Saturday, September 25, 2010

Remembering Sergei Bondarchuk

Sergei Fedorovich Bondarchuk was born on September 24, 1920 in Belozerka, Ukrain, USSR. He spent his youth in the cities of Yeisk and Taganrog and graduated from Taganrog School #4 in 1938. Sergei first appeared on stage in 1937 at the Taganrog Theater. Sergei then studied at the Rostov on Don theater school from 1938 until 1942. He then was drafted into the Russian Army during World War II. At 32 he became the youngest Soviet actor to ever be awarded the People's Artist of the U.S.S.R. He married acteess Inna Makarova [1928- ] and they had a daughter. Sergei later married actress Irina Skobtseva [1927- ] in 1959. Sergei became internationally famous for his production of Tolstoy's “War and Peace”. The film took seven years to complete and totaled more than ten hours in length. Released in 1968, Bondarchuk was awarded an Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film. In 1969 Sergei starred opposite Yul Brynner and Orson Welles in “The Battle of Neretva”. His first English language film was in 1970's “Waterloo”. In 1970 Sergei was appointed President of the Union of Cinematographers but was dismissed from the post in 1986. Sergei's only Euro-western was his directed “Mexico in Flames” in 1981 starring Franco Nero and Ursula Andress. Sergei died of a heart attack on October 20, 1994 in Moscow, Russia. Today we remember Sergei Bondarchuk on what would have been his 90th birthday.

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