Ilinskii, Igor

The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Il’inskii, Igor’ Vladimirovich


Born July 11 (24), 1901, in Moscow. Soviet Russian actor. People’s Artist of the USSR (1949); Hero of Socialist Labor (1974). Member of the CPSU from 1960.

Il’inskii studied in the theater school of F. F. Komissarzhev-skii in 1917. He made his debut at the V. F. Komissarzhevskaia Theater in Moscow in 1918, subsequently performing in Moscow in musical comedies and at the cabaret The Bat, the Terevsat (Theater of Revolutionary Satire), and the First Studio of the Moscow Art Theater. In 1920 his stage career became closely linked with the activities of V. E. Meyerhold; Il’inskii appeared in Meyerhold’s productions at the First Theater of the RSFSR and the Meyerhold Theater. He portrayed the Compromiser and Prisypkin in Mayakovsky’s Mystery Bouffe and The Bedbug, Bruno in Crommelynck’s The Magnificent Cuckold, Arkashka Schastlivtsev in Ostrovskii’s The Forest, and Raspliuev in Su-khovo-Kobylin’s Krechinskii’s Wedding.

At the same time Il’inskii became well known as a film actor, particularly for his performances in comic roles in the films Aelita, The Cigarette Salesgirl From Mossel’prom, The Garment Cutter From Torzhok, The Case of the Three Million, Miss Mend, and The Doll With Millions. He played the part of By valov in the film comedy Volga-Volga (1938) with great success.

Since 1938, Il’inskii has been performing at the Malyi Theater, where his first role was Khlestakov in Gogol’s The Inspector-General. He later portrayed Arkashka Schastlivtsev and Shmaga in Ostrovskii’s The Forest and Guilty Though Guiltless, Zagoret-skii in Griboedov’s Woe From Wit, and Chesnok in Kornei-chuk’s On the Steppes of the Ukraine. Il’inskii has demonstrated the ability to perform a wide variety of roles ranging from outspoken buffoons to individuals requiring subtle and deeply psychological portrayals. He is able to express gentle, sympathetic humor and also irate, castigating satire.

Il’inskii’s roles during the 1940’s and 1950’s included Iusov in Ostrovskii’s A Profitable Post (1946) and Foma Opiskin in The Hamlet of Stepanchikovo, an adaptation of Dostoevsky’s work. Among his screen roles was Ogurtsov in Carnival Night. A new stage in the development of his talent was reached in his interpretation of Akim in L. N. Tolstoy’s The Power of Darkness. He portrayed the highly dramatic image of the peasant with epic simplicity and power. A masterful speaker, Il’inskii has performed on radio and on the music-hall stage.

Since 1958 he has been involved in the production of plays. At the Malyi Theater he staged an adaptation of Thackeray’s Vanity Fair (1958, together with V. N. Tsygankov), Trenev’s Liubov’ Iarovaia (1960, together with Tsygankov), an adaptation of Flaubert’s Madame Bovary (1963), and Gogol’s The Inspector-General (1965, he played the Governor). Il’inskii received the State Prize of the USSR in 1941, 1942, and 1951. He was also awarded the Order of Lenin, three other orders, and various medals.


Sam o sebe. Moscow, 1961.
So zritelem naedine. Moscow, 1964.


Markov, P. A. “Igor’ Il’inskii.” In Teatral’nyeporlrety. Moscow-Leningrad, 1939.
Khaichenko, G. Igor’ Il’inskii. Moscow, 1962.
Vladimirova, Z. Igor’ Il’inskii. Moscow, 1967.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.