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Kirill Lavrov died at the age of 81 from a long-term illness at his home in Russia's second-largest city early Friday
Kirill Lavrov, a celebrated Russian actor and art director of St. Petersburg's leading theater, died at the age of 81 from a long-term illness at his home in Russia's second-largest city early Friday. Lavrov, the art director of the Bolshoi Drama Theater (BDT) for more than 50 years, will be laid to rest Sunday in a St. Petersburg cemetery next to his wife, as the actor requested in his will, a theater official said. The church service will be held in a church he regularly attended since 2000. The actor, who played about 60 roles in his lifetime, last appeared onstage April 3 in a town outside St. Petersburg. He died on the same day as another celebrated Russian cultural figure, cellist Mstislav Rostropovich. Lavrov was born September 15, 1925 to a family of an actor. As a 17-year-old, he volunteered for service on the front lines in early 1943, but was sent to eastern Kazakhstan instead to train as an aviation mechanic. After the war, the future actor worked as a plane technician on the Kuril Islands for five years. In 1950, Lavrov, who never received dramatic training, was enrolled in the Russian Drama Theater in Kiev after demonstrating his acting skills to art director Konstantin Khokhlov. Lavrov and his father worked in the theater together. "I never studied acting, but my father was such a good school for me ... and Konstantin Khokhlov who worked with Stanislavsky shared so much knowledge with me that you can never learn at an institute." In Kiev, Lavrov met with his wife-to-be, Valentina Nikolayeva, who came to work at the theater after graduating from a drama school in Moscow. In 1955, the actor, his wife and son Sergei followed Khokhlov to the Bolshoi Drama Theater of St. Petersburg. But Khokhlov died soon after, and Lavrov was so grief-stricken that he even considered moving to a different town. However, his colleagues asked him to wait a year, and he ended up staying half a century. Lavrov played many roles in such famous performances as Anton Chekhov's Three Sisters and Uncle Vanya, Nikolai Gogol's Government Inspector and Mikhail Sholokhov's Quiet Flows the Don. In Soviet films, Lavrov acted as Lenin on several occasions. The actor confessed he considered the leader of the Russian Bolshevik revolution to be one of the most interesting personalities of the century, but added that he "did not idealize the man but rather tried to scrap all the 'gild' off him." One of Lavrov's last roles was that of Pontius Pilate in the television adaptation of Master and Margarita, based on Mikhail Bulgakov's novel, which was broadcast to national acclaim in 2006. Lavrov's colleagues have described him as an intelligent and modest man. Anatoly Iksanov, former director of the BDT, said Lavrov was his role model in the 20 years he had known him. "The tragic news of his death struck me hard. Kirill Yuryevich was a reference point for me in everything that happened in life," Iksanov said. "And I do not understand today how we will go on without people like him." Dmitry Ivaneyev, a history expert at the Lenfilm studio of St. Petersburg who had known Lavrov for over 50 years, said his death was an enormous loss. "He really was an exceptional man with a successful artistic career, and we will remember his human, simple and very responsive characters," he said. "He was a person without vainglory who always took time to listen to those who shared his professional life."
Print Kirill Lavrov died at the age of 81 from a long-term illness at his home in Russia's second-largest city early Friday Bookmark Kirill Lavrov died at the age of 81 from a long-term illness at his home in Russia's second-largest city early Friday

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