Aleksey Batalov is the actor, whom the time itself needed and raised him to the summit of glory rivaled by few in the national cinema art. His “racy of the soil” charm combined with genuine inborn intelligence has brought back to the national cinema that unique tradition, which makes the world presume some special nature and sophisticated spiritual constitution of the Russians.
Aleksey Vladimirovich Batalov was born on November 20, 1928 into the family of actors in Vladimir town. His father, Vladimir Batalov and his mother, Nina Olshanskaya, were actors of the famous MXAT (Moscow Art Academic Theatre).
“I was always supported by the example of non-compromising people that surrounded me. As a rule, they were all poor from the material point of view, but their spiritual wealth made up for it. Anna Akhmatova, Mikhail Zoshchenko, Boris Pasternak, Joseph Brodsky – I knew those people, I saw their life”, Aleksey Batalov recalls.
In July 1941 Aleksey with his mother was evacuated to the city of Bugulma in Tatarstan. There Nina Olshanskaya soon founded her own theatre, where her 14-year old son worked as a stagehand and later was entrusted some small roles. Aleksey Batalov After the war the family returned to Moscow where Aleksey upon finishing school entered the School-Studio attached to MXAT.
By the time of graduation Batalov was already married to Konstantin Rotov’s daughter, whom Aleksey had known since childhood. They named their daughter Nadezhda.
From 1950 to 1953 the actor was serving the army in the Soviet Army Theatre in Moscow. Upon returning to the “civvy street” Aleksey got a splendid present from Anna Akhmatova: she gave him money to dress up from top to toe. However he used the gift in a different way, buying a car instead, and thus fulfilling his longstanding dream.
The same year saw another dream of his come true: Batalov was admitted to the troupe of MXAT. At the same time he was invited to star as the worker Aleksey Zhurbin in the feature film Bolshaya semya (A Big Family) (1954).
Experiencing powerful love drama as an actor in the film, Aleksey did not avoid the same in real life. In 1954 when playing in Iosif Kheifits’ film Delo Rumyantseva (The Rumyantsev Case) (1955) he fell in love with the Gypsy dancer Gitana Leontenko, whom he married in the early 1960s. Unfortunately their daughter Maria suffered from an incurable disease…
In 1957 the legendary drama Letyat zhuravli (The Cranes Are Flying) (1957) by Mikhail Kalatozov was released. Though the role of Aleksey Batalov (Boris Borozdin) was very short in screen time, it became one of the best roles in the actor’s biography. It was to a great extent his merit that the film became the only Soviet full-length feature awarded with the Golden Palm at Cannes in 1958. ...