He is still called a genius, his portrait hangs in the UK, like a portrait of one of the best Hamlets in the world, his Myshkin has not yet been argued by any artist … at the same time, legends were made about the bad character of Smoktunovsky, but no one refused to work with him.
Kesha was born in the Siberian village of Tatyanovka, which today belongs to the Tomsk region. His real name - Smoktunovich - comes from Belarus. The actor liked to tell that his great-grandfather was a forester in Belovezhskaya Pushcha and once illegally killed a bison, for which his entire family was exiled to Siberia.
In addition to Innokenty, five more children were brought up in the family. A large family had to starve. For a more well-fed life, the Smoktunovichs went to Krasnoyarsk. There, the head of the family managed to get a job in the port as a loader, and my mother had to go to a sausage factory, from where the woman was forced to steal bones with the remains of meat - in order to cook at least some kind of broth for a large family.
In adolescence, Innokenty became interested in theater. He even learned how to skillfully forge tickets in order to go to the productions of the Krasnoyarsk Drama Theater named after Pushkin. The boy soon began to dream of going on stage. I signed up for a drama club and was appreciated … But the grown-up Kesha soon had no time for hobbies: he had to help his parents.
After school, Smoktunovsky entered the medical and obstetric school, trying to get a profession that would feed him. At the same time, he attended projectionist courses: the young man's dream did not let go. And when the studies were coming to an end, tragic news reached Krasnoyarsk - the war began.
Beside Us (1957)
Among the first, the future actor went to the front. Participated in fierce battles and helped in the first-aid post. Later, he will tell his theater friends how he once ended up among the four survivors out of 150 - after a merciless battle, how he was captured, where they fed gruel from the intestines of animals in which their feces remained, how he escaped from captivity during the haul and only chance saved him from a fascist warder who set off in search of a fugitive.
The exhausted soldier was left by a peasant family, to whom he felt deep gratitude and with whom he maintained relations until his death. Having managed to get to his own after the restoration, Smoktunovsky was enrolled in a partisan detachment. This saved him from new camps - now those that were organized for former prisoners in the USSR. When victory was declared in 1945, the military whispered that the Poles would be the first to be demobilized.
And Smoktunovich quickly changed the ending of his last name, and was transferred to one of the Polish detachments, where, according to his recollections, he was considered an idiot - he did not understand commands. In fact, Innokenty Mikhailovich simply did not know the language. However, he was indeed demobilized very soon.
Dreams of doing theatrical activities collapsed when the former prisoner of war was called "unreliable" and banned from living and working in 39 major cities across the country. He began his theatrical career at the Norilsk Polar Theatre, continued at the Russian Drama Theater in Makhachkala and the Stalingrad Gorky Theater. The actor had to wait for rehabilitation and reinstatement in order to get to Moscow.
How he lied to her husband (1956)
When, finally, already an adult man, Smoktunovsky reached the capital to realize his childhood dream, they refused to take him to theaters. Nothing personal, just no place. Only Lenkom, having appreciated the abilities of the talented Innokenty Mikhailovich, could not refuse him. But there was nowhere to take it. I had to accept freelance work on the sidelines.
In parallel with the stage, he first began to appear on the set. But the roles were very small, insignificant. To survive, at first the actor had to sell his things, eat and spend the night with friends. He was saved by a charming artist and make-up artist Sulamith Kushnir. “She raised him and became a wife and mother for life,” they said about the Smoktunovsky-Kushnir couple in Lenkom.
They got married in 1955, a year later they had a daughter who died six months later. In 1957, the couple still managed to acquire offspring - their son Philip was born, who would later become a translator. And eight years later - daughter Maria, who became a successful ballerina. She is now retired and works at the Moscow Art Theater Museum.
Moscow - Cassiopeia (1973)
The first success for Smoktunovsky did not come in Moscow. The talented young man was noticed by Tovstonogov, who had been looking for an actor for the role of Myshkin for several months. An inconspicuous young man was advised to him by someone from the troupe. Seeing Smoktunovsky, Tovstonogov finally stopped looking for an artist and started staging. Smoktunovsky, who organically fit into this image, from the first performance conquered the theatrical audience of St. Petersburg and made a splash among critics.
Theater historians have equated the reviews of critics with Belinsky's articles about Hamlet-Mochalov. It is believed that for the first time since then, the press recorded every step of the actor on stage, gave him the most detailed and flattering descriptions. People from all over the Soviet Union came to the outlandish Myshkin. More than one viewer called the production "the most powerful shock in my life." The audience was subdued, and the name of Innokenty Mikhailovich thundered throughout the country.
However, the director recorded not only a special talent, but also the same out of the ordinary quarrelsomeness, obstinacy of Smoktunovsky's temper. After several years of brilliant work, Tovstonogov's patience could not stand it. The popular artist became in demand in the cinema, and once, due to filming, he was three weeks late for the rehearsal of Woe from Wit. After a conflict with Tovstonogov on this basis, the actor left the BDT. After a while, he said that he got excited and that he dreams of playing Chatsky, but the director did not forgive betrayals.
After a bright appearance in the role of Prince Myshkin, filmmakers flooded Smoktunovsky with offers. Success was his Ilya Kulikov in the film "Nine Days of One Year", a real creative explosion - Hamlet in the film of the same name by Grigory Kozintsev. The portrait from this movie appeared among the photographs of the best Hamlet actors in the UK.
The portrait of the reference "Hamlet" - Laurence Olivier, who embodied the Shakespearean character 14 years earlier, and the portrait of Smoktunovsky now hang side by side. And the famous Briton himself spoke about the work of the Russian actor in the warmest way, admitting that if he were a little older, his heart could not withstand the emotions that he experienced after watching the film. The role was also noted by the British Film Academy, presenting Smoktunovsky with a kind of British Oscar for Best Actor.
Beware of the Car (1966)
The actor also played characters closer to the people: Yuri Detochkin in "Beware of the Car", Acting. in "Moscow-Cassiopeia" and "Youths in the Universe" and many others. But in the theater world they whispered that Innokenty Mikhailovich did not succeed in the roles of ordinary people. In them, he himself becomes an ordinary and not at all memorable actor. Whether it's a classic and strong historical characters: Tchaikovsky, Tsiolkovsky, Franklin Roosevelt, Hamlet, Plyushkin, Porfiry Petrovich, Ivan the Terrible …
His last film was released after his death. Having filmed in Dandelion Wine, Smoktunovsky himself, who by that time had suffered a heart attack, and his friend Armen Dzhigarkhanyan went to a sanatorium near Moscow to recover from difficult work. Smoktunovsky was found in the room. Doctors declared death from the consequences of a heart attack.
Colonel Freeley from Dandelion Wine was voiced by Sergei Bezrukov. The death of the great actor struck the entire now former USSR. People came to the funeral from all over. Smoktunovsky was the first actor who was escorted off his last journey with applause.