Leonid Kuravlyov

Leonid Vyacheslavovich Kuravlyov (Russian: Леонид Вячеславович Куравлёв) (born 8 October 1936) is a Soviet and Russian film actor. He was named People's Artist of the RSFSR in 1976.[1]

Leonid Kuravlyov
Leonid Vyacheslavovich Kuravlyov

(1936-10-08) 8 October 1936
Years active1959–present
Spouse(s)Nina Kuravlyova (1960—2012)
ChildrenEkaterina Kuravlyova (b. 1962)
Vasily Kuravlyov (b. 1978)
Parent(s)Vyacheslav Kuravlyov
Valentina Kuravlyova


Leonid Kuravlyov was born in Moscow into a poor working-class family. His father Vyacheslav Yakovlevich Kuravlyov (1909—1979) worked as a locksmith at the Salyut Machine-Building Association and his mother Valentina Dmitrievna Kuravlyova (1916—1993) was a hairdresser.[2][3] In 1941 with the start of the Great Patriotic War his mother was arrested on false report, accused of counter-revolutionary activity (Article 58) and exiled to Karaganda, Kazakh SSR to work at the local plant.[4] In five years she was freed without a right to live in Moscow and sent to Zasheyek, Murmansk Oblast at the Russian North where she continued working as a hairdresser. In 1948 she managed to get a permission to see her son who spent a year with her at Zasheyek, and in 1951 she finally returned to Moscow.[4][5]

In 1955 Leonid Kuravlyov entered VGIK to study acting under Boris Bibikov. He graduated in 1960 and joined the Theater Studio of Film Actors.[6] He made his first movie appearances while still a student. In 1960 he was noted by Vasily Shukshin and took part in his diploma film From Lebyazhye They Report. In 1961 they both starred in the popular melodrama When the Trees Were Tall, and in 1964 Shukshin gave him the leading role in his comedy movie There Is Such a Lad which brought Kuravlyov true fame and which he considers to be the start of his successful movie career.[2] He also acted in Your Son and Brother (1965) and felt so grateful for what the director did for him that he later named his son after Vasily Shukshin.[7]

The role of Shura Balaganov in Mikhail Shveitser's comedy The Little Golden Calf based on the book by Ilf and Petrov became the next step in his career: he managed to create an unforgettable sparkling image of a naive petty thief. His other notable roles of that period include Khoma Brut in one of the first Soviet horror movies Viy (1967), antagonist Sorokin in a psychological melodrama Not Under the Jurisdiction (1969), Robinson Crusoe in Stanislav Govorukhin's Life and Amazing Adventures of Robinson Crusoe (1972), a Nazi officer Kurt Eismann in Seventeen Moments of Spring (1973) and Lavr Mironovich in Pyotr Todorovsky's The Last Victim (1975).

Since the 1970s he started appearing in three to four films per year. Even though Kuravlyov was adept at playing serious dramatic roles, he is still best known for his leading roles in top-grossing comedy movies such as Afonya (1975) by Georgiy Daneliya (15th highest-grossing Soviet film with 62.2 mln viewers), Leonid Gaidai's Ivan Vasilievich: Back to the Future (1973, 17th highest-grossing film with 60.7 mln viewers) and It Can't Be! (1975, 46th highest-grossing film with 46.9 mln viewers), The Most Charming and Attractive (1985) by Gerald Bezhanov (56th highest-grossing film with 44.9 mln viewers) and others.[8][9]

During the late 1990s he hosted a popular TV programme The World of Books with Leonid Kuravlyov where he talked about new book releases. In two years it was closed and then relaunched with new hosts.[10] In 2012 he was awarded the IV class Order "For Merit to the Fatherland".[11]

In 2014 Kuravlyov along with 100 other Russian members of culture signed an open letter in support of Vladimir Putin's position regarding Ukraine and Crimea.[12]

Kuravlyov is a devoted Christian, member of the Russian Orthodox Church.[13]

Selected filmography


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