Kirill Lavrov was a notable Russian actor, director and political figure who was also longtime Chairman of Theatrical Union of the USSR and the leader of Bolshoi Drama Theatre (BDT) in St. Petersburg (Leningrad), Russia.
He was born Kirill Yuryevich Lavrov on September 15, 1925, in Leningrad, USSR (now St. Petersburg, Russia), into a family with deep roots in St. Petersburg society. He was baptized by the Russian Orthodox Church of St. John the Divine in Lavrushinskoe Podvorie Monastery in Leningrad.
Young Kirill Lavrov was brought up in Leningrad (St. Petersburg), in a noble family which was part of the St. Petersburg cultural milieu. His grandmother, named Olga Leonidovna Lykoshina, was related to writer Aleksandr Griboyedov and belonged to Polish Nobility. His grandfather was member of Imperial Humanitarian Society and Director of Gymnasium in St. Petersburg. His father, named Yuri Lavrov, was an actor at the Bolshoi Drama Theatre (BDT) in St. Petersburg, where his stage costumes were designed by Alexandre Benois. His mother, named Olga Ivanovna Gudim-Levkovich, was an actress.
Kirill Lavrov's family was at risk during the dictatorship of Joseph Stalin, because Lavrov's grandfather, a member of Imperial Humanitarian Society in St. Petersburg, was an anti-communist who fled Russia after the Bolshevik Revolution of 1917. Russian intellectuals suffered badly under the dictatorship of Joseph Stalin. The murder of the popular governor of Leningrad, Sergei Kirov, triggered massive extermination of intellectuals and destruction of culture and society under repressions known as "The Great Purge." In 1938, the Lavrovs escaped repressions by moving from Leningrad to Kiev.
During the Second World War Kirill Lavrov was evacuated to Novosibirsk in Siberia. In 1943, then 17-year-old Lavrov applied to join the Red Army to fight the Nazis. He was sent to Astrakhan Aviation Technical School from which he graduated in 1945, and then served as an aircraft technician in the Air Force in the Kuril Island of Iturup until 1950. He was also an amateur actor at a local army club.
In 1950 Kirill Lavrov reunited with his parents in Kiev. There he became a professional actor of the Russian Drama Theatre named after Lesya Ukrainka, where his father was the leading actor at that time. Although Kirill Lavrov did not study acting professionally, he had a natural talent. He made his stage acting debut in Kiev, and appeared alongside with his father in several plays at the Russian Drama Theatre named after Lesya Ukrainka. In 1955, Lavrov came back to Leningrad; he was invited by director Georgi Tovstonogov and joined the troupe at BDT.
From 1955 - 2007 Kirill Lavrov was a permanent member of the legendary troupe at the Bolshoi Drama Theatre (BDT) in St. Petersburg (Leningrad). Lavrov worked under directorship of Georgi Tovstonogov for 33 years. After the death of Tovstonogov, Lavrov remained the leader of outstanding ensemble of actors at BDT. There his stage partners were such stars as 奥列格·巴希拉什维利, 塔季扬娜·多罗宁娜, 阿丽萨·弗雷因德利赫, Lyudmila Makarova, Svetlana Kryuchkova, 季纳伊达·沙尔科, Valentina Kovel, 因诺肯季·斯莫克图诺夫斯基, 谢尔盖·尤尔斯基, Nikolay Trofimov, 奥列格·鲍里索夫, 弗拉季斯拉夫·斯特尔热利奇克, Yefim Kopelyan, 叶甫盖尼·列别杰夫, Georgiy Shtil, 弗塞沃洛德·库兹涅佐夫, 帕维尔·卢斯佩卡耶夫, Vadim Medvedev, Yuriy Demich, 列奥尼特·聂伟托姆斯基, Gennadiy Bogachyov, Andrey Tolubeev, and many other remarkable Russian actors.
In 1989, Kirill Lavrov was unanimously elected the Artistic Director of the Bolshoi Drama Theatre (BDT) in St. Petersburg. He managed to preserve the artistic tradition established by the great Russian director Georgi Tovstonogov, and to rename BDT after G. A. Tovstonogov. Kirill Lavrov was awarded the State Prizes of the USSR and Russia for his works on stage and in film. He received numerous decorations and was designated People's Actor of the USSR (1972). He was elected representative to the Supreme Soviet of the USSR, and later was also an active political and cultural figure in the new Russia. From 1992 - 2006 Lavrov was President of the International Confederation of Theatrical Unions.
Outside of his acting and political career, Kirill Lavrov was a dedicated football (soccer) fan, a passion he inherited from his father. Kirill Lavrov was a good sportsman since his youth; he was a member of the youth football (soccer) team at "Spartak" club in Leningrad. He also trained in skiing, gymnastics and fencing. For many years, Lavrov was a captain of the football team of actors at BDT, and also a follower of Zenit, a football club in St. Petersburg.
Kirill Lavrov was Honorary Citizen of St. Petersburg. He died of a heart failure, aged 81, on April 27, 2007, in St Petersburg. His burial service was held at the Bolshoi Drama Theatre (BDT) and then at the same Russian Orthodox Church where he was baptized as a child. Kirill Lavrov was laid to rest next to his late wife in Bogoslovskoe Cemetery in St. Petersburg, Russia.