Yuri Lyubimov is a Russian actor and director, born in Yaroslavl, Russia in 1917, and best known as the founder and leader of the legendary Taganka Theatre company in Moscow, Soviet Union.
In 1934 Lyubimov entered the acting Studio of Moscow Art Theatre (MKhAT - 2) in Moscow, there he made his acting debut appearing in stage play Molba o zhizni (Prayor for life). In 1964 Lyubimov was appointed artistic director of the Taganka Theatre in Moscow. During the Soviet era, Lyubimov directed over 30 plays at Taganka, and eventually made his company one of the most popular theatrical troupes in the former Soviet Union. From 1964 to the early 1980s at the Taganka Theatre Lyubimov worked with such actors as Vladimir Vysotskiy, Valeriy Zolotukhin, Leonid Filatov, Alla Demidova, Venyamin Smekhov Ivan Bortnik, Zhanna Bolotova, Natalya Sayko, Nikolay Gubenko, and others.
Lyubimov’s productions at Taganka represented a new type of art and contributed to awaking the public conscience in the Soviet Union. During the 1980s Lyubimov was censored by the Soviet authorities and forced to leave and work outside of the Soviet Union. During his involuntary emigration, he directed successful stage productions in Austria, Britain, Italy, Israel, United States, Sweden and many other nations across the world. In 1988, during the openness of “perestroika” by Mikhail Gorbachev, Yuri Lyubimov returned to the Soviet Union and re-gained his directorial position at the Taganka Theatre.
Lyubimov staged over 100 dramas and operas. Having dominated Russian theatre for half a century, he died at 97.