Karelia to his Moscow flat and decided to take a shower although the hot water was off that day. He died in the bath from a heart attack.[5] Just eleven days later, his long-time friend and co-star Andrei Mironov would die from a cerebral hemorrhage.

Papanov was buried in Novodevichy Cemetery in Moscow.[18] He was survived by his wife, actress Nadezhda Karatayeva who also performed at the Moscow Satire Theatre, and their daughter Elena Papanova, a theatre and film actress.[6]

Asteroid No. 2480 is named after Papanov.

In 2012 a monument in memory of Papanov was opened in his native Vyazma.[19]

One of the streets in Mikhaylovsk, Stavropol Krai is named after the actor.[20]

Selected filmography[edit]




  1. ^ a b c d e Anatoly Papanov: "Only one theatre and one woman in my life" Archived 6 February 2016 at the Wayback Machine. Russia-K, 30 October 2007 (in Russian). Retrieved on 2016-10-31.
  2. ^ Peter Rollberg (2009). Historical Dictionary of Russian and Soviet Cinema. US: Rowman & Littlefield. pp. 516–517. ISBN 978-0-8108-6072-8.
  3. ^ a b Papanov, Anatolii Dmitrievich from the Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 1979
  4. ^ a b Larisa Zhukova. Vyazma — Anatoly Papanov's motherland. My City — newspaper № 47 (24 November 2011). Retrieved on 2016-10-31.
  5. ^ a b c d e f Tatiana Bulkina (2011). A Bow to the Soviet Cinema // Interview with Nadezhda Karatayeva. — Moscow: Moscovia Publishing House, pp. 87—96 ISBN 5-7151-0333-9
  6. ^ a b c d e Islands. Anatoly Papanov Archived 22 September 2019 at the Wayback Machine documentary by Russia-K, 2007 (in Russian)
  7. ^ Беларуская глыбіня: наш Папанаў. Піша Павел Севярынец (The Depth of Belarus: Papanov, One of Us. By Paval Sieviaryniec) - Nasha Niva, 17.11.2012
  8. ^ Anatoli Papanov at the People's Deed website (in Russian)
  9. ^ a b Nadezhda Karatayeva and Anatoli Papanov. More than Love Archived 20 September 2019 at the Wayback Machine documentary by Russia-K, 2013 (in Russian)
  10. ^ Theatre Roles at the website in the memory of Anantoli Papanov (in Russian)
  11. ^ Theatre history at the official Moscow Satire Theatre website (in Russian)
  12. ^ Olga Afanasieva (2015). Eldar Ryazanov. Irony of Fate, or.... — Moscow: Algorythm, p. 26 ISBN 978-5-906789-26-6
  13. ^ Cinema: Encyclopedia Dictionary, main ed. Sergei Yutkevich (1987). — Moscow: Soviet Encyclopedia, p. 81
  14. ^ Konstantin Simonov (1977). The Alive and the Dead. Volume 1. — St. Petersburg: Khudozhestvennaya Literatura, p. 6
  15. ^ Soviet box office leaders at KinoPoisk
  16. ^ Anna Veligzhanina. Gaidai rejected 22 Ostaps article from Komsomolskaya Pravda, 30 January 2003 (in Russian)
  17. ^ Papanov and Cartoons at the website in the memory of Anatoli Papanov (in Russian)
  18. ^ Anatoli Papanov's tomb
  19. ^ Anatoly Papanov monument opened in the Smolensk Oblast. Retrieved on 31 October 2016.
  20. ^ Anatoly Papanov street at the Postal codes website (in Russian)

External links[edit]