Innokenty Mikhaylovich Smoktunovsky (Russian: Иннокентий Михайлович Смоктуновский; born Smoktunovich, 28 March 1925 – 3 August 1994) was a Soviet actor acclaimed as the "king of Soviet actors". He was named People's Artist of the USSR in 1974 and the Hero of Socialist Labour in 1990.
Smoktunovsky in 1943
Innokenty Mikhaylovich Smoktunovich
28 March 1925
|Died||3 August 1994 (aged 69)|
|Resting place||Novodevichy Cemetery, Moscow|
|Title||People's Artist of the USSR (1974)|
Hero of Socialist Labour (1990)
Smoktunovsky was born in a Siberian village in a peasant family of Belarusian ethnicity. It was once rumored that he came from a Polish family, even nobility, but the actor himself disapproved those theories by stating his family was Belarusian and not of nobility. He served in the Red Army during World War II. In 1946, he joined a theatre in Krasnoyarsk, later moving to Moscow. In 1957, he was invited by Georgy Tovstonogov to join the Bolshoi Drama Theatre of Leningrad, where he stunned the public with his dramatic interpretation of Prince Myshkin in Dostoyevsky's The Idiot. One of his best roles was the title role in Aleksey Konstantinovich Tolstoy's Tsar Fyodor Ioannovich (Maly Theatre, 1973).
His career in film was launched by Mikhail Romm's movie Nine Days in One Year (1962). In 1964, he was cast in the role of Hamlet in Grigori Kozintsev's celebrated screen version of Shakespeare's play, which won him praise from Laurence Olivier as well as the Lenin Prize. Many English critics even ranked the Hamlet of Smoktunovsky above the one played by Olivier, at a time when Olivier's was still considered definitive. Smoktunovsky created an integral heroic portrait, which blended together what seemed incompatible before: manly simplicity and exquisite aristocratism, kindness and caustic sarcasm, a derisive mindset and self-sacrifice.
Smoktunovsky became known to wider audiences as Yuri Detochkin in Eldar Ryazanov's detective satire Beware of the Car (1966), which revealed the actor's outstanding comic gifts. Later, he played Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky in Tchaikovsky (1969), Uncle Vanya in Andrei Konchalovsky's screen version of Chekhov's play (1970), the Narrator in Andrei Tarkovsky's The Mirror (1975), an old man in Anatoly Efros's On Thursday and Never Again (1977), and Salieri in Mikhail Schweitzer's Little Tragedies (1979) based on Aleksander Pushkin's plays.
- 1956 Soldiers as Farber
- 1957 Storm as Muromtsev
- 1957 Close to Us as Andrey
- 1959 The Unsent Letter as Konstantin Sabinine
- 1961 Nine Days in One Year as Ilya Kulikov
- 1962 Mozart and Salieri as Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
- 1964 Hamlet as Hamlet
- 1966 Beware of the Car as Yury Detochkin
- 1969 Tchaikovsky as Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky
- 1970 Crime and Punishment as Porfiry Petrovitch
- 1970 Uncle Vanya as Ivan Voinitsky, Uncle Vanya
- 1972 Taming of the Fire as Konstantin Tsiolkovsky
- 1973 Moscow-Cassiopeia as I.O.O. (Special Service Executive)
- 1974 A Lover's Romance as Trumpeter
- 1974 Teens in the Universe as I.O.O. (Special Service Executive)
- 1975 Mirror as Alexei's voice
- 1975 Trust as Nikolay Bobrikov
- 1975 They Fought for Their Country as doctor
- 1979 The Barrier as Antoni Manev
- 1979 Little Tragedies as Antonio Salieri and Old baron
- 1979 Moscow Does Not Believe in Tears сameo appearance
- 1983 Two Under One Umbrella as Till
- 1984 Dead Souls as Plushkin
- 1985 Russia at the Beginning as Justinian I
- 1985 Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde as Dr. Henry Jekyll
- 1986 The Twentieth Century Approaches as Prime Minister Lord Thomas Bellinger
- 1987 Dark Eyes as Modest Petrovich, mayor
- 1988 Gardemarines ahead! as André-Hercule de Fleury
- 1989 Mother as governor
- 1991 Genius as Gilya
- 1993 Gold as Don Diego
- 1993 I Wanna Go to America as writer
- 1994 Enchanted as taster
- 1997 Dandelion Wine as colonel Frehley
- Dubrovsky, V. Ya. (2002) Иннокентий Смоктуновский. Жизнь и роли. B. M. Poyurovsky (ed.), Moscow: Iskusstvo. ISBN 5-210-01434-7.
- Герой Социалистического Труда Смоктуновский Иннокентий Михайлович :: Герои страны. Warheroes.ru. Retrieved on 10 May 2016.
- "I. Smoktunovsky, Russian Actor, 69". The New York Times. 4 August 1994. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 1 February 2016.