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Actor Yury Solomin, Famous for His Role in 'Dersu Uzala,' Dies at Age 88

Actor Yuri Solomin. Sergei Kiselev / Moskva News Agency

Actor Yury Solomin died at home in Moscow on Thursday at the age of 88.

Solomin was a stage and screen actor, the artistic director of the Maly Theater from 1988 until his death, as well as a director and teacher. In his career he played more than 50 roles at the Maly Theater and in more than 60 films and television series. He also served as Minister of Culture for Russia from 1990 to 1992.

On television he was probably best known for his role in the 1984 series "TASS Is Authorized to Declare...” He is remembered for his roles in “Melodies of a White Night” (1976) and “An Ordinary Miracle” (1978), but especially for his starring role in “Dersu Uzala” (1975), a Soviet-Japanese film directed and co-written by Akira Kurosawa. This was the only film Kurosawa made in a language other than Japanese and the only film he shot on 70mm stock. The film about a Russian explorer (played by Solomin) and a native trapper won the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film and a raft of other awards.

Over his career Solomin was given several dozen Russian state and cultural awards, including State Prize of the Russian Federation, four orders For Merit to the Fatherland, and People’s Artist of the RSFSR and USSR. He was also awarded People's Artist of Kyrgyzstan (1996) and the Order of the Academy of Arts of Japan "for contribution to world culture."

Solomin suffered a stroke in November 2023 and had been hospitalized until January 9, when he was released to his home. He will be buried on Monday in Troyekurovsky Cemetery next to his wife, Olga, who passed away in 2019.

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