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Post: The unhappy life of an emigrant: the tragic fate of Savely Kramarov


MOSCOW, March 20 – RIA Novosti, Pavel Surkov. In 1981, the world of Soviet cinema spread shocking news: the famous actor Savely Kramarov emigrated to Israel.

It was the first time that such a famous artist left the country – in fact, Kramarov, who starred in close to fifty films, was refused overseas release. This meant that the pictures with his participation had to be put “on the shelf”, which would deprive the viewer of a meeting with many of his favorite films.

Savely Kramarov - RIA Novosti, 1920, 20.03.2023
Savely Kramarov

Many knew about the complex character of Kramarov: for example, observing the Sabbath rule, he refused to shoot on Saturday, practiced yoga, and could sometimes be harshly categorical on the set.

The roles of the artist began to be given less and less, and it was then that the thought of emigration visited Kramarova. Moreover, he had an uncle in Israel – the only surviving native.

Savely Kramarov - RIA Novosti, 1920, 20.03.2023
Savely Kramarov

However, encountering the official refusal, Kramarov decided to take a desperate step: together with director Alexander Levenbuk, he wrote an open letter to Ronald Reagan, a former colleague from the film industry, who was recently elected President of the United States. The letter “from actor to actor” was read on the broadcast of an American radio station, and this decision ultimately determined the fate of Kramarov.

The Reagan couple in the car after the President's inauguration ceremony - RIA Novosti, 1920, 20.03.2023
Reagan couple in car after presidential inauguration ceremony

Some of his films really disappeared from cinemas and television screens: they stopped showing the musical fairy tale “Mother”, cut an episode from “Mimino” in which the hero Kramarov appeared in the courthouse (but then gave it back anyway) and even the once famous “Gentlemen of Fortune” Removed from New Year’s TV show.

A still from the movie Impossible!
“I can’t be!” A frame from the movie

He flew to Vienna: there was no direct communication between the USSR and Israel. But Kramarov did not reach the Promised Land: he went on tour in Europe and America. In fact, his second home was the USA. He relocated to Los Angeles with actor Ilya Baskin, an old friend he had co-starred with on The Big Change, now counting on him to start a wave of offers from leading directors and producers.

Kramarov’s first major role in the United States was as a KGB agent in the movie Moscow on the Hudson. The artist, noticed by American producers, was praised by the famous comedian Robin Williams.

American actor Robin Williams - RIA Novosti, 1920, 20.03.2023
American actor Robin Williams

But a truly significant career in Hollywood required grammar, and Kramarov didn’t speak perfect English. And he was offered suitable roles – for example, a Russian cosmonaut in the science fiction film “2010: the year of contact”, the sequel to the famous “Space Odyssey”.

And here Kramarov again showed his principled character: he was asked to caricature the image of an astronaut, but he refused – they say that they are brave and brave people, and he will not allow himself to caricature the role.

Radner Muratov, Georgy Vitsin and Savely Kramarov in the movie Gentlemen of Fortune - RIA Novosti, 1920, 20.03.2023
Radner Muratov, Georgy Vitsin and Savely Kramarov in the movie “Gentlemen of Fortune”

Kramarov’s behavior became instantly recognizable in the production world, and the number of moviegoers began to dwindle. Nevertheless, Kramarov tirelessly continued to pursue his own career: he joined the Screen Actors Guild (which was a huge success for an immigrant), found his own representative, and even managed to buy a small house for a fee. But he could only imagine the former glory that he knew in the USSR.

In 1992, when Kramarov again came to his homeland to participate in the Kinotavr festival, this fame fell on him with renewed vigor: fans dreamed of getting an autograph from the artist or taking pictures with him. And Kramarov returned to the domestic cinema, starring in the films “Nastya” and “Russian Trade”.

Savely Kramarov in Knight's Move
Savely Kramarov in the movie “Knight’s Move”

Kramarov continued to lead a healthy lifestyle: he did not eat meat, played sports, swam, did not drink alcohol and did curative fasting. But for some reason, the actress was most afraid of the possibility of cancer – and it was this insidious disease that awaited her.

Kramarov found himself in the hospital on the eve of another invitation to the cinema: he was still waiting for him to be shot not in comics, but in dramatic roles, and this would open a new chapter in his career.

But life turned out to be much more dramatic – an insidious disease led to complications, and then paralysis, the artist could not cope with the consequences. Savely Kramarov died in 1995, he was only 60 years old.

People's Artist of the USSR Yuri Nikulin as Dunce, Veteran artist Yevgeny Morgunov and People's Artist of the RSFSR Georgy Vitsin in the role of Coward in the movie Moonshiners - RIA Novosti, 1920, 19.03.2023

The glimmer of fame and sickness: how the famous Coward, Dunce, and Veteran broke up

Source: Ria

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