Mikhail Pugovkin was a Russian comedian known for his roles in Svadba v Malinovke - Wedding in Malinovka - (1967) and Иван Васильевич меняет профессию - John Vasilyevich changes his profession - (1973).
|John Vasilyevich changes his profession|
Mikhail Ivanovich Pugon'kin on July 13, 1923, in the village of Rameshki, Kostroma province, Russia, Soviet Union. At age 13, Pugovkin moved to Moscow. He had a dream of being an actor, but his first job was that of a metal worker at a Moscow factory. During the season of 1938-39, Pugovkin, still an amateur actor, gained attention among professionals due to his highly unusual talent as comedian. In 1940 he joined the troupe of Moscow Drama under directorship of Fedor Kaverin.
In 1941 Pugovkin made his film debut in Delo Artamonovykh (1941) by director Grigori Roshal. Then he was drafted in the Red Army, and fought in the front-lines against the Nazis during the Second World War. He served in a military intelligence unit and was decorated for his courage. In 1942, during a clandestine operation, Pugovkin was wounded in the leg and was hospitalized. His wound was so serious that a surgeon insisted on amputation, which Pugovkin declined, because he wanted to continue his acting career. He spent several months recuperating, and eventually re-gained his mobility and became able to work as an actor again.
In 1943, he applied to the Acting Studio of Moscow Art Theatre (MKhAT), although he neither had a high school diploma, nor any formal education. However, he made such a good impression at the entrance exams, that Ivan Moskvin petitioned to the Soviet authorities to accept Pugovkin. In 1947 he graduated as actor, and worked on stage with several companies in Murmansk and Vilnius, then moved back to Moscow and joined the company at Lenkom. From 1960 to 1978 he was a staff actor at Mosfilm Studio, then, from 1978 until 1991 he was a staff actor at the Gorky Film Studio.
Over the course of his acting career, he played leading and supporting roles in over 100 film and television productions. He worked with such directors as Mikhail Romm, Mikhail Kalatozov, Vladimir Petrov, Aleksandr Ptushko, Gerbert Rappaport, Venyamin Dorman, Andrei Tutyshkin,Oleg Dashkevich, Aleksandr Rou, Vladimir Basov, and Leonid Gayday, among others.
Pugovkin was designated People's Actor of the USSR (1988), and received numerous decorations from the Soviet and Russian authorities. From 1991 to 1999, Pugovkin resided in Mediterranean climate at the Black Sea resort of Yalta, Cimea. From 1999 to 2008 he lived in the apartments for actors of Moscow Art Theatre. He died on July 25, 2008 at his apartment in Moscow, and was laid to rest in Vagankovskoe Cemetery, Moscow, Russia.