Vyacheslav Tikhonov

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Vyacheslav Tikhonov
File:Viacheslav Tihonov.jpg
Tikhonov in 2003
Born Vyacheslav Vasilyevich Tikhonov
(1928-02-08)8 February 1928
Pavlovsky Posad, Soviet Union
Died 4 December 2009(2009-12-04) (aged 81)
Moscow, Russia
Occupation Actor
Years active 1948–2009
Spouse(s) Nonna Mordyukova
Tamara Tikhonova
Website www.vtikhonov.ru
File:RIAN archive 16849 Gagarin, Tereshkova, Tikhonov and Lyubeznov.jpg
Vyacheslav Tikhonov (front row, seated between Yuri Gagarin and Valentina Tereshkova) appears on a Soviet New Year TV show in 1963.
File:Vyacheslav Tikhonov grave.JPG
Vyacheslav Tikhonov's grave

Vyacheslav Vasilyevich Tikhonov (Russian: Вячесла́в Васи́льевич Ти́хонов; 8 February 1928 in Pavlovsky Posad – 4 December 2009 in Moscow) was a Soviet and Russian actor whose best known role was as Soviet spy, Stierlitz in the television series Seventeen Moments of Spring. He was a recipient of numerous state awards, including the titles of People's Artist of the USSR (1974) and Hero of Socialist Labour (1982).


He was born in Pavlovsky Posad near Moscow. His mother was a kindergarten teacher and his father an engineer in the local textile factory.[1] Vyacheslav dreamed of acting but his parents envisioned a different career, and during the war he worked in a munitions factory.[1] After employment as a metal worker, he began [training for an] acting career in 1945.[2] by entering, not without difficulty, the Actors’ Faculty of VGIK. After graduating VGIK with honours in 1950, he began his acting career on stage of Theatre Studio of Film Actor, where he worked for six years.

In 1948 he married Nonna Mordyukova, a popular actress at the time (the couple had one son, Vladimir,[3] also an actor who died in 1990). The marriage was dissolved in 1963.[4] Later Tikhonov married a second time to Tamara Ivanovna Tikhonova and had one child with her, Anna Tikhonova[5] (also an actor) in 1969.[6]

He died on 4 December 2009 in Moscow, Russia.[2] Russian President Dmitry Medvedev expressed his condolences to Tikhonov's family.[2]


Tikhonov made his film debut in 1948. For the next few years, he appeared in relatively low-profile films and at the Film Actors' Studio Theatre in Smolensk.[1] One of his notable roles there was the bear in the Erast Garin production of Evgeny Shvarts's fairy-tale An Ordinary Miracle.[1]

Tikhonov became more well-known with the release of the rural family drama Delo bylo v Penkove (It Happened in Penkovo, 1958), which was followed by several wartime dramas: Maiskie Zvyozdy (May Stars, 1959), set in Prague, and Na Semi Vetrakh (On the Seven Winds, 1962), on the Western front.[1] In Yevgeny Tashkov's Zhazhda (Thirst, 1959), based on real events, Tikhonov, in the first of his spy roles, portrays a scout in an operation to free an Odessa water plant from the Nazis.[1]

In Dve Zhizni (Two Lives, 1961) Tikhonov plays the less fortunate of two men who unwittingly meet in France, 40-odd years after fighting on opposite sides of the 1917 Revolution.[1] Rostotsky's Dozhivyom do Ponedelnika (We'll Live Till Monday 1968), in which a history teacher plans to defend a student at a disciplinary meeting, earned Tikhonov a state prize.[1] In 1979 Rostotsky made a documentary about his friend, called Profession: film actor."[1]

Tikhonov also played Prince Andrei Bolkonski in the Oscar-winning adaptation of Leo Tolstoy's War and Peace (1968) by Sergei Bondarchuk (who played Bezukhov). But Tikhonov reportedly got the role only at the suggestion of the Minister of Culture when Innokenty Smoktunovsky opted for Kozintsev's Hamlet and Oleg Strizhenov was also unavailable.[1]

In 1973, Tikhonov starred in the role for which he is most known for in the former Soviet republics, when director Tatiana Lioznova chose him over Smoktunovsky to star in an adaptation of Yulian Semyonov's novel Seventeen Moments of Spring[1] as Standartenführer Stierlitz. The 17 moments are 17 days in the spring of 1945 just before the defeat of Nazi Germany in World War II and centers around attempts by some of the Soviet Union's men in Germany to thwart secret peace talks between the Nazis and the U.S. and Britain.[2] The film enjoyed enormous popularity among Russian viewers of several generations. Prior to that, however, it had faced the risk of remaining unknown: Mikhail Suslov had opposed the film to go on general release. He had claimed that the film was not showing the feat of the Soviet people in the war. Fortunately, the decision to release the would-be classic film was supported by KGB Chairman Yuri Andropov.[1] Although several of Semyonov's Stierlitz novels were adapted for the screen, Tikhonov did not return, perhaps feeling that the original series was definitive.[1] The role won him the title People's Artist of the USSR, one of a number of awards.[1]

In 1976, [Tikhonov] rejoined Bondarchuk in an adaptation of Sholokhov's They Fought for Their Country.[1] It suited Tikhonov by concentrating on character rather than histrionics and won him another state prize in the year that he finally joined the Communist Party.[1] 1977 saw a change of pace with Rostotsky's Oscar-nominated Beliy Bim Chernoe Ukho (White Bim the Black Ear), in which Tikhonov played a middle-aged writer who is "adopted" by a non-pedigree setter puppy.[1]

Though he was often typecast as militiamen or spies, there were good roles among them, such as the KGB general in the cold-war thriller TASS upolnomochen zayavit (Tass is authorised to announce, 1984), another television series based on a Semyonov novel.[1] In later years he was able to display a wider range, including the bishop in Besy, a film version of Dostoyevsky's The Devils (1992) and Charlemagne, in the Ubit Drakona, (To Kill a Dragon, 1998) after Evgeny Shvarts's wartime satire.[1] Shvarts was inspired by Hans Christian Andersen, and Tikhonov appeared in Eldar Ryazanov's fantasy-biography of the Danish fabulist, Andersen: Life Without Love (2006), playing God.[1] In 8 February 2003, Russian President Vladimir Putin awarded the Order of Merit for the Fatherland, third degree, to Tikhonov.[7]

Tikhonov appeared in Nikita Mikhalkov's Oscar-winning Burnt By the Sun (1994) and also appeared in the 2010 sequel, which finished shooting before his death.


Year Film Russian Title Role Other notes
1948 The Young Guard Молодая гвардия Volodya Osmukhin Directed by Sergei Gerasimov
Won the Stalin Prize in 1949
1950 In Peaceful Time В мирные дни sailor Volodya Grinevsky, torpedoman
1951 Taras Shevchenko Тарас Шевченко Representative of the St Petersburg youth
1952 Maximka Максимка Lieutenant Goreilov
1954 This should never be forgotten Об этом забывать нельзя student Rostaslav Danchenko
1955 Stars on the wings of an airplane Звёзды на крыльях pilot Olexa Lavrinets
1956 The Heart is Beating Again Сердце бьётся вновь Leonid V.Golubev
1957 It Happened in Penkovo Дело было в Пенькове Matvey Morozov
1958 Extraordinary Incident ЧП. Чрезвычайное происшествие a sailor Viktor Raisky
1959 May Stars Майские звёзды lieutenant Andrew Rukavichkin
1959 Thirst Жажда lieutenant Oleg Bezborodko
1960 Midshipman Panin Мичман Панин Midshipman Basil Panin
1961 Two Lives Две жизни Duke Sergei Nashchekin
1962 Seven Winds На семи ветрах Captain Vyacheslav Suzdalev
1963 Optimistic Tragedy Оптимистическая трагедия Alexei, anarchist-sailor
1965 A Hero of Our Time Герой нашего времени Grigory Alexandrovich Pechorin (voice)
1968 War and Peace Война и мир Andrei Nikolayevich Bolkonsky
1968 We'll Live Till Monday Доживём до понедельника Ilya Semyonovich Melnikov - History Teacher
1969 Family Happiness Семейное счастье Nikolai Andreyevich Kapitonov, notary
1970 The Roundabout Карусель master of the house
1970 One of us Один из нас spy Keller (voice)
1971 Yegor Bulychyov and Others Егор Булычов и другие parson Pavlin
1971 Man on the other hand Человек с другой стороны Victor Krimov
1971 Hold on to the clouds Держись за облака Vladimir Sevastiyanov (voice)
1974 Front Without Flanks Фронт без флангов Major Ivan Petrovich Mlinsky
1975 They Fought for Their Country Они сражались за Родину Nikolay Strel'tsov
1975 Story of a Human Heart Повесть о человеческом сердце (author's text)
1976 ...And Other Officials ... И другие официальные лица Kostantin Pavlovich Ivanov
1977 White Bim Black Ear Белый Бим Черное ухо Ivan Ivanovich (Master)
1977 Front behind the front Line Фронт за линией фронта Colonel Ivan Petrovich Mlinsky
1977 Dialogue Диалог Alexander Yershov
1977 Drove through the streets of bureau По улицам комод водили master of bureau
1981 Unpaid Vacation Отпуск за свой счёт (narration)
1981 The Rear Front Фронт в тылу врага Colonel Ivan Petrovich Mlinsky
1984 European Story Европейская история Peter Losser, political commentator
1987 The Appeal Апелляция Dmitry V. Plotnikov
1988 To Kill a Dragon Убить дракона Charlemagne
1989 Love and Privileges Любовь с привилегиями Konstantin Gavrilovic Kozhemjakin
1991 The Ghosts of the Green Room Призраки зелёной комнаты Martin Chiverel
1992 The Possessed Бесы Tikhon, Bishop retired
1993 The Codex of Disgrace Кодекс бесчестия accountant Chugunov
1993 Incomparable Несравненная Kholev
1993 Provincial Benefit Провинциальный бенефис Ivan Semenovich Velikatov
1994 A Boulevard Romance Бульварный роман Stanislav Vasil'evich Kandinski
1994 Burnt by the Sun Утомлённые солнцем Vsevolod Konstantinovich
1995 The Codex of Silence 2: Trace of black fish Кодекс молчания 2: След чёрной рыбы police colonel Agaev (voice)
1995 An Adventure Авантюра Cameo appearance
1996 Sweet Friend of Years Forgotten Long Ago... Милый друг давно забытых лет... Fedor Fedorovich
1998 Composition for Victory Day Сочинение ко Дню Победы Lev Morgulis
2001 Berlin express train Берлинский экспресс Georgy Astakhov
2006 Eyes of the Wolf Глазами волка old scientist
2006 Andersen. A life without love Андерсен. Жизнь без любви God
Year Title Russian Title Role Other notes
1973 Seventeen Moments of Spring Семнадцать мгновений весны Max Otto von Stierlitz
1984 TASS Is Authorized to Declare... ТАСС уполномочен заявить... KGB General Konstantinov
1998 Waiting Room Зал ожидания Mikhail Zaitsev, director of the orphanage


  1. 1.00 1.01 1.02 1.03 1.04 1.05 1.06 1.07 1.08 1.09 1.10 1.11 1.12 1.13 1.14 1.15 1.16 1.17 1.18 1.19 "Vyacheslav Tikhonov: Actor best known for playing Soviet spies in a career spanning 60 years". London: The Independent. p. 44. Italic or bold markup not allowed in: |publisher= (help); |chapter= ignored (help)<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 "http://en.rian.ru/russia/20091204/157100764.html
  3. http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0863145
  4. Riley, John (July 12, 2008). London: The Independent. p. 44 Nonna Mordyukova: Star of 'The Commissar', cause célèbre of glasnost cinema http://www.independent.co.uk/news/obituaries/nonna-mordyukova-star-of-the-commissar-cause-clegravebre-of-glasnost-cinema-865842.html Nonna Mordyukova: Star of 'The Commissar', cause célèbre of glasnost cinema Check |url= value (help). Italic or bold markup not allowed in: |publisher= (help); Missing or empty |title= (help); |chapter= ignored (help)<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  5. http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0863149
  6. Nostalgia for Love. Tatyana ANDRIASOVA. Moscow News (Russia). CULTURE; No. 29. July 28, 1995. LexisNexis. Retrieved Sept. 6, 2008.
  7. Decree of the President of the Russian Federation of February 8, 2003, no. 147" (in Russian). Presidential Administration of Russia. Retrieved December 20, 2009.

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