65 (passed away Oct. 10th, 1985)
Jul. 11th, 1920
Vladivostok, Primorsky province, Russia
Yul Brynner's Main TV Roles
Main Movie Roles1976 - Futureworld
1975 - The Ultimate Warrior
1973 - Westworld
1972 - Fuzz
1969 - The Magic Christian
1966 - Cast a Giant Shadow
1966 - Triple Cross
1965 - Morituri
1962 - Taras Bulba
1960 - The Magnificent Seven
1959 - Solomon and Sheba
1958 - The Buccaneer
1958 - The Brothers Karamazov
1956 - The King and I
1956 - The Ten Commandments
1956 - Anastasia
1949 - Port of New York
Guest TV Roles[Complete List]
Exotic leading man of American films, famed as much for his completely bald head as for his performances, Yul Brynner masked much of his life in mystery and outright lies designed to tease the gullible. It was not until the publication Empire and Odysseu by his son Yul "Rock" Brynner in 2006 that many of the details of Brynner's early life became clear. He sometimes claimed to be a half-Swiss, half-Japanese named Taidje Khan, born on the island of Sakhalin; in reality he was the son of Boris Bryner, a Swiss-Russian engineer and inventor, and Marousia Blagovidova, the daughter of a Russian doctor. He was born in their home town of Vladivostok on 11 July 1920, and named Yuli after his grandfather Jules Bryner. When Yuli's father abandoned the family, his mother took him and his sister Vera to Harbin, Manchuria, where they attended a YMCA school. In 1934 Yuli's mother took her children to Paris. Her son was sent to the exclusive Lycée Moncelle, but his attendance was spotty. He dropped out and became a musician, playing guitar in the nightclubs among the Russian gypsies who gave him his first real sense of family. He met luminaries such as Jean Cocteau and became an apprentice at the Theatre des Mathurins. He worked as a trapeze artist with the famed Cirque d'Hiver company. He traveled to the U.S. in 1941 to study with acting teacher Michael Chekhov and toured the country with Chekhov's theatrical troupe. That same year he debuted in New York as Fabian in "Twelfth Night" (billed as Youl Bryner). After working in a very early TV series, "Mr. Jones and His Neighbors" (1944), he played on Broadway in "Lute Song", with Mary Martin (I), winning awards and mild acclaim. He and his wife, actress Virginia Gilmore, starred in the first TV talk show, "Mr. and Mrs." (1948). Brynner then joined CBS as a television director. He made his film debut in Port of New York (1949). Two years later Mary Martin recommended him for the part he would forever be known for: the King in Richard Rodgers (I)' and Oscar Hammerstein II's musical "The King and I". Brynner became an immediate sensation in the role, repeating it for film (The King and I (1956)) and winning the Oscar for Best Actor. For the next two decades he maintained a starring film career despite the exotic nature of his persona, performing in a wide range of roles from Egyptian pharaohs to Western gunfighters, almost all with the same shaved head and indefinable accent. In the 1970s he returned to the role that had made him a star, and spent most of the rest of his life touring the world in "The King and I". When he developed lung cancer in the mid-1980s, he left a powerful public service announcement denouncing smoking as the cause, for broadcast after his death. The cancer and its complications, after a long illness, ended his life. Brynner was cremated and his ashes buried in a remote part of France, on the grounds of the Abbey of Saint-Michel de Bois Aubry, a short distance outside the village of Luzé. He remains one of the most fascinating, unusual and beloved stars of his time.
- His paternal grandmother was Mongolian.
- When he found out he would be playing Pharaoh Rameses II opposite 'Charlton Heston' (qv)'s Moses in _The Ten Commandments (1956)_ (qv) and that he would be shirtless for most of the film, he began a rigorous weight lifting program because he did not want to be physically overshadowed by Charlton Heston (which explains his buffer than normal physique during _The King and I (1956)_ (qv) another film he was set to work on at the time.)
- 'Audrey Hepburn' (qv) is the godmother of his daughter Victoria.
- Appeared in three different films with 'Eli Wallach' (qv): _The Magnificent Seven (1960)_ (qv), _Poppies Are Also Flowers (1966)_ (qv) and _Romance of a Horsethief (1971)_ (qv).
- Mentioned in the popular mid-1980s song "One Night in Bangkok," sung by 'Murray Head (I)' (qv), from the soundtrack of the musical "Chess".
- Is the only actor to appear in both _The Magnificent Seven (1960)_ (qv) and its first sequel, _Return of the Seven (1966)_ (qv). He did not, however, appear in either of the other sequels, _Guns of the Magnificent Seven (1969)_ (qv) and _The Magnificent Seven Ride! (1972)_ (qv).
- Apprentice of 'Michael Chekhov' (qv).
- One of only eight actors to have won both a Tony and an Oscar for having portrayed the same roles on stage and screen. The others are 'Joel Grey' (qv) (_Cabaret (1972)_ (qv)), 'Shirley Booth' (qv) (_Come Back, Little Sheba (1952)_ (qv)), 'Rex Harrison (I)' (qv) (_My Fair Lady (1964)_ (qv)), 'Anne Bancroft (I)' (qv) (_The Miracle Worker (1962)_ (qv)), 'Paul Scofield (I)' (qv) (_A Man for All Seasons (1966)_ (qv)), 'José Ferrer (I)' (qv) (_Cyrano de Bergerac (1950)_ (qv)) and 'Jack Albertson' (qv) (_The Subject Was Roses (1968)_ (qv)).
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