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Russian actor Yevgeny Vesnik

On January 15, 1923, a great Russian actor Yevgeny Vesnikwas born in Petrograd.

... Oneday, amini-series“Electronic’sAdventures” wasreleased. To say that it was a tremendous success is to grossly understate it. Hardly had a moment passed before all the boys with more or less curly hair were nicknamed “Electronic”. Everybody was dreaming of having a friend like Syroyezhkin, of getting a dog Ressy and a motobyke like the one Urri had. And the song about “awinged swing”playedon the radio twenty times a day.

As for me, there was another character I really liked in the series – a teacher of mathematics. I was about to start school then, for the first time, and was wondering what kind of teachers we would have. So, I wanted very much that one of our teachers turned out to be like the one in the series! And it was Evgeny Vesnik who played the part of that teacher.

And again, to say that Yevgeny Vesnik was a man of remarkable talent and a great destiny is to underrate him. There were so many sharp turns in his life and each of them could be his last.

His parents suffered repression in 1937 and a 15-year-old boy was left all alone in Moscow.At school, he fell in with bad company, which was not unusual. And it was only thanks to his teacher Anna Tyutcheva, a great-granddaughter of the Russian poet Fyodor Tyutchev, that he began pursuing his interest in theatre and revealing his abilities. After school he was admitted to the Theatre Institute, but he left to the front almost immediately and was fighting in the war till the Victory Day. When the war was over, he finally returned to Moscow, continued his studies, got his first roles in the theatre andtried to direct a play.

And yet, for the generation of those who are still 40 something years old, Yevgeny Vesnik is probably an actor of cameo roles, judging by the films we have already seen. We know him as an uncomplicated colonelin “The Elusive Avengers” – “May I kiss you hand, madame!” – and as a militiaman in “Old Khottabych”, and, again, a teacher of mathematics in “Electronic’sAdventures”.

In fact, he left us a rich legacy of, without exaggeration, hundreds of stage and film roles.And, just for the record, Yevgeny Vesnik was the first to play Ostap Bender on stage at the Moscow Satire Theatre in 1956.Serious theatregoers claim that Sergei Yursky, Archil Gomiashvili and Andrei Mironov – the actors who played Ostap Bender later – borrowed a lot from Ostap played by Vesnik.By the way, you can see YevgenyVesnik as Ostap Bender right in the first photo!

He directed more than a dozen plays. He was a voice actor. It was Vesnik who dubbedMarcello Mastroianni in this country. As you can understand, noteverybody could be entrusted with speaking for the great Italian actor.

Heworked on the radio. Do you remember Tartarin de Tarascon in “The Club of the Famous Capitains”? Well, it was Vesnik speaking for him. Hevoicedcartooncharacters and spoke for our friend PishiChitai and even for the football captain Pen’-Koloda in the cartoon «S boru po sosenke». Andforgood reason: he was also a big football fan and a friend of famous Starostin brothers.

Besides, Yevgeny Vesnik left us his fine writings. And they are not traditional theatre tall tales, which are not always clear to the ordinary reader, though there are a lot of great stories among tall tales too. Iwouldsay, “Portraits” would be the right title, and one of the books is called exactly that. He vividly protrayed his teachers, his colleagues he was on stage with, his friends. He portrayed them with a lot of respect and love, and with a great talent. I suggest that you find and read those books, and I am sure you will not be disappointed.

And a few more words about Teachers. Surprisingly, myboyhooddreamwaspartlyfulfilled.At times, ourhigh-schoolteacherofmathematics looked very much like Vesnik.

Yevgeny Vesnik, «Образы» (Images). TV show «Вокругсмеха» (Around the Laughter), 1980

Yevgeny Vesnik. BorninPetrogradonJanuary 15th, 1923, diedin2009 in Moscow, buried in Troyekurovskoye Cemetery.