Frunzik Mkrtchyan

Mher Mkrtchyan (Armenian: Մհեր Մկրտչյան), better known by the name Frunzik (Armenian: Ֆրունզիկ; Russian: Фрунзик; 4 July 1930 – 29 December 1993), was an Armenian stage and film actor. Mkrtchyan is widely considered as one of the greatest actors of the Soviet period among Armenians and the USSR as a whole, as evidenced by his victory of the prestigious People's Artist of the USSR award in 1984.[1][2]

Frunzik Mkrtchyan

2005 Armenian stamp dedicated to Mkrtchyan
Born(1930-07-04)4 July 1930
Died29 December 1993(1993-12-29) (aged 63)
Resting placeKomitas Pantheon
Years active1945–1993
RelativesAlbert Mkrtchyan
Mher Mkrtchyan.png



Mher "Frunzik" Mkrtchyan was born in Leninakan (present day Gyumri) to father Mushegh Mkrtchyan and mother Sanam Mkrtchyan, both of whom were orphaned survivors of the Armenian Genocide. Mushegh Mkrtchyan fled to Gyumri from Mush, while Sanam escaped the genocide from Van.[3] His parents met while they were working in a local Leninakan textile factory that was created in the 1930s, with Mushegh later going on to work as a bricklayer and Sanam as a dish washer.[4]

After marriage, Mushegh and Sanam had their first child, Mher Mkrtchyan, who would be the eldest of their four children; one brother in 1941, Albert Mkrtchyan (who would later become a film director) and two sisters, Clara born in 1934 and Ruzanna born in 1943. Mher's nickname, Frunzik, was given to him in honor of Soviet general Mikhail Frunze. Growing up, Mher took an interest in the arts, and attended the local art and music school.[5] As a child, he would put on informal shows for people living in the neighborhood. Frunzik's father praised his acting talent, but pressured his son to pursue a painting career.[6]

During this post World War II time period of Mkrtchyan's life, poverty and hunger was a commonality. As such, his father stole cotton from the textile factory to sell in the blackmarket for extra income to feed his children. Mushegh was arrested and given 10 years of hard labor cutting trees in Nizhny Tagil, Sverdlovsk Oblast, Russia. Thus, Frunzik and his siblings grew up with their mother, Sanam, who is attributed to giving the actor his sense of humor.[7] At the age of 17, he began to study and partake in at the Leninakan Askanaz Mravyan Theatre Group, his first formal experience acting in theatre.[8]

Early adulthood and start of acting careerEdit

In 1953, Mkrtchyan left Gyumri to further his education in Yerevan at the Yerevan State Institute of Theater and Arts.[9] Following that experience, Frunzik became part of the Sundukyan Academic Theater troupe in 1956, after being scouted by director of the theatre troupe Vardan Ajemian in 1955.[10] In that same year, Mkrtchyan had his first film debut with a role in the film In Search of an Addressee It was also during this time period, at the age of 28, Mher Mkrtchyan met and fell in love with his future wife, the 18 year old Donara Pilosyan, also an actress.[11] Following that experience, he was given parts in Armenian and Russian films that were to become iconic, such as Why is the River Noisy in 1959 and Kidnapping, Caucasian Style and Aybolit-66 in 1966. These movies earned him a reputation as a comedic actor, though he was known as a more serious actor from years of acting in theatre.[12]

Film careerEdit

2013 Armenian post card dedicated to Mkrtchyan and his roles

From the late 1960s and on, Frunzik Mkrtchyan starred in films that would later on become classics of Armenian and Soviet cinema, such as Yerankyuni ("Triangle") (1967), Menq enq, mer sarere ("We and Our Mountains") (1969), Mimino ("Hawk") (1977), Hayrik ("Father") (1973), Nahapet ("Patriarch") (1977), Ktor muh Yerkinq ("A Piece of Sky") (1980), Hin oreri yerge ("The Song of the Old Days") (1982), Mer mankutyan tangon ("The Tango of Our Childhood") (1985). There are noticeable parallels between Frunzik's life and the roles he played in films, most notably with The Tango of Our Childhood. The film, written and directed by his brother Albert, takes place in Leninakan, his city of birth.[13] Beyond that, the plot of the movie involves a father-son conflict over the soon choosing to be an actor, which closely resembles Mkrtchyan's own personal conflict with his family.[14] At the end of the film, the father is arrested and sent to labor camp, similar to the fate of Mkrktchyan's own father.[15]

Personal lifeEdit

Frunzik was initially romantically involved a classmate of his, Knar, but was rejected by her family and thus the pair never married.[16] Mkrtchyan's first wife was Donara Pilosyan, and together they had a daughter, Nune, and a son, Vahagn. The couple played in a number of films together, notably Kidnapping, Caucasian Style and Khatabala.[17][18] The marriage was initially a happy one, but Donara was diagnosed with schizophrenia and eventually sent to a mental institution for treatment.[19] Mkrtchyan became a single parent of two young children. Frunzik became immensely depressed by the illness of wife and his son Vahagn's subsequent inheritance of his mother's mental illness. Both Donara and Vahagn eventually went to France for treatment.[20] Mher Mkrtchyan married again in 1988 with Tamar Hovannisyan. At this point in his life, he was suffering from alcohol abuse, which many attribute to the difficulties of his personal life.[21]


It is said by family members that during his last days, Frunzik Mkrtchyan was depressed by the illness of his son and death of a close friend and actor Azat Sherentsi .[22] His daughter Nune stated that her father predicted he would die soon, and came to have a conversation with her about how he saw the reaction to his death being perceived.[23] On 29 December 1993 Frunzik Mkrtchyan died in Yerevan, Armenia.[24] When he died in 1993, thousands of people attended the funeral and burial of their beloved actor at the Komitas Pantheon, located in the center of Yerevan.[25]


Mher Mkrtchyan received multiple awards during his lifetime for his major contributions to film. He was awarded the People's Artist of the Armenian SSR in 1971 and Armenian SSR State Prize in 1978.[26] Following that, Mkrtchyan won the People's Artist of the USSR in 1984, an honor bestowed on only 12 artists in the entire Soviet Union that year.[27][28]

Selected filmographyEdit

  • Hastseatiroj voronumnere (1955) - (uncredited)
  • Patvi hamar (1956) - Vardan
  • 01-99 (1959, Short) - Garsevan
  • Inchu e aghmkum gete (1959) - Khachik (uncredited)
  • Fellows From a Music Group (1960) - Arsen
  • The Master and the Servant (1963, Short) - Simon
  • Thirty Three (1965) - professor Bruk
  • Iyirmialtilar (1966) - usatyy Gochi
  • The Formula of Rainbow (1966) - Kaburyan
  • From the Times of Hunger (1966)
  • Kidnapping, Caucasian Style (1967) - Dzhabrail
  • Aybolit-66 (1967) - Pirate #2
  • Triangle (1967) - Gaspar
  • Don't Grieve (1968) - Stranger in prison
  • Belyy royal (1968)
  • An Explosion After Midnight (1969) - Mukhtashev
  • We and Our Mountains (1969) - Ishkhan
  • Adam and Eve (1970)
  • Photography (1970)
  • Khatabala (1971) - Isai
  • Men (1972)
  • Monument (1972)
  • Hayrik (1973) - Hovsep (Hayrik)
  • Adventures of Mher on Vacation (1973) - Suren
  • Baghdasar Divorces His Wife (1977) - Baghdasar
  • Mimino (1977) - Ruben 'Rubik' Khachikyan
  • Nahapet (1977) - Apro
  • Stone Valley (1977) - Sandro
  • Soldier and Elephant (1978) - Armenak
  • Fuss of the Fusses (1979) - Boris Ivanovich
  • Oh, Gevorg (1979)
  • Alibaba Aur 40 Chor (1980) - Mustafa
  • A Piece of Sky (1980) - Grigor-agha
  • Tbilisi, Parizi, Tbilisi (1980)
  • The Big Win (1980) - Garnik
  • A Humble Man (1981)
  • Pered zakrytoy dveryu (1982) - Vartan
  • Song of the Old Days (1982) - Nikol
  • Offered for Singles (1984) - Vartan - zhenikh Niny
  • The Fire (1984) - Ruben
  • Sohni Mahiwal (1984) - Warrior
  • The Tango of Our Childhood (1985) - Ruben
  • On the Bottom (1987)
  • Tchanaparh depi Sasuntsi Davit (1988) - Vardan
  • Dykhanie (1989) - (final film role)



  1. ^ IMBD
  2. ^ Akopian, Aram (2001). Armenians and the World: Yesterday and Today. Yerevan: Noyan Tapan. p. 105. ISBN 9789993051299. Concluding this chapter, I would like to say a few words about the greatest Armenian actor of the second half of the 20th century Frunzik Mkrtchian...
  3. ^ Հովհաննես Պապիկյան, Շուշանիկ Սահակյան։ Լույս ... Մհեր Մկրտչյան 80. Yerevan 2010. ISBN 978-9939537894
  4. ^ Ռուբեն Գասպարյան :Տխուր եւ ուրախ Մարդը. Gyumri 2005. IBSN 32044098022569
  5. ^ Հովհաննես Պապիկյան, Շուշանիկ Սահակյան։ Լույս ... Մհեր Մկրտչյան 80. Yerevan 2010. ISBN 978-9939537894 .
  6. ^ Հովհաննես Պապիկյան, Շուշանիկ Սահակյան։ Լույս ... Մհեր Մկրտչյան 80. Yerevan 2010. ISBN 978-9939537894 .
  7. ^ Ռուբեն Գասպարյան :Տխուր եւ ուրախ Մարդը. Gyumri 2005. IBSN 32044098022569
  8. ^
  9. ^ Հովհաննես Պապիկյան, Շուշանիկ Սահակյան։ Լույս ... Մհեր Մկրտչյան 80. Yerevan 2010. ISBN 978-9939537894
  10. ^ "Frunzik Mkrtchyan: Life on Tape" on YouTube
  11. ^ "Frunzik Mkrtchyan: Life on Tape" on YouTube
  12. ^ "Frunzik Mkrtchyan: Life on Tape" on YouTube
  13. ^ "Մեր մանկության տանգոն" on YouTube
  14. ^ "Մեր մանկության տանգոն" on YouTube
  15. ^ "Մեր մանկության տանգոն" on YouTube
  16. ^ "Frunzik Mkrtchyan". Сайт памяти Мгера (Фрунзика) Мкртчяна. Retrieved 6 April 2018.
  17. ^ "Родовое проклятие Фрунзика Мкртчяна". Вокруг ТВ. Retrieved 6 April 2018.
  18. ^ "Khatabala". IMBD. Retrieved 6 April 2018.
  19. ^ "Скончалась Донара Мктрчян, актриса и вдова актера Фрунзика Мкртчяна". Россия сегодня. Retrieved 6 April 2018.
  20. ^ Ռուբեն Գասպարյան :Տխուր եւ ուրախ Մարդը. Gyumri 2005. IBSN 32044098022569
  21. ^ "Mher Mkrtchyan "returns"". Aravot. Retrieved 6 April 2018.
  22. ^ "Frunzik Mkrtchyan: Life on Tape" on YouTube
  23. ^ "Frunzik Mkrtchyan: Life on Tape" on YouTube
  24. ^ Ռուբեն Գասպարյան :Տխուր եւ ուրախ Մարդը. Gyumri 2005. IBSN 32044098022569
  25. ^ Mkrtchyan's memorial tombstone at Komitas Pantheon.
  26. ^ "Frunzik Mkrtchyan". Сайт памяти Мгера (Фрунзика) Мкртчяна. Retrieved 6 April 2018.
  27. ^ "Frunzik Mkrtchyan". Сайт памяти Мгера (Фрунзика) Мкртчяна. Retrieved 6 April 2018.
  28. ^ "People's Artist of the USSR 1984 Awards". IMBD. Retrieved 6 April 2018.
  29. ^ "Mher Mkrtchyan". Retrieved 2 January 2020.


  • Հովհաննես Պապիկյան, Շուշանիկ Սահակյան։ Լույս ... Մհեր Մկրտչյան 80. Yerevan 2010. ISBN 978-9939537894

External linksEdit