• 6 April 1904
  •  Ostrov, Pskov Governorate, Russian Empire [now Pskov Oblast, Russia]

Vasiliy Merkurev


Vasili Vasilyevich Merkuryev was born on April 6, 1904, in Ostrov, Pskov province, Russia. He was the youngest of seven children in the family. His father, named Vasili Ilyich Merkuryev, was a grocer in the city of Ostrov, near Pskov. His mother, named Anna Ilyinichna, was a German immigrant. Young Merkuryev began his acting career in 1920, as an apprentice at the theatre of the city of Ostrov. In 1926 he graduated from the Leningrad Institute of Theatrical Art. Merkuryev made his film debut in 1935, he played a supporting role of Stas in 'Inzhener Goff' (aka.. Zemlya vperedi or Land Ahead, 1935). His professional acting career spanned over 50 years. Merkuryev played more than 40 roles in film and made over 100 stage works. From 1937-1978 Vasili Merkuryev worked with the Pushkin Drama Theatre (Aleksandrinski Theatre) in Leningrad (St. Petersburg). He was invited to the troupe of the oldest Russian Drama Theatre by his acting teacher Leonid Vivyen. Merkuryev was among the leading actors of the Pushkin Drama Theatre. There his stage partners were such remarkable actors as Nikolay Cherkasov, Nikolai Simonov, Konstantin Skorobogatov, Yuriy Tolubeev, Aleksandr Borisov, Bruno Frejndlikh, Vladimir Chestnokov, Vladimir Erenberg, Leonid Vivyen, Igor Gorbachyov, Olga Lebzak, Nina Mameyeva', Lidiya Shtykan, Nina Urgant, Valentina Panina, and other notable Russian actors. Vasili Merkuryev was awarded the State prize of the USSR three times: for supporting role in 'Glinka' (1947), for supporting role in 'Povest o nastoyaschem cheloveke' (1949) and for the leading role in 'Donetskie shakhtery' (1952). He also received the Stanislavsky State Prize (posthumously in 1979) for his stage works and other awards and decorations for his works in theatre and film. Merkuryev was honored with the title of the People's Artist of the USSR (1964). From 1932-1978 Merkuryev was a professor at the Leningrad Institute of Theatre, Music and Cinematography. There he led acting class together with his wife, Irina Vsevolodovna Meyerhold, daughter of Vsevolod Meyerhold. Vasili Merkuryev was known for his compassion and legendary generosity. He shared his money and food with his students during the times when they were struggling to survive. He adopted three children of his brother, Pyotr Merkuryev, who was executed in 1939, under dictatorship of Joseph Stalin. He also named his son, Pyotr Merkurev, in the memory of his brother. Vasili Merkuryev died on May 12, 1978, in Moscow, Russia, and was laid to rest in Necropolis of The Masters of Art "Literatorskie mostki" at Volkovskoe Cemetery in St. Petersburg, Russia.


Movie Name Release Date
Όταν περνούν οι γερανοί – Letyat zhuravli (1957) March 21, 1960