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Innocent Smoktunovsky. Favorite

He was missing, knew everything about hunger, wandered around summer Moscow in a ski suit, a planet was named after him, and he kept his whole life on one straw, which gave him love and faith in goodness … Today he could have turned 86 years old.

How do we remember Smoktunovsky? Probably, each has its own image, consisting of many different theater and film roles. For most, of course, all the same from the movie roles.

The roles of nervous, complex people, often close to madness, brilliantly played by Innokenty Mikhailovich so tightly intertwined with our perception of this personality that they almost hid it.

Innokenty Smoktunovsky as Hamlet
Meanwhile, the boy Kesha, who was born in the godforsaken village of the Krasnoyarsk Territory and eventually became the national artist Smoktunovsky, naturally had a very persistent character. The fate of all children born in the 20-30s of the twentieth century was difficult. But some were more “lucky” than others. Kesha was the second in a large family of Smoktunovichs. Two waves of terrible famine, crippled many destinies. Parents, trying to feed their children, did everything: Kesha’s mother, who found work in a sausage factory, stole bones. Innokenty Mikhailovich remembered the taste of the broth from these bones until the end of his days. Therefore, when the parents gave Kesha and his older brother to raise an aunt (father’s sister), this did not offend the boy.

It became more difficult later, when life was a little better, but quarrels began between mother and aunt – he loved both, and it was impossible to choose. At school, too, not everything was smooth: stubbornness and the desire to defend their point of view annoyed teachers. The only outlet was the drama club, in which the boy signed up after the first time (at 14 years old) visited the theater. However, after two years, all this ceased to matter: the war began, my father went to the front, and the shoulders of the elder brothers – Vladimir and Innokentii fell under the responsibility of the family (there were four more younger ones).

Surprisingly, even that first work was related to cinema and theater. Innocent studied film projection and worked in the theater as an extra. Not working long. In January 1943, he was taken to a military school, but because he collected the potatoes left in the field during school hours, he was stripped of his officer rank and sent to the front, although he was not yet 18 … He immediately fell into hell – to the Kursk Bulge. Before the New Year of 1944, the family received a short message “missing.”

In fact, he was not missing, but was captured. Miraculously fled. I got to Berlin. Received two medals “For Courage”. But … “he was captured.” In the postwar years in the USSR, it was like a stigma. Therefore, when he was expelled from the Krasnoyarsk Theater due to his inanimate character and terrible constraint, he went … to Norilsk.

“I went because,” Innokenty Mikhailovich explained years later, “they couldn’t send me anywhere else, a former prisoner of war, except to the North Pole … So I decided to get lost in Norilsk, the ninth circle of Stalin’s hell, among the exiles and the camps “And then, I just had nowhere to go – according to the regulations on the passport regime, I had no right to live in thirty-nine cities. I was only allowed to go to Krasnoyarsk because I came from there.”

But Norilsk turned out to be exactly what was needed to flourish a powerful talent. After all, all the color of the actors who got into the Gulag gathered there …

The first talent of Smoktunovsky (he changed his surname, the former – Smoktunovich – was similar to the Jewish one. For the USSR it was too much …) noted Georgy Zhzhenov. He recommended it to Raikin and in every possible way persuaded him to go to Leningrad. But Innokenty Mikhailovich arrived in Leningrad only after 10 years. Before that there was a long and difficult journey – Makhachkala, Stalingrad, Moscow.

Smoktunovsky did not go to Moscow for fame, but simply because there was nothing more to lose: everything was perfect at the Stalingrad Theater. Some time. But soon the first wife of Smoktunovsky became interested in another. There was a conflict that came to a fight with an opponent, and the theater’s trade union committee decided that one of the spouses should leave the troupe. So in 1955 Innokenty Smoktunovsky was left without work and without a wife.

Moscow met the actor with a categorical “no.” Smoktunovsky unsuccessfully upholstered the thresholds of all Moscow theaters. After quite a long time, I managed to get a job in Lenkom. And what a job! One-time cast without words, for mere pennies. To survive, I had to sell almost everything that was. Of the clothes there was only an old ski suit. But, as they say, “there would be no happiness, but misfortune helped.” In the costume theater, Innocent met a girl who became his second wife. It was Solomei (or, as Innokenty called, Solomka) that helped him to make the necessary acquaintances and finally get a normal job – after the wedding, Smoktunovsky got a “residence permit” in Moscow.
Innokenty Smoktunovsky with his wife, Solomeya Mikhailovna
This is where our “Favorites” begins. After 1957, Innokenty Mikhailovich played 80 roles in the cinema, many roles in the theater, participated in radio shows, voiced films …

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