Valentin Gaft

Valentin Iosifovich Gaft (Russian: Валенти́н Ио́сифович Гафт; 2 September 1935 – 12 December 2020) was a Soviet and Russian actor. He was People's Artist of the RSFSR (1984).[2][3]

Valentin Gaft
Valentin Gaft (, cropped) 01.jpg
Valentin Iosifovich Gaft

2 September 1935
Died12 December 2020 (aged 85)[1]
Years active1956–2020
AwardsOrder of Friendship
Orden of Friendship.png (1995)
Автограф Гафта.png


Early life and educationEdit

Gaft was born in Moscow to Jewish parents Iosif Romanovich Gaft (1907–1969), a lawyer, and Gita Davydovna Gaft (1908–1993). The family moved to Moscow from Poltava, Ukraine.[4] During World War II Iosif Gaft served in the Red Army finishing with the rank of Major.[5]

Gaft took a great interest in theater while in school and took part in the school theater amateur performance.[2] He graduated from the School-Studio at the Moscow Art Theatre (1953–1957). Among the students of the same course were future popular actors Oleg Tabakov and Maya Menglet.


Gaft in a theatrical play

After graduating Gaft worked for a number of theaters including the Mossovet Theatre, Lenkom Theatre (under famous director Anatoly Efros) and Theater of Satire. In 1969 he started to work for the Sovremennik Theatre and worked there until 2019.[6]


Gaft started his work for the cinema in 1956 in the Mikhail Romm's film Murder on Dante Street.[7]

Later he starred in the movies The First Courier (1968), Mad Gold (1977), Centaurs (1979), Black Hen, or Underground Villagers (1981), Fuete (1986). Prominent roles were played by Gaft in the musical comedy The Sorceress (1982), the tragicomedy Through Main Street with an Orchestra (1986), the action film Thieves in Law (1988), The Visit of the Lady (1989), Night Fun (1991), Encore, Once More Encore! (1992).[2]

In 1994, Gaft played Woland in Yuri Kara's film The Master and Margarita, which was only released in 2011.[2]

However, the real popularity came to Gaft only after cooperation with Eldar Ryazanov. In 1979, he played the chairman of the garage cooperative Sidorkin in the comedy The Garage, in 1980, starred in the tragicomedy Say a Word for the Poor Hussar, in 1987, starred in the movie Forgotten Melody for a Flute, and in 1991 in the film Promised Heaven.[2]

In addition to theater and cinema, Gaft played many roles on television – the main character in the television series based on Thomas Mann's novel Buddenbrooks, Lopatin in Lopatin's Notes, Jasper in the four-part film Edin Druid's Secret, Kramin in the television movie For the Rest of His Life, Prince Borescu in the television show The Archipelago Lenoir, The Kid in Kings and Cabbage, Butler in the television film Hello, I'm Your Aunt! and others. Teleplays with Gaft's participation included Just a few words in honor of M. de Moliere, Widow's Home, Players, Aesop, and Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?[2]

Personal lifeEdit

Gaft was married to the actress Olga Ostroumova from 1996 until his death.[8] He was the author of sharp and popular epigrams against many theatrical and movie figures.[9] In the 2013 film Yolki 3, he read some of his own poetry.[10]

Gaft converted to Orthodox Christianity in 1990; his wife persuaded him to get baptized.[11]

In 2016, Gaft was banned from entering Ukraine, for "statements contradicted the interests of our national security".[12]

Gaft died on 12 December 2020 in Moscow at the age of 85.[13]

Selected filmographyEdit

  • Murder on Dante Street (1956) as Marsel Ruzhe
  • Poet (1957) as French soldier
  • Oleko Dundich (1958)
  • Normandie - Niémen (1960) as Mille
  • Russian Souvenir (1960) as Claude Gerard, French composer
  • My, russkiy narod (1966)
  • O lyubvi (1966) as Nikolai
  • Dva goda nad propastyu (1966) as Standartenfuehrer Grause
  • Parviyat kurier (1968) as Fon Getsberg
  • Intervention (1968) as Dlinnyy
  • Novenkaya (1969) as Konstantin Barantsev trener
  • Zhdi menya, Anna (1969)
  • Family Happiness (1970) as Salesman
  • Koroli i kapusta (1970)
  • Udivitelnyy malchik (1971) as Doctor Kapa
  • Doroga na Ryubetsal (1971) as Apanasenko
  • Noch na 14-y paralleli (1971) as Journalist Stepanov
  • Chelovek s drugoy storony (1972) as Andrey Izvolskiy
  • Razreshite vzlyot! (1972) as Viktor Azancheyev
  • That Sweet Word: Liberty! (Это сладкое слово — свобода!, 1973) as Miguel Carrera (voice)
  • Moscow, My Love (Москва, любовь моя, 1974) as choreographer
  • Zhrebiy (1974) as Kesha
  • Sergeyev ishchet Sergeyeva (1974) as Anatoliy Anatolyevich Petelin
  • Ivan and Marya (1975) as Paymaster
  • For the Rest of His Life (На всю оставшуюся жизнь, 1975, TV Mini-Series) as Lt. Kramin
  • Hello, I'm Your Aunt! (Здравствуйте, я ваша тётя!, 1975, TV Movie) as Brasset
  • Chudo s kosichkami (1976) (uncredited)
  • Beshenoe zoloto (1977)
  • Kísértés (1977) as Szép Miska, Béla apja
  • Story of an Unknown Actor (1977) as Znamensky
  • Skhvatka v purge (1977)
  • Prazdnik neposlushaniya (1977)
  • Devochka, khochesh snimatsya v kino? (1978) as Pavel Vladimirovich
  • Centaurs (Кентавры, 1978) as Andres
  • Tsirkachonok (1980) as Georges
  • The Garage (Гараж, 1980) as Sidorin
  • Utrenniy obkhod (1980) as Alik
  • Dog in Boots (Пёс в сапогах, 1981) as Lofty (voice)
  • Say a Word for the Poor Hussar (О бедном гусаре замолвите слово..., 1981, TV Movie) as colonel Ivan Pokrovsky
  • Chyornaya kuritsa, ili Podzemnye zhiteli (1981) as Deforzh
  • Tamozhnya (1982) as Vladimir Nikolayevich Nikitin
  • Vertical Race (Гонки по вертикали, 1982, TV Movie) as Lyokha Dedushkin
  • Pokhozhdeniya grafa Nevzorova (1983) as Narrator (voice)
  • Esli vrag ne sdayotsya... (1983) as Wilhelm Stemmermann
  • Vosem dney nadezhdy (1984)
  • Kontrakt veka (1985)
  • Puteshestviye gospodina Perrishona (1986)
  • God telyonka (1986) as Valerian Sergeyevich
  • Fuete (1987)
  • Forgotten Melody for a Flute (Забытая мелодия для флейты, 1987) as Odinokov
  • Through Main Street with an Orchestra (По главной улице с оркестром, 1987) as Konstantin Vinogradov
  • Vremya letat (1987)
  • Visit to Minotaur (Визит к Минотавру, 1987, TV Mini-Series) as Pavel Ikonnikov
  • The Life of Klim Samgin (Жизнь Клима Самгина, 1988, TV Series) as Valery Trifonov
  • Vory v zakone (1988) as Artur
  • Dorogoe udovolstvie (1988)
  • Aelita, ne pristavay k muzhchinam! (1988)
  • The Feasts of Belshazzar, or a Night with Stalin (Пиры Валтасара, или Ночь со Сталиным, 1989) as Lavrentiy Beria
  • Samoubiytsa (1990)
  • Futbolist (1990)
  • Lost in Siberia (1991) as Beria
  • Terroristka (1991)
  • Nochnye zabavy (1991) as Yezopov
  • Promised Heaven (Небеса обетованные, 1991) as Dmitry Loginov, “President“
  • Encore, Once More Encore! (Анкор, ещё анкор!, 1992) as Fedor Vasilyevich Vinogradov
  • Khochu v Ameriku (1993)
  • Ya svoboden, ya nichey (1994)
  • Karera Arturo Ui (1996)
  • Sympathy Seeker (1997) as Magician
  • Tayna Marchello (1997)
  • Nebo v almazakh (1999)
  • Old Hags (Старые клячи, 2000) as general Dubovitsky
  • Tender Age (Нежный возраст, 2000) as Saledon Sr.
  • House for the Rich (Дом для богатых, 2000) as Roman Rumyanov
  • Snezhnaya lyubov, ili Son v zimnyuyu noch (2003)
  • The Master and Margarita (Мастер и Маргарита, 2005) as Joseph Kaifa / NKVD general
  • The Master and Margarita (Мастер и Маргарита, 2006) as Woland
  • Karnavalnaya noch 2, ili 50 let spustya (2007) as Spin doctor
  • 12 (2007) as 4th juror
  • The Book of Masters (Книга Мастеров, 2009) as magic mirror
  • Attack on Leningrad (2009) as
  • Burnt by the Sun 2 (Утомлённые солнцем 2, 2010) as Pimen
  • The Life and Adventures of Mishka Yaponchik (Жизнь и приключения Мишки Япончика, 2011, TV Series) as Mendel Gersh
  • Wings (2012) as Byvaly (voice)
  • Käshbasshy zholy (2013) as Professor
  • Yolki 3 (Ёлки, 2013) as Nikolai Petrovich
  • Tyghyryqtan zhol tapqan (2014)
  • Mlechnyy put (2016)

Honors and awardsEdit

  • Order "For Merit to the Fatherland":
    • 4th class (15 February 2016) – for outstanding contribution to the development of culture and many years of creative activity
    • 2nd class (2 September 2010) – for outstanding contribution to the development of domestic theatrical art and many years of creative activity
    • 3rd class (2 September 2005) – for outstanding contribution to the development of theatrical art, and many years of creative activity
  • Order of Friendship (11 August 1995) – for services to the state and achievements in work and significant contribution to strengthening friendship and cooperation between nations
  • Honored Artist of the RSFSR (1978)
  • People's Artist of the RSFSR (1984)


  1. ^ Умер Валентин Гафт. Tass. ru. 12 December 2020
  2. ^ a b c d e f "Валентин Иосифович Гафт. Биографическая справка" [Valentin Iosifovich Gaft. Biographical reference]. RIA Novosti.
  3. ^ "Биография Валентин Гафт" [Biography of Valentin Gaft].
  4. ^ "Валентин Гафт: " Я обязательно приеду в русский Севастополь!"".
  5. ^ "Валентин Гафт". VokrugTV.
  6. ^ Lena Chugui (2 September 2010). "Валентин Гафт: "Театр "Современник" — это мой дом"". Argumenty i Fakty.
  7. ^ "Валентин Гафт. Биография" [Valentin Gaft. Biography].
  8. ^ "Ольга Остроумова о браке с Валентином Гафтом: "Мне хотелось досадить прежнему мужу"". StarHit. 23 September 2017.
  9. ^ Viktor Grakov (2 September 2013). "Самые колкие эпиграммы Валентина Гафта". Komsomolskaya Pravda.
  10. ^ Yulia Khozhateleva (26 September 2013). ""Елки-3" предсказали Сергею Светлакову судьбу". Komsomolskaya Pravda.
  11. ^ Тихо ушёл Валентин Гафт
  12. ^ SBU issues entry ban against 140 Russian artists, UNIAN (5 November 2016)
    Ukraine’s State Security Service bans 140 Russian cultural figures from entering country, TASS news agency (5 November 2016)
  13. ^ "В Москве скончался актёр театра и кино Валентин Гафт". Радио Свобода (in Russian). Retrieved 12 December 2020.

External linksEdit