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21 February 2011

Nikolai Merzlikin

Russian actor Nikolai Merzlikin (1945-2007) appeared in more than 40 films between 1965 and 2006. He made his most popular films in the late 1960’s and early 1970’s. In 1983 he was honored as Artist of the State by the Soviet Union.

Nikolai Merzlikin
Russian postcard by Izdanije Byuro Propogandy Sovietskogo Kinoiskusstva, nr. 2817, 1970. (This postcard was printed in an edition of 165.000 cards. The price was 6 kop.).

Signalman
Nikolai Nikolayevich Merzlikin (in Russian Николай МЕРЗЛИКИН) was born in the village of Sartyn'ya, Tyumen region, USSR (now Russia) in 1945. In 1965 while serving in the Army as a signalman, he unexpectedly attracted the intention of film director Tatiana Lioznova. She cast him in Rano Utrom/Early in the Morning (1965, Tatiana Lioznova). In this Gorky Film production an orphan girl is forced to face reality when her older brother (Merzlikin), after waiting some time, contemplates marriage. He started to study at the GITIS (the Russian Academy of Theatre Arts) and was trained by Joseph Moiseyevich Rajewski and Yevgenia Kozyrev. Meanwhile he appeared in the Mosfilm production Chelovyek, kotorovo ya liubliu/The Man I Love (1966, Yuli Garasik) and in the popular Russian-Polish war drama Zoshya (1967, Mikhail Bogin), about young Russian soldiers stationed in a Polish village in the summer of 1944. Merzlikin played supporting parts in another popular romantic drama, Yeshchyo raz pro lyubov/Once Again for Love (1968, Georgi Natanson), and in the drama Tri dnya Viktora Chernyshova/Three Days of Viktor Chernyshov (1968, Mark Osepyan) starring Gennadi Korolkov. That year he also appeared in another war drama, Daleko Na Zapade/Far in the West (1968, Aleksandr Faintsimmer), a story of comradeship of soldiers of different nationalities in the French Resistance during 1944. In 1969 he graduated at the GITIS.

Nikolai Merzlikin
Russian postcard by Izdanije Byuro Propogandy Sovietskogo Kinoiskusstva, nr. 7081, 1970. (This postcard was printed in an edition of 100.000 cards. The price was 8 kop.).

Nikolai Merzlikin
Russian postcard by Izdanije Byuro Propogandy Sovietskogo Kinoiskusstva, nr. 1060, 1981. (This postcard was printed in an edition of 50.000 cards. The price was 8 kop.).

The Year of Hunger
In 1971 Nikolai Merzlikin starred in the children’s film V Moskvye, Proezdom/Passing through Moscow (1971, Ilya Gurin), an anthology film with four episodes. From 1971 he worked as an actor of the Studio Theater in Moscow. In the cinema he appeared opposite Natalya Varley in Chiornie Sukhari/Black Dried Crust (1971, Herbert Rappaport), a coproduction with the East-German DEFA studio about the 'Year of Hunger', 1918, in which young Communists in Moscow send food to the revolutionary workers in Berlin. Very popular were the children’s films Chudak iz pyatogo B/The Boy From 5B (1972, Ilya Frez) and Samyy silnyy/The Strongest (1973, Oleg Nikolayevsky). In these years he starred in several films including Nadezhda/Hope (1973, Mark Donskoy), Abituriyentka/The Graduate (1973, Aleksei Mishurin), and Bez prava na oshibku/Without the right to error (1974, Aleksandr Faintsimmer). In the following years his film roles became smaller. Merzlikin played a supporting part in the war film Pogovorim, brat/Talk With Me, Brother (1978, Yuri Chulyukin) and another one in the romantic comedy Ottsy i dedy/Fathers and Grandfathers (1982, Yuri Yegorov). Although these films were seldom shown in the west, they were quite popular in Eastern Europe. In 1983, the Soviet Union honored him as an Artist of the State. He continued to play small parts in little seen films like the Russian-American coproduction Sokrovishche moey semi/ My Family Treasure (1993, Rolfe Kanefsky, Edward Staroselsky) starring Dee Wallace and Theodore Bikel, and the Polish-Russian romantic drama Istota/Hatch (2000, Andrzej Czarnecki, Krzysztof Zanussi). His last film appearance was as a general in the crime film Zharkiy noyabr/A Hot November (2006, Olga Basova, Vladimir Basov Ml.). Nikolai Merzlikin died in 2007 of a heart attack in Moscow, Russia.

Nikolai Merzlikin
Russian postcard by Izdanije Byuro Propogandy Sovietskogo Kinoiskusstva, nr. 230. (This postcard was printed in an edition of 250.000 cards. The price was 6 kop.).

Nikolai Merzlikin
Russian postcard by Izdanije Byuro Propogandy Sovietskogo Kinoiskusstva, nr. 558. Photo: G. Ter-Ovanesova. (This postcard was printed in an edition of 300.000 cards. The price was 5 kop.).

Sources: BFI, OFDB (German), Peoples.ru, and IMDb.

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