Vyacheslav Tikhonov, who became famous around the world for his role in the Oscar-winning film adaptation of Tolstoy's "War and Peace", has died of a heart attack at the age of 81.
AFP - One of Russia's most popular actors, Vyacheslav Tikhonov, best-known in the West for starring in an Oscar-winning adaptation of "War and Peace," died Friday aged 81, Russian news agencies reported.
The actor who began his career playing simple working-class heroes in ideologically charged films became famous later for his roles as a Russian aristocrat and a Soviet agent in Nazi Germany.
President Dmitry Medvedev expressed his condolences to the actor's family and loved ones, the Kremlin said.
Born to a working-class family, Tikhonov made his cinema debut as an anti-Nazi partisan in the 1948 film "The Young Guard" and had his first major role as a tractor driver in the 1958 melodrama "It Happened in Penkov."
His casting as Prince Andrei Bolkonsky in Sergei Bondarchuk's monumental 1965 adaptation of Leo Tolstoy's novel "War and Peace" was the first time a director gave him the kind of subtle, reflective role that became his forte.
The film, which used 120,000 Red Army soldiers as extras in the scenes recreating 19th-century battles, won the Oscar for best foreign language film in 1969.
In Russia, Tikhonov's most popular role was that of a Soviet agent working undercover in Nazi Germany during World War II.
Tikhonov went on to appear in Nikita Mikhalkov's Oscar-winning 1994 drama set in the Stalin era, "Burnt By the Sun," playing an elderly professor, but rarely performed over the last decade.
He died after suffering a heart attack and undergoing an operation on Friday, Russian news agencies reported.
Date created : 2009-12-04