Mark Zakharov

Mark Anatolyevich Zakharov (Russian: Марк Анатольевич Захаров; 13 October 1933 – 28 September 2019[1]) was a Soviet and Russian stage and film director, screenwriter and pedagogue best known for his fantasy parable movies. He was named People's Artist of the USSR in 1991.

Mark Zakharov
Mark Zakharov in 2014
Mark Anatolyevich Zakharov

(1933-10-13)13 October 1933
Died28 September 2019(2019-09-28) (aged 85)
Occupationtheatre director, film director
Years active1955—2019
TitlePeople's Artist of the USSR (1991)
Spouse(s)Nina Lapshinova

Zakharov served as the artistic director at the Lenkom Theatre from 1973 till his death. He gathered a "dream team" of actors and reestablished Lenkom as one of the leading Soviet theatres.[2]

Life and career

Mark Zakharov was born in Moscow into a family of teachers. His paternal grandfather belonged to Russian nobility and was killed in action during the World War I, while his paternal grandmother belonged to Crimean Karaites.[3] His father Anatoly Zakharov served as a Red Army soldier during the Russian Civil War, then worked as a school teacher in physical culture before being arrested in 1934 for counter-revolutionary activity and sentenced to three years in prison; he took part in the Great Patriotic War and in 1949 was expelled from Moscow again for several years as "previously convicted".[3][4]

Zakharov's mother Galina Sergeevna Zakharova (née Bardina) was a trained actress who led children's acting classes.[4] His maternal grandfather Sergei Nikolaevich Bardin was a White officer who fought under Alexander Kolchak before leaving for Australia; his wife Sophia Nikolaevna Bardina chose to stay in Russia and headed an orphanage. As Zakharov himself wrote, "[I] always considered myself Russian, even though my father admitted that we also had Tatar blood.[3]

Zakharov was raised in Moscow, where he was encouraged by his mother in his persistent efforts to become an actor. He was admitted after several attempts, and graduated from the acting school of the State Theatre Institute in 1955.

Zakharov was the Artistic Director of Moscow's Lenkom Theatre since 1973, where he helped to define the landscape of Moscow's theatrical culture. Zakharov helped create an ensemble of actors who worked with him at Lenkom, including: Yevgeny Leonov, Inna Churikova, Leonid Bronevoy, Oleg Yankovsky, Aleksandr Abdulov, Nikolai Karachentsov, Tatyana Pelttser, Aleksandr Zbruyev, Aleksandra Zakharova, Tatyana Kravchenko, Aleksandr Lazarev, and Dmitry Pevtsov.

His name appeared on a petition opposing Russian annexation of Crimea, however, he himself denied ever signing it. He stated in an interview that he opposed Russian soldiers being deployed to Ukraine as it reminded him the start of the Afghanistan conflict, however, he also couldn't imagine Russia without Crimea.[5] He also stated that had he been offered to sign a letter supporting the annexation, he would've signed it.[6]

Mark Zakharov died in Moscow on 28 September 2019, 15 days before his 86th birthday.[2] He was buried at the Novodevichy Cemetery near Stanislav Govorukhin, Leonid Bronevoy and Oleg Tabakov.[7]

Musical productions


Honours and awards

See also


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