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“Meeting with Davydov was Both Difficult and Happy…”

23.10.2017

On October 25, 2017, it is the 100th anniversary of Pyotr Grigoryevich Chernov, a theatre and cinema actor, the RSFSR People’s Actor, the Stalin Prize winner. Among the cinema images created by him the most popular roles are Semyon Davydov in the film “Virgin Soil Upturned” (the film director A.Ivanov) and Bunchuk in the film “The Quiet Don” (the film director S.Gerasimov).

Pyotr Chernov was born on October 25, 1917, in Medvedchikovo Village of the Tomsk Region (now the Kemerovo Region). In the 1920s, his parents moved to a new place of residence, founded a hamlet which was called Chernov Hamlet.

The first school teacher of the future actor was Mariya Kuzminichna Bochillo who instilled love for poetry and artistic expression in children, staged school spectacles with children and awoke the first timid shoots of love for the stage in the soul of little Petya. He studied with enthusiasm, loved poetry by Pushkin, Mayakovsky, Yesenin and often recited them at the school parties.

Having graduated from the acting department of the Russian University of Theatrical Art (ГИТИС) in 1939, Pyotr Chernov worked at the Gomel Drama Theatre. During the Great Patriotic War he performed in concert groups at the front for the soldiers when at rest. In 1943, he joined the Moscow Academic Gorky Theatre, where he worked to the end of his life.

Pyotr Chernov was a wonderful actor who amazed with his realistic acting and versatility of his creative talent. He acted in spectacles based on the plays by A.N.Ostrovsky, M.Gorky, A.P.Chekhov, N.F.Pogodin, M.M.Roshchin, M.V.Shatrov, in the films “Petticoat Government”, “Moabit Notebook”, “Zatsepin Family”, Front”, “Salt of the Earth”, “To the Coming Century” and others. But he was especially successful and popular in the films based on Sholokhov’s works.

In 1957–1958, P.G.Chernov played a role of Bunchuk in the film “The Quiet Don”, then, in 1961, he acted as Semyon Davydov in “Virgin Soil Upturned”.

Chernov remembered about his work on the big, versatile and responsible role of Davydov: «Meeting with Davydov was both difficult and happy. It was difficult because I knew how warmly Sholokhov treated his hero. Before the start of the filming and during the work the filmmakers met with the writer. Mikhail Alexandrovich gave us a complete freedom of creation and willingly helped us with his advice. He warned me against making Davydov “an ideal hero”». The actor played the role of Davydov brilliantly.

In October of 1982, P.G.Chernov and an actor P.P.Glebov visited Stanitsa Vyoshenskaya, where they met with M.A.Sholokhov. The residents warmly recall the performances of the guests in the Palace of Culture, where a gala evening dedicated to the 50th anniversary of publication of the first book of “Virgin Soil Upturned” was held, and a meeting with the actors in the district library.

P.G.Chernov died on the 7 of January, 1988, in the prime of his creative work. A talented actor, a kind and hearty person, he left a bright mark in the history of the theatre and cinema, and in the hearts of millions of the viewers.

Larisa Bukina