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Yevgeny Samoilov on a Soviet Postcard
|Born||Yevgeny Valerianovich Samoilov
April 16, 1912
Saint Petersburg, Russian Empire
|Died||February 17, 2006
|Resting place||Vagankovo Cemetery
Yevgeny Valerianovich Samoilov (Russian: Евгений Валерианович Самойлов) (16 April 1912, St. Petersburg — 17 February 2006, Moscow) was a Soviet actor who gained prominence in youthful heroic parts and was named a People's Artist of the USSR in 1974. He is the father of Tatiana Samoilova.
Samoilov is not related to the famous Samoilov family that dominated the Maly Theatre in the 19th century. He was educated in Leningrad, starting his career at a local theatre. In 1934 he was noticed by Vsevolod Meyerhold who invited him to join his own troupe in Moscow. Samoilov worked with Meyerhold for four years. He got his most substantial roles in Meyerhold's theatre playing Hernani in Hugo's drama and Chatsky in Woe from Wit.
When Meyerhold was arrested and purged in 1938, Samoilov was in the middle of rehearsing for Pushkin's Boris Godunov (the role of Grigory Otrepyev) and Ostrovsky's How the Steel Was Tempered (the role of Pavka Korchagin). His acting career seemed to be unhampered, however. Samoilov's appearance as the Soviet commander Shchors in Alexander Dovzhenko's film of the same name won him the Stalin Prize for 1941. He proceeded to become an iconic film actor of the Joseph Stalin era, playing against Lyubov Orlova in Bright Path and Marina Ladynina in Six O'Clock in the Evening after the War (1944 film; 1946 Stalin Prize). One of his favourite film roles was that of General Skobelev in The Heroes of Shipka (1955).
After the Meyerhold theatre was disbanded, Samoilov moved to Nikolay Okhlopkov's Mayakovsky Theatre, where he would work until the director's death in 1967. His role of Oleg Koshevoy in the first stage version of The Young Guard won him another Stalin Prize. One of the highlights of his career was Hamlet in Okhlopkov's production of 1954. It was the first post-war production of the play in the country and led to Okhlopkov's joint work with Peter Brook. In 1961, he was cast as Jason in the first-ever Russian production of Medea by Euripides. Six years later, he appeared in the role opposite Aspasia Papathanassiou of Greece.
In 1967 Samoilov rejoined his colleagues from the Meyerhold Theatre in the Maly Theatre. The greatest success of his declining years was the role of Prince Ivan Shuisky in Tsar Fyodor Ioannovich (1973). "It was a genuine Christian man, living in Christ; I have never seen anything like this", says Georgy Sviridov, who composed music for the production. Samoilov's last film roles came in the movies directed by Sergei Bondarchuk, such as Waterloo and Boris Godunov. The actor celebrated his 90th birthday acting on the stage of the Maly Theatre in 2002.
- Shchors (1939)
- Tanya (1940)
- David Bek (1944)
- Six P.M. (1946)
- Admiral Nakhimov (1947)
- Taras Shevchenko (1951)
- The Unforgettable Year 1919 (1951)
- Heroes of Shipka (1955)
- The Alive and the Dead (1964)
- Waterloo (1970)
- They Fought for Their Country (1975)
Honours and awards
- Order of Merit for the Fatherland 3rd class
- Order of Merit for the Fatherland 4th class
- Order of the October Revolution
- Order of the Red Banner of Labour
- Medal "In Commemoration of the 850th Anniversary of Moscow"
- Medal "For the Defence of Moscow"
- Medal "For Valiant Labour in the Great Patriotic War 1941-1945"
- Medal "Veteran of Labour"
- Medal "For the Development of Virgin Lands"
- Medal "In Commemoration of the 800th Anniversary of Moscow"
- N. Barskaya. Ye. V. Samoilov. Moscow, 1951.