Incomparable Yuri Nikulin

Incomparable Yuri Nikulin

Russian actor and clown Yuri Nikulin was born on December 18, 1921 in Smolensk, died 21 August 1997, Moscow

Incomparable Yuri Nikulin was more than a clown, more than an actor. He was a great comforter, who knew how laughter and tears treat the soul. “I firmly believe that laughter improves health and prolongs life”. … Mid 20’s. The Moscow circus presents a show. Three clowns with spectacular name Barasseta pulled out of the cylinder endless string of amazing items: a loaf of bread, a bunch of sausages, round sausages – an enviable food set for a hard time. In the hall is heard enthusiastic child’s cry, and one of the clowns to the great joy of the hall mimics the boy. He shakes his father: “Daddy, Daddy, the clown said it to me!” It was the first performance of his life – a five-year-old Yura was brought to the circus by his father, a writer. Returning home after the performance, Yura asked his mother to make him a clown suit.

Incomparable Yuri Nikulin

Yuri Nikulin as a schoolboy

Incomparable Yuri Nikulin

Yuri Nikulin in school

Yuri Nikulin found himself at once. Nobody doubted that the guy would be an actor, he was born to be one. The tall, gangly, with an elongated head, his eyes at any moment were ready to shine. He loved to tell jokes and even wrote them down in a notebook. Then this notebook would serve for Nikulin, it would be with him during two wars – the Finnish and the Great Patriotic War. It would be on the Leningrad front during the blockade, meet victory in the Baltic. At the most difficult moments the jokes written in it would help to discharge the hard atmosphere, and encourage the soldiers. Nikulin’s talent to comfort people on time, to make them a little happier was priceless.

Incomparable Yuri Nikulin

Yuri Nikulin at WWII

Incomparable Yuri Nikulin

Young Yuri Nikulin, 1930

This unique individuality of Yuri Nikulin is natural, a delicate comic had yet to understand it. But ironically, the 25-year-old veteran, who came to enter the cinematographic institute was not accepted. Nikulin experienced insulting rejection of theater and filmmakers. Once into his hands got the magazine with the announcement of the clown studio. They offered new vacancies.

Incomparable Yuri Nikulin

Yuri Nikulin, a clown in the circus

But the apparent simplicity was imaginary – his mask Yuri was looking for a long time. Traditionally, a clown is sure to have a resounding nickname, bright wig, gummy nose. The famous Karandash (Pencil), to whom Nikulin with his future partner Michael Shuydin assisted for several years, demanded that they should perform with their own stage names. How much time had it taken for Nikulin to understand the main thing: no masks is needed! Just to be himself.

Incomparable Yuri Nikulin

Signed by Yuri Nikulin photo

Nikulin almost did not use make-up, did not wear the “special” clown suit, only some jackets with too short sleeves, and narrow striped pants, and on his head – a flat hat. That’s all. Its ridiculous, but such a lovable character, was a neighbor in the stairwell, a guy from our yard, who got into various ridiculous situations. He was one of us – just eccentric. And when the audience laughed at him – they laughed at themselves. Unlike many clowns his sincerity was always sad, showing the injustice of the world, and because of it – full of sympathy. However, this second, “serious” part of his personality was spotted at once. But still, he became famous all over the country, playing Balbes in mega popular comedy films by Leonid Gaidai.

Incomparable Yuri Nikulin

Yuri Nikulin and his dog singing

The selection committee at Cinematography Institute was wrong: Yuri Nikulin was literally created for films, and circus pantomime experience could not be more helpful. These roles played by Nikulin were very loved by people. He was an excellent actor both of comedy and drama films.

Yuri Nikulin

Yuri Nikulin

In his own personal life love has come once and lasted till the end of his days. He was already 28 when clown Karandash was given a funny short-legged horse named Lapot. Three female students of Timiryazev Academy looked after it. One of the students, Tanya, noticed Nikulin. He invited the girl to the show, but during the reprise … was hit by a horse. From the arena he was taken directly to the hospital, Tatiana visited him. Since then, Tatiana Nikulina was always there – both at home and in the circus. Their son Maxim, now the director of the Old Circus.

Incomparable Yuri Nikulin

My friend Kolka, 1961 film

Incomparable Yuri Nikulin

My friend Kolka, 1961 film

Incomparable Yuri Nikulin

Samogonshchiki, 1961 comedy film

Incomparable Yuri Nikulin

The man from nowhere, 1961

Incomparable Yuri Nikulin

Very seriously, 1961

Incomparable Yuri Nikulin

When the trees were tall, 1961 film

Incomparable Yuri Nikulin

When the trees were tall, 1961 film

Incomparable Yuri Nikulin

When the trees were tall, 1961 film

Incomparable Yuri Nikulin

When the trees were tall, 1961 film

Incomparable Yuri Nikulin

Business people, 1962

Incomparable Yuri Nikulin

Business people, 1962

Incomparable Yuri Nikulin

Without fear and blaim, 1962

Incomparable Yuri Nikulin

Come here, Mukhtar! 1964

Incomparable Yuri Nikulin

Come here, Mukhtar! 1964

Incomparable Yuri Nikulin

Come here, Mukhtar! 1964

Incomparable Yuri Nikulin

Give Me a Complaints Book, 1965

Incomparable Yuri Nikulin

On the first hour, 1965

Incomparable Yuri Nikulin

On the first hour, 1965

Incomparable Yuri Nikulin

‘Operation ‘Y’ and other adventures of Shurik’ (1965)

Incomparable Yuri Nikulin

‘Operation ‘Y’ and other adventures of Shurik’ (1965)

Incomparable Yuri Nikulin

Tales of Russian forest, 1965

Incomparable Yuri Nikulin

‘Prisoner of the Caucasus, or The New Adventures of Shurik’ (1966)

Incomparable Yuri Nikulin

‘Prisoner of the Caucasus, or The New Adventures of Shurik’ (1966)

Incomparable Yuri Nikulin

Andrey Rublev, 1966

Incomparable Yuri Nikulin

The diamond arm, 1968

12 chairs, 1971

12 chairs, 1971

Incomparable Yuri Nikulin

Grandads-Robbers, 1971

Incomparable Yuri Nikulin

They Fought for Their Country, 1975

Incomparable Yuri Nikulin

Adventures of Travka, 1976

Incomparable Yuri Nikulin

Twenty days without war, 1976

Incomparable Yuri Nikulin

Yuri Nikulin, 1980s

Incomparable Yuri Nikulin

2001 Russia 2 rub 50 kopeks stamp. Yuri Nikulin

Incomparable Yuri Nikulin

Nikulin, Morgunov, Vitsin (from left to right)

Incomparable Yuri Nikulin

Policeman stopped Yuri Nikulin

Incomparable Yuri Nikulin

Yuri Nikulin, George Vitsin, Yevgeny Morgunov, 1981

Yuri Nikulin

Yuri Nikulin

Incomparable Yuri Nikulin

Grave of Nikulin at Novodevichy cemetery

Monument to Yuri Nikulin was opened three years after his death, in 2000. It was established in front of the Nikulin Circus, where the actor worked for 50 years. No pomp, no pedestal: bronze cabriolet from the “Caucasian Captive” and from the car door in his clown suit and boater hat – stepping onto the pavement Nikulin. There are always fresh flowers and the children enthusiastically climbing up the car. Yuri Nikulin is still with us – cheers and comforts.