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Looking at those comedic images in which the actor appeared on the screen, it was impossible to guess so that Anatoly Dmitrievich Papanov was a man with a difficult fate. Despite the horrors of the war, seen with his own eyes, the artist remained optimistic and radiant smile that inspired the audience of the Soviet Union until the end of days.

During his work in the cinema and theater, the artist was awarded many awards celebrating his merits, and in 1976, the Soviet astronomer Lyudmila Chernykh named the asteroid No. 2480 discovered by her in honor of the actor. In 2012, 25 years after the death of the artist, Anatoly Dmitrievich was erected a monument in his small homeland – in the city of Vyazma.

Childhood and youth
Anatoly Papanov was born in Vyazma of the Smolensk province on October 31, 1922, at a turning point for the state. Anatoly’s father is an officer Dmitry Filippovich, and his mother is a fashionista Elena Boleslavovna, a Polish national who secretly converted from Catholicism to Orthodoxy. Parents were people of imperial hardening, and they felt disapproval of the changes around them. In addition, the spouses were faithful Christians and raised children in religious traditions.

Young Papanov adored his parents, especially his strict but attentive father, and strove to be like him. Papanov Jr. also adopted the love of theatrical art from his parents. Dmitry Filippovich was fond of acting from his youth, constantly participated in amateur performances and organized some of them.

In the late 1920s, the Papanov family moved to Moscow. There Tolik went to school, but study did not attract the boy. Young Papanov hooligan, interrupted from two to three, and as a result, he graduated from the school with difficulty. With such marks, the young man did not even think about higher education. He got a foundry worker in the repair shop of the plant and took up acting.

A friend of Papanov once called him to audition for the Working Youth Theater, and the rude, sincere youth somehow liked the admissions committee. He quickly became a star in the troupe, and it seemed that he had a bright future ahead.

However, the Great Patriotic War soon broke out, and on the very first day a young worker was called up for arms. For three months Papanov learned to control anti-aircraft guns, after which the entire group was sent to the front. Later, the great actor recalled what horror he had to go through. There was a case when most of the company, consisting of the same youths as Papanov, died under fire. Anatoly himself miraculously got out alive, although wounded, the young man had to amputate 2 toes. Papanov could not walk normally after that, and therefore he was demobilized.

However, the young man did not go home right away. For several months, a soldier in the creative team he assembled traveled to front-line hospitals, supporting fellow sufferers with songs, poems, and improvised performances, which were always successful. Then Papanov thought that perhaps creative, acting is his vocation. Once again in Moscow, the young man decided to enter the theater institute.

Anatoly came to GITIS already when the entrance exams ended. But since there was a shortage of students in the institution, the rector of the institute Mikhail Tarkhanov suggested that the future actor try to do right now by reading some of the poems. After listening, Mikhail Mikhailovich was surprised by the professionalism of the applicant. As a result of a short conversation, Papanov was accepted to college and enrolled immediately in the 2nd year.

Initially, the actor did not stand out among the students, but as soon as the rehearsals began, it became clear that this young man was a man of outstanding talent. When in 1946 a young actor left the walls of an educational institution, he was already known in theatrical circles of Moscow. Papanov was invited to the Moscow Art Theater and the Maly Theater, and the young man received other prestigious offers. However, Anatoly refused and, together with the rest of the course and his young wife, went to Lithuania, however, the actor did not stay there for a long time.

In 1948, director Andrei Goncharov offered Papanov and his wife a place in the Satire Theater, and the couple moved back to Moscow. This proposal has affected the whole future life of the couple. In his youth, the actor played only episodic and secondary roles. Only in 1954 he was entrusted with a significant role – an urgent need to replace a sick colleague.

After the premiere, the directors finally saw the potential in the man. After 3 years, the artist received the first central role. The success of the play with his participation was so loud that the expression “go to Papanov” appeared in theatrical circles. Even from the famous Kisa Vorobyanininov, Papanov managed to make a deep, tragic figure, changing the perception of this image for the average theater-goer.

In 1962, the artist took part in the production of the play “The House Where Hearts Break” by Bernard Shaw. This product of exceptional complexity, few dared to put.

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