Yevgeny Matveyev

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Yevgeny Semyonovich Matveyev
240 px
Born March 8, 1922
Novoukrainka, Kherson Oblast, Ukrainian SSR
Died June 1, 2003(2003-06-01) (aged 81)
Moscow, Russia
Occupation Stage and film actor, director, and screenwriter
Professor, Gerasimov Institute of Cinematography
Spouse(s) Lidiya Alexeyevna Matveyeva (m. 1947)
Parent(s) Semyon Kalinovich Matveyev
Nadezhda Fyodorovna Kovalenko
Awards People's Artist of the RSFSR (1958)
People's Artist of the USSR (1974)
Vasilyev Brothers State Prize of the RSFSR (1974)
USSR State Prize (1977)
and other awards

Yevgeny Semyonovich Matveyev (Russian: Евгений Семёнович Матвеев, Ukrainian: Євген Семенович Матвеев; 8 March 1922 – 1 June 2003) was a Soviet and Russian actor and film director who was named a People's Artist of the USSR in 1974. He is best known as Nagulnov in Podniataya Tselina based on Mikhail Sholokhov's novel and Nekhludov in Resurrection (Russian: Воскресение) based on Leo Tolstoy's novel.[1]

Early years

Yevgeny Matveyev was born in the village of Novoukrainka in the Mykolaiv Governorate of the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic (now Kherson Oblast, Ukraine) to father Semyon Kalinovich Matveyev, a Red Army serviceman was stationed in the region at the end of the Russian Civil War, and mother Nadezhda Fyodorovna Kovalenko, a local peasant woman. Semyon Matveyev left his wife shortly after Yevgeny was born.

Yevgeny Matveyev attended school in the nearby town of Tsyurupinsk, where he saw his first play and left school after the ninth grade to pursue a career in acting.

He made his first step on the professional stage at the Kherson Theater in 1939. One of his first small stage roles was a part of a musician in Bestalanna. The great Russian actor Nikolay Cherkasov noticed the young talent and advised Matveyev to proceed acting career and move to Kiev in order to study with Alexander Dovzhenko. Yevgeny Matveyev studied with Dovzhenko at the acting school of the Kiev Film Studio in 1940-1941.

Matveyev joined the Red Army after the German invasion in 1941 and went to military school in Tyumen and after graduation with a rank of lieutenant was mobilized to Red Army and fought at the Second War. After the end of the war Matveyev worked one more year at the military school in Tyumen as a director of the school amateur theater art group, where he met his wife Lidiya Matveyeva. They married in April 1947.[2]


File:Maly Theatr.jpg
Maly Theater. Theater Square. Moscow

Matveyev acted at the Tyumen Drama Theater for two years after completing his military service in 1946 and at the Red Torch Theater in Novosibirsk from 1948 to 1952. Matveyev came to Moscow to join the famed Maly Theater in 1952, where he continued his stage career until 1968.

His various roles on the theater stage included Neznamov in Alexander Ostrovsky's drama Bez viny vinovatye, Zvonorev in Port Arthur, Yarovoy in Love of Yarovoy by Trenyev, Rodon in Vanity Fair by William Makepeace Thackeray, Trofimov in Alyoshin's Leading Role, Stolbov in Autumn Sunrise , Erast in Ostrovsky's Heart Not a Stone, and Osvald in Ibsen's Ghosts.

Matveyev broke into film in the 1950s, when he starred as Sudbinin in Andrey Frolov's 1955 film Good Morning, a musical comedy. He played the leading part of Konstantin Davydov in The House I Live In, a 1955 film by Lev Kulidzhanov and Yakov Segel that won the first prize at the All-Union Film Festival. The actor's triumph has came to Matveyev when he starred as Nagulnov in Virgin Soil Upturned. Part of Prince Nekhludov in Shveitser's Resurrection an adaptation of Leo Tolstoi's novel was another bright character which brought to an actor a fame. Since that Yevgeny Matveyev successfully performed in many productions creating memorable characters in different film genres. His notable roles during this period included the part of Fedotov in Blood Ties with Vija Artmane as his partner. The film won a special prizes at international film festivals in Mar del Plata and Buenos Aires in Argentina, and also at All-Union Film Festival in Leningrad (1964).

Accident and debut as a director

While the period of his career highest success and popularity Matveyev has been seriously harmed by accident in one of the holidays celebrations show at the stadium in Nikolaev. Yevgeny Matveyev has fallen off the malfunctioned cart he appeared on in front of audience. As a result he has a serious damage of a backbone, two crushed disks and jammed nerve. After long treatment Matveyev has got the third group of physical disability. He did come back to work despite of his doctors opinion. It was a time when he has to quit performing on stage and has started his career as a film director.

His debut as a director was production of The Gypsy, an adaptation of Kalinin's novel. He also starred as Budulay with Ludmila Hityaeva as a partner in film named the same as a novel. Yevgeny Matveyev's first picture had a different opinions of audience response. Therefore as a results of interrogation by magazine Soviet Screen actors of leading roles have named the best actors of the year 1967. However there were a lot of critical remarks. Since 1968 Yevgeny Matveyev has finally left theatre and continued his career in film industry as a director and an actor. He directed a historic-revolutionary film Romance by Mail and melodrama Deadly Enemy, and played in both the leading parts. However, both these pictures had no big success. Among many films Matveyev starred at that period, it is necessary to name Aleksei Saltykov's film The Siberian Woman (Russian: Siberiachka ) to which he has been named the best actor of year, and part in Taming of the fire.

In the middle of 70th, Yevgeny Matveyev stepped in as a director again. He filmed Earthly Love and Destiny. These pictures have a big success and audience sympathy even these social stories have been polished, which was a necessity of Soviet Era. Matveyev starred as a chairman of collective farm Zakhar Deryugin and Olga Ostroumova was his partner at this time.

Another notable role in 70th was a part in Soldiers of Freedom. He played Leonid Brezhnev, General Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union. This event affected his career dramatically. He became a secretary of Union of Soviet Cinematographers. He had "green light" with all of his film productions. But it affected Matveyev's life hardly later. In the middle of 80th Perestroyka have come. In 1986 at the fifth congress of cinematographers of the USSR Evgeniy Matveyev was released from the post. He was punished at the congress for his "polished pictures" and his role of Brezhnev.

At the end of 80th, Matveyev is coming back to cinematography. He filmed a tragic melodrama Vessel of Patience (Russian: Чаша терпения) where he played a leading part again with Olga Ostroumova as his partner. Vessel of patience has been honored with a Spectator Sympathies Prize at "Constellation" (Russian: Созвездие) festival, but the wide audience has remained practically unknown about the picture. It was a time when Matveyev was taken parts in criminal action pictures The Vacancy of Killer's Place and Clan. In Clan he created a character of Brezhnev once more, but this time in different context and point of view.

To Love the Russian Way

In 1995 Matveyev directed To Love the Russian Way. The picture followed by To Love the Russian Way 2, filmed in 1997 with money sent by director's fans from all over of Russia. And the final work of Yevgeny Matveyev director and actor was a To Love the Russian Way 3 in 1999.

He died in Moscow on 1 June 2003 and was interred at Novodevichy Cemetery. The cause of death was lung cancer.[2]


Yevgeny Matveyev was honored with a State Prize of the USSR in 1977 and the Vasilyev Brothers State Prize of the RSFSR in 1978, Dovzhenko Gold Medal for the part in High Title (1974), Special Prize for the film Destany at All-Union Film Festival (1979), best actor award for the role of Emelyan Pugachyov at International Film Festival in Prague (1980), best actor award for the leading part in To Love the Russian Way at the Tashkent International Film Festival (1997).






  1. "Evgenyi Matveev at Soviet and Russian Cinema" (in Russian). Retrieved October 7, 2009.CS1 maint: unrecognized language (link)<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  2. 2.0 2.1 Veligzhanina, Anna (5 June 2003). "Lyubit po-russki - eto zhalet". Komsomolskaya Pravda. Retrieved 29 March 2011. (Russian)

External links