‘Oleg’ Ivanovich Borisov was born in Privolzhsk, Ivanovo Oblast, Russia,
U.S.S.R. on November 8, 1929. His given name of Albert, was chosen by his
mother in honor of the Belgian prince Albert, who visited Moscow in 1929. His
parents were agricultural professionals. His mother, Nadezhda Andreevna, was an
agricultural engineer, and also played as an amateur actress at a local drama.
His father, Ivan Borisov, was a wounded World War II veteran, who worked as
director of Privolzhsk Agricultural Technical School.
Oleg Borisov was fond of acting and theatre, and he was known as a good
impersonator and comedian among his classmates at school. However, during the
Second World War young Oleg Borisov was a tractor driver at a collective farm
near Moscow. At the same time he was involved in amateur acting at his school
World War II Borisov graduated from a secondary school and applied to study at
the Moscow Art Theatre (MKhAT). He passed a series of professional tests and
was admitted to the Moscow Art Theatre School of Acting in 1947. While a
student Borisov was regarded for his talent as a comedian. In 1951, Borisov graduated
from the MKhAT School of Acting, and joined the troupe of the Lesya Ukrainka
National Academic Theater of Russian Drama in Kiev. In 1954 he married Alla
Romanovna (née Latynskaya), the daughter of director of the Lesya Ukrainka
Theatre. Their son, Yuri Borisov, was born in 1956.
1964, director Georgi Tovstonogov invited Oleg Borisov to join the troupe of
the Bolshoi Drama Theatre. From 1964–1983 Borisov was a permanent member of the
troupe at BDT in Leningrad. Borisov played memorable roles in several
productions, such as, Grigori Melekhov in “And Quiet Flows the Don” by Mikhail
Sholokhov, Prince Harry in “King Henry IV” (1969 adaptation) by Shakespeare,
and Siply in “Optimistic Tragedy” by Vsevolod Vishnevskiy. At that time he was
also invited by director Lev Dodin to perform the leading role in Krotkaya (aka
"A Gentle Creature") an adaptation of the eponymous short story by
1955, Borisov made his film debut at the Dovzhenko Film Studio in Kiev,
Ukraine; he played a cameo role in film “Mother” (1955) by director Mark
Donskoy. Eventually Oleg Borisov ascended to fame in the Soviet and Russian
cinema, as he continued his film career in collaboration with such directors as
Eldar Ryazanov, Andrei Tarkovsky, Aleksandr Muratov, Aleksei German, Viktor
Tregubovich, Vladimir Bortko, Aleksandr Gordon, Vladimir Vengerov, and Vadim
Abdrashitov, among other film directors. His best known roles in film were such
works as Gudionov in “Sluga” by Vadim Abdrashitov, and Naoum Kheifitz in “Luna
Park” by Pavel Lungin.
several years Borisov was suffering from restrictions in the Soviet film
industry, because he did not comply with the ridiculous rules of political
obedience. The main reason was that Borisov never wanted to be a member of the
Soviet Communist party. His personal revolt against the system resulted in
several years of his underemployment: the system allowed him to play only small
roles, making him almost invisible for a few years, a humiliation which he
endured with dignity. Only director Vadim Abdrashitov was brave enough to break
the Soviet censorship rules. He cast Borisov for the leading roles in his films
“Ostanovilsya poyezd” (1982) and “Parade of Planets” (1984).
Borisov was a stellar example of a rare, beautiful, and disobedient talent. He
had to be untamed and free of any control in order to play his best roles.
Borisov was at the peak of his stage and film career by the end of the 1970s,
when suddenly he was dismissed by a film director for his disagreement about
the movements of his character. In the Soviet reality that caused an impact on
his work in film and on stage.
of the professional restrictions, that were imposed on him, it caused Borisov a
serious stress with medical complications. Only a few of his colleagues were
capable to understand his case. At that critical time Oleg Yefremov called
Borisov in 1982, and invited him to work with the Moscow Art Theatre. From
1983-1990 Borisov was a member of the troupe with the Moscow Art Theatre. Oleg
believed that stage acting was a superior form of art. Borisov confessed that
he had greater satisfaction from his stage works, than from any film.
many years Oleg Borisov suffered from severe stress caused by political
pressures on his acting career. He opposed the official system and contracted a
stress-related blood disorder, a rare form of leukemia, which was misdiagnosed
by the Soviet medical system. Borisov knew that his disease was incurable.
However, his private conversations with actors-friends were sparkled with his
wit and wisdom, and someone told him to write a book, which he did. He was
writing notes for almost 20 years, which were published posthumously by his
son, director Yuri Borisov. Oleg Borisov was designated People's Artist of the
USSR (1978) and received the USSR State Prize (1978) for his stage works. In
1990 Borisov won Volpi Cup at the Venice Film Festival. He played over 70 roles
in film and television. He also directed stage productions and led several
popular radio shows. In 1992 Oleg Borisov made a pilgrimage to Jerusalem
together with his wife. He died of complications from a blood disorder on April 28, 1994 in Moscow, Russia.
BORISOV, Oleg (aka A. Borisov, O. Borisov) (Albert Ivanovich Borisov)
[11/8/1929, Privolzhsk, Ivanovo Oblast, Russia, U.S.S.R. - 4/28/1994, Moscow,
Russia (blood disorder)] - director, stage, radio, TV actor, brother of actor
Lev Borisov [1933-2011], married to Alla Romanova Latynskaya (1954-1994),
father of director Yuri Borisov [1956-2007], awarded People's Artist of the
Atkins - 1985 (Tom Atkins)