Vasily Lanovoy

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Василий Лановой
Actor, COVID-19 , Laureate of state prize, Professor, Public figure, USSR folk artist
 russian, ukrainian
Novodevichy Cemetery

Vasily Semyonovich Lanovoy (Russian: Василий Семёнович Лановой; (16 January 1934 – 28 January 2021) was a popular Soviet and Russian actor who worked in the Vakhtangov Theatre, Moscow. He was also known as the President of Artek Festival of Films for Children. Lanovoy's honours include the KGB Prize, the Lenin Prize, and the title of People's Artist of the USSR. 

In 2019, he received the title Hero of Labour of the Russian Federation.

Acting career

Lanovoy came to prominence through playing bold, dashing characters, combining heroic bravado with a sensitivity typical of Russian heroes, a tendency evident in many of his early features, such as A Certificate of Maturity (1954) and Pavel Korchagin (1956).

Lanovoy's many film roles from the 1960s include Anatole Kuragin in Sergei Bondarchuk's War and Peace and Count Vronsky in the screen version of Anna Karenina. By this time, he has tried to create complex psychological portraits of his characters.

However, he is best known for his roles in iconic 1970s World War II-themed films. Lanovoy portrayed Ivan Varavva, one of the main characters in the 1971 saga Officers which became a life-affirming film for the Soviet Army officers. He also played a supporting role of SS General Karl Wolff in the cult spy thriller TV-series Seventeen Moments of Spring (1973).

In 2000s, Lanovoy has appeared primarily in the roles of Soviet-era party bosses, such as Yuri Andropov in the 2005 TV series Brezhnev. In 2012 played the role of Cardinal Richelieu in Russian miniseries/movie The Three Musketeers.

Personal life

Lanovoy was born to a family of Ukrainian peasants. His parents, originally from the rural Odessa Oblast, escaped the famine to Moscow. However, the World War II Nazi/Romanian occupation caught little Vasily in southern Ukraine with his village relatives while his parents were evacuated to the Soviet rear as workers with a military-critical industrial company.

Lanovoy is married to Irina Kupchenko, herself a famous Soviet actress educated in Kiev. His first wife was another film star, Tatiana Samoilova, best known for her leading part in The Cranes Are Flying.

Political views

In 2014 he signed a petition supporting the actions of Vladimir Putin in the annexation of Crimea. For this he was banned from entering Ukraine. Crimea is since March 2014 under dispute by Russia and Ukraine.

He was critical of the (late 2013 until early 2014) Ukrainian Euromaidan demonstrations, claiming that the United States were using Ukrainians for their own political gain.

Honours and awards

1971 – Best Actor of the year, by a poll of the Sovetsky Ekran magazine (for the film Officers)

1978 – People's Artist of the RSFSR

1980 – Lenin Prize - for participation in the documentary film The Great Patriotic War

1983 – KGB Award for the film "Fight at the crossroads"

1984 – Prize of the USSR Ministry of Internal Affairs - for the film Proceed to Eliminate

1985 – People's Artist of the USSR

1994 – Order of Friendship of Peoples - for merits in development of theatrical art

2001 – Order of Honour

2004 – Order of Merit for the Fatherland, 4th class - for his great contribution to the development of theatrical art

2004 – Order of Merit, 3rd class (Ukraine) - for high professionalism and considerable contribution to the development of Russian-Ukrainian cultural relations

2008 – Order of Merit for the Fatherland, 3rd class - for his contribution to the development of domestic theatrical and cinematic arts, a multi-year social work

2008 – Special Prize of the President of Belarus "for preserving and developing traditions of spirituality in the cinema"

2009 – "Great Literary Prize of Russia" (Russian Writers' Union), the prize "For the benefit of Russia" for his outstanding contribution to the development of Russian culture

2010 – Tsarskoselskaya art prize

2019 – Hero of Labour of the Russian Federation

Selected filmography

  • Certificate of Maturity (1954)
  • Scarlet Sails (1961)
  • Striped Trip (1961)
  • Going Inside a Storm (1965)
  • War and Peace (1966-1967)
  • Solaris (1968 TV film)
  • Officers (1971)
  • Seventeen Moments of Spring (1972 TV series)
  • The Days of the Turbins (1976)
  • Soldiers of Freedom (1977)
  • Trifles of Life (1992-1997 TV series)
  • Chivalric Romance (2000)
  • Brezhnev (2005)
  • The Three Musketeers (2013)


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        Relation nameRelation typeBirth DateDeath dateDescription
        Семён ЛановойFather00.00.190700.00.1979
        Агафья ЛановаяMother00.00.191000.00.1986
        Сергей ЛановойSon00.00.197615.10.2013
        4Валентина  ЛановаяВалентина ЛановаяSister05.10.193704.02.2002
        5Тамара ЗябловаТамара ЗябловаWife17.11.192900.00.1971
        6Tatiana  SamoilovaTatiana SamoilovaWife04.05.193405.05.2014
        7Yevgeny  SamoylovYevgeny SamoylovFather in-law16.04.191217.02.2006