Yuri Nikulin (1921-1997)
Semyon Gorbunkov, the hero of the "Diamond Hand", told the policeman: "I have not held military weapons in my hands since the war." Yuri Nikulin, who performed this role, could say the same about himself. The popularly loved circus artist, clown Nikulin served in the Red Army for seven years and went through two wars. He was drafted at the age of 17, and two months later found himself in the Soviet-Finnish war. He served in an anti-aircraft battery. During the broaching of the communication line, my legs were severely frostbitten. In June 1941, when Nikulin was already preparing for demobilization, the Great Patriotic War began. In this war, the young man became the commander of the intelligence department. He took part in battles, received a shell shock, visited besieged Leningrad and almost died several times.
Yuri Nikulin © Immortal Regiment
Yuri Nikulin was awarded medals “For Courage”, “For the Defense of Leningrad”, “For Victory over Germany”. He did not like to remember the war, but in his memoirs "Almost Seriously" he nevertheless spoke about his combat experience.
Vladimir Basov (1923-1987)
Since childhood, Vladimir Basov dreamed of theater and cinema. He went to amateur circles, participated in school performances. His father was in the military and the family moved frequently. When the Basovs arrived in Moscow, Volodya was in high school. In those years, the Moscow Art Theater became his love. He went to the studio at the theater, attended all the performances. In June 1941, Vladimir Basov received a certificate of maturity and wanted to enter VGIK, but the war began.
Vladimir Basov © Public Domain
He refused to use the armor and go to serve in the Theater of the Red Army - he did not want to remain safe while his peers die on the front line. Then there was the artillery school, the command of the mortar battery, battles in the assault brigades, exploits and concussion. At the front, Basov was engaged in amateur performances - he staged more than 150 performances for the Red Army. After the war, he could have continued his officer career and become, like his father, a professional military man, but he did not want to betray his dream of cinema and theater - he sold his greatcoat, bought a coat, entered VGIK.
Alexey Smirnov (1920-1979)
Like many front-line soldiers, Smirnov did not like to remember the war. Even in the acting environment, not everyone knew that the good-natured actor, who became famous among the people for his role as a parasite hooligan in Operation Y, was a war hero, awarded two Orders of Glory, the Order of the Red Star and other awards. Smirnov served in the regimental intelligence, commanded a mortar regiment, crossed the Oder, personally captured several German soldiers, more than once distinguished himself in hand-to-hand combat, from which he emerged victorious.
Alexey Smirnov © aleksey-smirnov.ru
During the service, Alexey Smirnov did not forget about the main business of his life - the theater. His regiment was a leader in amateur performances, in only two summer months of 1944 Smirnov organized ten concerts for the Red Army soldiers. He did not meet the victory in Berlin only because of the received severe concussion. She also became the reason that Smirnov could not have children, after the war he lived alone. The main passion of the actor, in addition to theater and cinema, was literature. He collected a large library, was fond of Japanese poetry.
Anatoly Papanov (1922-1987)
Anatoly Papanov became an artist before the war - he played in an amateur theater, appeared in episodes of films. Papanov was drafted into the Red Army in 1940. From the first days he took part in battles. He began as a simple soldier, rose to the rank of senior sergeant, commander of an anti-aircraft battery. In the first battles of June 1941, most of his unit was killed; in 1942, during a retreat on the Southwestern Front, Papanov received a severe leg injury, two toes had to be amputated. Despite the artist's desire to stay at the front, he was discharged.
© Public Domain
Lameness did not prevent him from entering GITIS. Overcoming pain, Papanov practiced dancing and gymnastics to get rid of the cane with which he walked. Only by the end of the fourth year the need for it disappeared.
Zinovy Gerdt (1916-1997)
By the beginning of the war, Zinovy Gerdt had not only acting experience, but also a secondary technical education. When he came to the recruiting station as a volunteer, he was sent to study sapper business at the Military Engineering School. After the courses, Gerdt was assigned to the engineering regiment with the rank of senior lieutenant.
© Zinovy Gerdt
The war for Gerdt ended in 1943. After a severe leg injury and 11 operations, he was discharged. The limb was preserved, but the artist limped until the end of his life. The battle wound reminded of itself for a long time - the bones did not want to grow together. In total, Gerdt spent four years in hospitals. Valentin Gaft, in his epigram, reflected this feature of his senior colleague:
Oh, extraordinary Gerdt, He has kept from the time of the military
One of the best features -
He is inflexible on the knee.
After the war, Gerdt worked for a long time in the puppet theater, was engaged in dubbing.
Mikhail Pugovkin (1923-2008)
Mikhail Pugovkin did not like to remember the war, he even underestimated his merits, speaking of himself as a simple soldier, although he served in front-line intelligence with the rank of sergeant. Pugovkin went to the war as a film actor. On June 22, 1941, the movie The Artamonovs Case was shown, where Mikhail Pugovkin played a cameo role.
© B. Vilenkin
In 1942, Pugovkin received a severe leg injury. Blood poisoning began. They wanted to amputate the leg, but before the operation, Stalin's order came to the hospital, condemning "senseless amputations." Pugovkin was discharged. It is noteworthy that Joseph Stalin played a role in the fate of the actor again. Coming from the front, Pugovkin learned that his mother had been sent to prison for denunciation. Then the actor wrote a letter to the Kremlin addressed to the General Secretary and the Commander-in-Chief. Mother was released. Pugovkin returned to acting, became an actor in the Moscow Art Theater, and continued his film career in the 1950s.
Innokenty Smoktunovsky (1925-1994)
At the front, for Smoktunovsky, the glory of the lucky one who bullets do not take was entrenched. He took part in the fighting at the height of the war. From the recruiting office in Krasnoyarsk, the future actor went to the Kursk Bulge. He managed to survive during the crossing of the Dnieper. Smoktunovsky escaped from German captivity, where he got during the battles for the liberation of Kiev. The actor was partisan and commanded a company of machine gunners, and ended the war in Germany.
Innokenty Smoktunovsky © Public Domain
Innokenty Smoktunovsky was not lucky already in peacetime. As a "unreliable" he could not live in 39 cities of the Union, he lived in Norilsk and Makhachkala. The actor was able to conquer Moscow only ten years after the victory.
Vladimir Etush (1922-2019)
After the start of the war, a student of the Shchukin school Vladimir Etush volunteered to build fortifications around Moscow with other students. Hard work did not frighten the young man from an intelligent Jewish family. In December 1941 Etush played in the production of "Field Marshal Kutuzov". There were only 13 spectators in the hall. It was then that the actor realized that he would be more needed at the front now, and went to the recruiting station.
Red Army Lieutenant Vladimir Etush, 1943 © Public Domain
Etush was trained at the school of military translators, because he knew German. He fought in the Caucasus, liberated Rostov-on-Don. He was awarded the Order of the Red Star. In 1943 he became a lieutenant, commanded a regiment, was responsible for the supply and evacuation of the wounded. In the same year Etush was wounded and discharged. In 1944 he returned to school, and in the early 1950s his brilliant film career began.
Georgy Yumatov (1926-1997)
In 1941, Georgy Yumatov starred in the film "Behind Enemy Lines", at the same time he entered the naval school, from where he went to the front. The future officer took part in many battles - from the storming of Ishmael to the capture of Vienna. For heroism shown in hand-to-hand combat for the Vienna Bridge, Yumatov was awarded the Ushakov medal. Once the actor was saved from certain death by love for animals. The ship dog jumped overboard the boat a few seconds before the shell hit the ship. Yumatov, who rushed to help in the water, survived.
© Public Domain
For his service Georgy Yumatov was awarded orders and medals, during the fighting he received several wounds, concussion and frostbite. Despite this, Yumatov's dream came true - after the war he became an actor at the Mosfilm studio.
Pavel Luspekaev (1927-1970)
Not everyone knows that Pavel Luspekaev played his most famous role of the customs officer Vereshchagin in the film "White Sun of the Desert" with amputated feet. He practically could not walk during filming. A disease of the legs - vascular atherosclerosis - developed after frostbite received at the front. Pavel Luspekaev ended up in the war in 1943. In the partisan group, he, 15, was the youngest, but he fought on an equal basis with everyone.
Pavel Luspekaev (right) at the school, early 1940s © Public Domain
In one of the battles, Luspekaev was seriously wounded in the elbow. Only long persuasion convinced the doctor in the hospital to keep the partisan's hand. After demobilization in 1944, Luspekaev began to play in the theater of his native Lugansk (then Voroshilovgrad), a couple of years later he transferred to Moscow and entered the Schepkinsky school.
6 actors who became famous in adulthood