Vladimir Zeldin

Last updated

Vladimir Zeldin

Vladimir Zeldin in Kremlin 21 May 2015-1.jpg
Vladimir Mikhailovich Zeldin
Владимир Михайлович Зельдин

10 February [ O.S. 28 January] 1915
Died31 October 2016(2016-10-31) (aged 101)
Moscow, Russia
Years active1927–2016
Awards Orden for Service I.png Full cavalier of the Order "For Merit to the Fatherland"

Vladimir Mikhailovich Zeldin (Russian : Владимир Михайлович Зельдин; 10 February [ O.S. 28 January] 1915 – 31 October 2016) was a Russian theatre and cinema actor. A centenarian, he was among the longest-serving stage performers and continued acting up until his death. [1] [2]

Russian language East Slavic language

Russian is an East Slavic language, which is official in the Russian Federation, Belarus, Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan, as well as being widely used throughout Eastern Europe, the Baltic states, the Caucasus and Central Asia. It was the de facto language of the Soviet Union until its dissolution on 25 December 1991. Although nearly three decades have passed since the breakup of the Soviet Union, Russian is used in official capacity or in public life in all the post-Soviet nation-states, as well as in Israel and Mongolia.

Old Style and New Style dates 16th-century changes in calendar conventions

Old Style (O.S.) and New Style (N.S.) are terms sometimes used with dates to indicate that the calendar convention used at the time described is different from that in use at the time the document was being written. There were two calendar changes in Great Britain and its colonies, which may sometimes complicate matters: the first was to change the start of the year from Lady Day to 1 January; the second was to discard the Julian calendar in favour of the Gregorian calendar. Closely related is the custom of dual dating, where writers gave two consecutive years to reflect differences in the starting date of the year, or to include both the Julian and Gregorian dates.

Theatre Collaborative form of performing art

Theatre or theater is a collaborative form of fine art that uses live performers, typically actors or actresses, to present the experience of a real or imagined event before a live audience in a specific place, often a stage. The performers may communicate this experience to the audience through combinations of gesture, speech, song, music, and dance. Elements of art, such as painted scenery and stagecraft such as lighting are used to enhance the physicality, presence and immediacy of the experience. The specific place of the performance is also named by the word "theatre" as derived from the Ancient Greek θέατρον, itself from θεάομαι.


Early life

Zeldin was born in the town of Kozlov (now Michurinsk, Tambov Oblast of Russia), the youngest of five children. With the start of the Russian Civil War the family moved to their relatives in Tver. His mother Anna Nikolaevna Zeldina (née Popova, 1884—1931) was a native Russian teacher turned a housewife. His father Mikhail Evgenievich Zeldin (1876—1928) was a musician of Jewish origin who converted to Russian Orthodoxy in order to enter the Moscow Conservatory; he served as a kapellmeister in the Imperial Russian Army concert band and as the head of the Kozlov and Tver music schools after the October Revolution. Vladimir himself was raised in the Russian Orthodox traditions and associated himself with Russian culture. [3] [4]

Kozlov or Kozlova is a Russian surname. It is derived from the sobriquet "козёл" ("goat"). Notable people with the surname include:

Michurinsk Town in Tambov Oblast, Russia

Michurinsk is the second most populous town in Tambov Oblast, Russia. Population: 98,758 (2010 Census); 96,093 (2002 Census); 109,081 (1989 Census).

Tambov Oblast First-level administrative division of Russia

Tambov Oblast is a federal subject of Russia. Its administrative center is the city of Tambov. As of the 2010 Census, its population was 1,091,994.

In 1924 the family moved to Moscow. Zeldin continued studying at the secondary school. He also learned to play trumpet, piano and violin, and at the age of 12 tried to enter The Bolshoi Theatre Ballet School. According to Zeldin, his father wished him a better career and was highly against this decision, so he did everything to prevent his son from entering the school. [4] For several years Vladimir played trumpet in the military band under the Joint State Political Directorate led by his father's friend Feodor Nikolaevsky. In 1935 he graduated from the theatre college at the Mossovet Theatre where he studied under Evgeny Lepkovsky and became its actor.

Moscow Capital city of Russia

Moscow is the capital and most populous city of Russia, with 13.2 million residents within the city limits, 17 million within the urban area and 20 million within the metropolitan area. Moscow is one of Russia's federal cities.

The Moscow State Academy of Choreography (Russian: Московская государственная академия хореографии, commonly known as The Bolshoi Ballet Academy, is one of the oldest and most prestigious schools of ballet in the world, located in Moscow, Russia. It is the affiliate school of the Bolshoi Ballet.

The Joint State Political Directorate was the secret police of the Soviet Union from 1923 to 1934. Its official name was "Joint State Political Directorate under the Council of People's Commissars of the USSR" , Obyedinyonnoye gosudarstvennoye politicheskoye upravleniye pri SNK SSSR, or ОГПУ (OGPU).


In 1938 Zeldin moved to the Moscow Transport Theatre (modern-day Gogol Center) where he performed as Antipholus of Syracuse in The Comedy of Errors and Ferdinand in Intrigue and Love , among other roles.

The Gogol Center, Russia’s leading avant-garde theater is a multi-use arts complex in Moscow, featuring movies, music concerts, a discussion club, and performances by Russian and foreign directors on several stages. The Center is noted for its stagings of contemporary Russian Dramas and a lobby featuring neon-lit mirrors shaped like famous directors. and as part of recent news related to Russian State censorship of the arts.

<i>The Comedy of Errors</i> play by William Shakespeare

The Comedy of Errors is one of William Shakespeare's early plays. It is his shortest and one of his most farcical comedies, with a major part of the humour coming from slapstick and mistaken identity, in addition to puns and word play. The Comedy of Errors is, along with The Tempest, one of only two Shakespearean plays to observe the Aristotelian principle of unity of time—that is, that the events of a play should occur over 24 hours. It has been adapted for opera, stage, screen and musical theatre numerous times worldwide. In the centuries following its premiere, the play's title has entered the popular English lexicon as an idiom for "an event or series of events made ridiculous by the number of errors that were made throughout".

<i>Intrigue and Love</i> 1784 play by Friedrich Schiller

Intrigue and Love, sometimes Love and Intrigue, Love and Politics or Luise Miller is a five-act play written by the German dramatist Friedrich Schiller (1759–1805). It was his third play. It shows how cabals and their intrigue destroy the love between Ferdinand von Walter, a nobleman's son, and Luise Miller, daughter of a middle-class musician.

Zeldin became an all-Union celebrity in 1941 starring in the leading role in the musical comedy They Met in Moscow by Ivan Pyryev. His other famous movie works include Boris Olenich in Ballad of Siberia (1947), Aldemaro in Dance Teacher (1952), a clown in Carnival Night (1956), Aleksandr Vladimirovich Serebryakov in Uncle Vanya (1970), Judge in And Then There Were None (1987) and grandfather in Cops and Robbers (1997), a remake of the Italian comedy of the same name.

<i>They Met in Moscow</i> 1941 film by Ivan Pyryev

They Met in Moscow is a 1941 Soviet musical-comedy film directed by Ivan Pyryev.

Ivan Pyryev Soviet film director and screenwriter

Ivan Aleksandrovich Pyryev was a Soviet-Russian film director and screenwriter remembered as the high priest of Stalinist cinema. He was awarded six Stalin Prizes, served as Director of the Mosfilm studios (1954–57) and was, for a time, the most influential man in the Soviet motion picture industry.

<i>Ballad of Siberia</i> 1947 film by Ivan Pyryev

The Ballad of Siberia, also known as Symphony of Life, produced by Mosfilm and released in 1948, was the Soviet Union's second color film. It was directed by Ivan Pyryev and starred Vladimir Druzhnikov and Marina Ladynina.

During the Battle of Moscow he and other actors were evacuated to Almaty where he played in the Alma-Ata Russian Drama Theatre. He also visited the frontline to perform for soldiers and was awarded the Medal "For Valiant Labour in the Great Patriotic War 1941–1945" after the war. [3] [4]

Battle of Moscow periods of strategically significant fighting on a 600 km (370 mi) sector of the Eastern Front during World War II

The Battle of Moscow was a military campaign that consisted of two periods of strategically significant fighting on a 600 km (370 mi) sector of the Eastern Front during World War II. It took place between October 1941 and January 1942. The Soviet defensive effort frustrated Hitler's attack on Moscow, the capital and largest city of the Soviet Union. Moscow was one of the primary military and political objectives for Axis forces in their invasion of the Soviet Union.

Almaty City in Kazakhstan

Almaty, formerly known as Alma-Ata and Verniy, is the largest city in Kazakhstan, with a population of 1,801,713 people, about 8% of the country's total population and more than 2 million in its built-up area that encompasses Talgar, Boraldai, Otegen Batyr and many other suburbs. It served as capital of the Kazakh state in its various forms from 1929 to 1997, under the influence of the then Soviet Union and its appointees. In 1997, the government relocated the capital to Astana in the north of the country and about 12 hours away by train.

Medal "For Valiant Labour in the Great Patriotic War 1941–1945" World War II civilian labour award of the Soviet Union

The Medal "For Valiant Labour in the Great Patriotic War 1941–1945" was a World War II civilian labour award of the Soviet Union established on June 6, 1945 by decree of the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet of the USSR to recognise the valiant and selfless labour of Soviet citizens in the Soviet Union's victory over Nazi Germany in the Great Patriotic War. Its statute was later amended by decree of the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet of the USSR on July 18, 1980.

From 1945 to his death Zeldin performed in the Russian Army Theatre. His most famous role was Aldemaro in The Dancing Master play by Lope de Vega. Other popular roles include Tranio in The Taming of the Shrew , Aleksandr Vladimirovich Serebryakov in Uncle Vanya , Albert Gregor in The Makropulos Affair , Frank Gardner in Mrs. Warren's Profession and others. The Most Honest, a satirical play about an elderly Baron Munchausen, was written by Grigory Gorin on Zeldin's suggestion and with him in mind. It was an enormous success and was later adapted by Mark Zakharov into a TV movie The Very Same Munchhausen with Oleg Yankovsky in the lead. [5]

On February 2005 Zeldin celebrated his 90th birthday by performing in the new musical Man of La Mancha (which premiered in December 2004) where he starred both as Don Quixote and Miguel de Cervantes. The role of Don Quixote quickly became his signature role and he closely associated himself with the character. [3] [4] [6]

He celebrated his 101st birthday on stage by performing the leading role in the play Dance with the Master (loosely based on The Dancing Master) and written specially for him. According to the director Yuli Gusman, a total of 200 performances of Man of La Mancha and Dance with the Master were staged during Zeldin's lifetime. Man of La Mancha was last shown just a month prior to the actor's death. Due to a recent hip fracture, he had to perform with a walking stick. [7] [8]

Late years

Zeldin was, as of 2014, the oldest living People's Artist of the USSR. He turned 101 in 2016. [9]

On June 2005 his signature appeared under the open letter by "members of culture, science and public representatives" published in Izvestia where they supposedly expressed support to the court decision concerning the former Yukos management. However, a number of singnatories, including Zeldin, denied their involvement. [10]

On October 2013 at the age of 98 he took part in the 2014 Winter Olympics torch relay, becoming the oldest torchbearer in history. [11] [12]

Vladimir Zeldin died on 31 October 2016 and was buried at the Novodevichy cemetery in Moscow. He was survived by his third wife Ivetta Evgenievna Kapralova-Zeldina (1933—2017) who died just two months after her husband and was buried near him. They lived together for 52 years. [2] [13]

Vladimir Zeldin´s only son (from his first civil wife Lyudmila Martynova) died of a gastric infection at the age of 18 months in 1941. Zeldin took care of his grave until his death.

Honours and awards

Selected filmography

Related Research Articles

<i>Man of La Mancha</i> musical

Man of La Mancha is a 1965 musical with a book by Dale Wasserman, lyrics by Joe Darion, and music by Mitch Leigh. It is adapted from Wasserman's non-musical 1959 teleplay I, Don Quixote, which was in turn inspired by Miguel de Cervantes and his 17th-century novel Don Quixote. It tells the story of the "mad" knight Don Quixote as a play within a play, performed by Cervantes and his fellow prisoners as he awaits a hearing with the Spanish Inquisition. The work is not and does not pretend to be a faithful rendition of either Cervantes' life or Don Quixote. Wasserman complained repeatedly about people taking the work as a musical version of Don Quixote.

<i>Uncle Vanya</i> play by Anton Chekhov

Uncle Vanya is a play by the Russian playwright Anton Chekhov. It was first published in 1898 and received its Moscow première in 1899 in a production by the Moscow Art Theatre, under the direction of Konstantin Stanislavski.

Peoples Artist of Russia Russian performing arts award

People's Artist of the Russian Federation, also sometimes translated as National Artist of the Russian Federation, is an honorary and the highest title awarded to citizens of the Russian Federation, all outstanding in the performing arts, whose merits are exceptional in the sphere of the development of the performing arts.

Anatoli Papanov Soviet actor

Anatoli Dmitrievich Papanov was a Soviet stage, film and voice actor, drama teacher, and theatre director at the Moscow Satire Theatre where he served for almost 40 years. A prominent character actor, Papanov is mostly remembered for his comedy roles in a duo with his friend Andrei Mironov, although he had many dramatic roles as well. As a voice actor he contributed to over hundred cartoons. He was named People's Artist of the USSR in 1973 and awarded the USSR State Prize posthumously.

Nikolay Annenkov Soviet and Russian actor

Nikolay Aleksandrovich Annenkov was the longest-lived People's Artist of the USSR before Igor Moiseyev and Vladimir Zeldin.

<i>Don Quixote</i> (ballet) ballet

Don Quixote is a ballet in four acts and eight scenes, based on episodes taken from the famous novel Don Quixote de la Mancha by Miguel de Cervantes. It was originally choreographed by Marius Petipa to the music of Ludwig Minkus and first presented by the Ballet of the Imperial Bolshoi Theatre of Moscow, Russia on 26 December [O.S. 14 December] 1869. Petipa and Minkus revised the ballet into a far more expanded and elaborated edition in five acts and eleven scenes for the Imperial Ballet, first presented on 21 November [O.S. 9 November] 1871 at the Imperial Bolshoi Kamenny Theatre of St. Petersburg.

Yevgeny Samoylov Soviet and Russian actor

Yevgeny Valerianovich Samoilov 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.

Oleg Basilashvili Russian actor

Oleg Basilashvili is a well-known Soviet/Russian film and theatre actor, as well as political figure in the former Soviet Union and in the new Russia.

Mark Zakharov Russian theatre director

Mark Anatolyevich Zakharov is a Soviet and Russian theater and film director and playwright, best known for his Soviet-era fantasy parable films and for his productions of plays at Moscow's Lenkom Theatre. He was also a professor of the Moscow Theatre Institute (GITIS).

Igor Kvasha Russian actor

Igor Vladimirovich Kvasha was a Soviet and Russian theater and film actor. He was a leading actor of Sovremennik Theater. Igor Kvasha was one of the Sovremennik founders along with Galina Volchek, Oleg Yefremov, Yevgeniy Yevstigneyev and Oleg Tabakov. He was honored with People's Artist of Russia in 1978.

Aleksandr Leonidovich Vishnevsky Russian actor

Aleksandr Vishnevsky was a Russian actor and one of the founding members of the Moscow Art Theatre.

Olga Lepeshinskaya (dancer) Soviet ballerina

Olga Vasiliyevna Lepeshinskaya was a Soviet ballerina. She was named a People's Artist of the USSR in 1951.

<i>Uncle Vanya</i> (1970 film) 1970 film by Andrei Konchalovsky

Uncle Vanya is a 1970 film adaptation of the Anton Chekhov play of the same title and directed by Andrey Konchalovskiy.

Aleksandr Filippenko Soviet and Russian actor

Aleksander Georgievich Filippenko PAR is a famous Soviet and Russian actor. Filippenko was honored with People's Artist of Russia in 2000.

Aleksey Nikolayevich Yermolayev was a Soviet ballet dancer, choreographer, and teacher. He played an important role in the development of Russian ballet between 1950 and 1975, and he was considered an outstanding actor.

Davis Gaines is a stage actor.

Aleksei Serebryakov (actor) Russian actor

Aleksei Valeryevich Serebryakov, PAR, HOR is a Soviet, Russian and Canadian stage performer and film actor. He started acting at 13, and now he is one of the most popular and highly paid Russian actors.

Mikhail Yanshin Soviet actor

Mikhail Mikhailovich Yanshin was a Soviet stage and film actor.

Yuliana Malkhasyants is a Russian choreographer and a recipient of the Medal of the Order "For Merit to the Fatherland" 2nd class as well as Honored Artist of Russia.

Vasily Luzhsky Russian actor and theatre director (1869-1931)

Vasily Vasilyevich Luzhsky was a Russian, Soviet stage actor, theatre director and pedagogue, associated with the Moscow Art Theatre.


  1. "Vladimir Zeldin". The New York Times .
  2. 1 2 Walker, Shaun (31 October 2016). "World's oldest actor Vladimir Zeldin dies aged 101". The Guardian . Retrieved 18 January 2019.
  3. 1 2 3 Vladimir Zeldin (2013). My Profession: Don Quixote. — Moscow: AST-Press, pp. 9, 17—23, 117 ISBN   978-5-462-01024-8
  4. 1 2 3 4 Interview with Dmitry Gordon, 3 July 2002 (in Russian)
  5. The very same Munchhausen: Excerpts from the new biography of the German Baron article at KinoPoisk, 11 February 2018 (in Russian)
  6. Man of La Mancha at the official Russian Army Theatre website (in Russian)
  7. Dance with the Master at the official Russian Army Theatre website (in Russian)
  8. Interview with Yuli Gusman at Moskovskij Komsomolets, 31 October 2016 (in Russian)
  9. Рыцарь образа: 100 лет Владимиру Зельдину (in Russian). TASS. 10 February 2015. Retrieved 10 February 2015.
  10. How can I accuse or excuse someone by signing a document if I don't know the full picture? I'm neither pro nor against. I only know that everyone should pay taxes, but the court decision is not within my competence. I couldn't sign any letter. On why I signed it interviews at Novaya Gazeta , 30 June 2005 (in Russian)
  11. Nick Zaccardi. Sochi Olympic torch relay: by the numbers at NBC Sports, 7 October 2013
  12. World’s oldest working actor Vladimir Zeldin dies at 101 postmortem by Hollywood.com
  13. Vladimir Zeldin's tomb