Sunday, July 11, 2010

Remembering Yul Brynner

Yuliy Borisovich Bryner was born in Vladivostok, Russia on July 11, 1920. He was best known for his portrayal of Mongut the king of Siam in the stage and film presentation of Oscar and Hammerstein's “The King and I” and as Rameses II in Cecil B. DeMille's “The Ten Commandments.” (1956). Yul was noted for his deep, rich voice and shaven head. He was also professional photographer and authored two books. His father was a mining engineer and after he abandoned the family Yul moved with his mother to China where he attended a YMCA school. In 1934 they moved to Paris. During World War II Brynner was a broadcaster for French speaking-radio and a commentator for the U.S. Office of War Information. In his early 20s he began modeling and acting. After his appearances in “The King and I” and “The Ten Commandments” he went on to appear in “Solomon and Sheba” (1959), “The Magnificent Seven” (1960) and “Kings of the Sun” (1963). He appeared in four Euro-westerns: “”Return of the Seven” (1966), “Villa Rides!” (1968), “Adios, Sabata” (1970) and “Catlow”. Dan van Husen mentioned to me that on “Catlow”, Yul would often make the cast pancakes in the morning from the stove in his trailer. Brynner made a series of non-smoking commercials before his death from lung cancer on October 10, 1985 in New York City. We remember Yul Brynner today on what would have been his 90th birthday.

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