“So let’s drink so that our desires always coincide with our capabilities,” is a toast that everyone who has ever watched “Prisoner of the Caucasus” knows. It is pronounced by the hero of Mikhail Gluzsky, the administrator of the hotel in which Shurik settled.
Mikhail Andreevich had many small but incredibly bright roles. And here’s what’s surprising: a master of the supporting role, and sometimes even an episode, he was never perceived as such. On the contrary, his name was always placed in a line of actors who did not exchange for small jobs. Well, of course! Gluzsky himself! November 21 marks the 105th anniversary of the birth of our favorite actor.
Started as a fitter
“I was probably a bad boy,” Mikhail Gluzsky intelligently recalled his barefoot childhood. He was born in Kyiv in 1918, but after the death of his father the family moved to Moscow. Little Misha grew up hooligan, and he was not accepted as a pioneer. He got into the theater quite by accident. The first place of work of the future star of Soviet cinema was a store, which we now know as TSUM, and then, in the 1930s, it was called “Mur and Merlise”. Now there was no time for hooliganism; no one would tolerate sloppiness in adult life.
Mikhail worked in the store as a fitter and at the same time took part in amateur performances.
“At the age of 17, I mostly played old people,” recalled Mikhail Andreevich. — When assigning roles in amateur performances, your desire was not really taken into account. So I played the old man Krutitsky in the play “There was no penny, but suddenly there was an altyn,” Doctor Bublik in “Platon the Krechet.”
The boy was noticed and recommended to study further, so he went to theater schools. But there were many who wanted to enroll, and Gluzsky, in his words, “was a young man spoiled by amateur performances, imitating something, copying someone, but Gluzsky himself was not there.” As a result, through an additional enrollment in 1936, he entered the film actor school at Mosfilm.
The actor himself said that he was full of enthusiasm; he, like all the youth of the country, strived for achievements. And my stepfather, an old Bolshevik, a party member since 1913, infected me with his ideas and ideals. In 1938, my stepfather was imprisoned. Because of this, young Gluzsky did not join the Komsomol, he was afraid that they would start delving into his biography. In subsequent years, he also did not join the party, he said, “I’m not ready.” But he was not disappointed in the Soviet Motherland and even in the 1990s refrained from criticizing the ideals of youth.
From Feuchtwanger to “Truckers”
Gluzsky began acting very early in those days. In 1938, he played in a film based on Leon Feuchtwanger’s book “The Oppenheim Family” about how Jews were treated in what became fascist Germany. By the beginning of the war, he already had several paintings under his belt. He met the superstars of the 1930s – Nikolai Kryuchkov and Boris Andreev. The masters turned out to be sincere people, without star fever.
“He was very democratic,” Gluzsky said about Kryuchkov, “he was never arrogant towards people: they say, I’m so famous, and who are you? I took this trait from him – to be who you are. We then played with him in plays.”
When the Great Patriotic War began, Mikhail Andreevich, as part of the acting teams, performed in front of the fighters. After the war, he worked in Germany, in the theater of a group of Soviet troops. Upon return, it was literally in great demand. He played at the Film Actor’s Theater and acted in films.
And in 1956 he almost became an enemy of the people. Almost. In the cult Soviet film “The Secret of Two Oceans,” which all the boys in the country watched ten times and knew by heart, he played the enemy spy Ivashev and had every chance of being stuck in the role of a scoundrel forever.
But no, Gluzsky brilliantly coped with the roles of ordinary Soviet people, and brave police officers, and wise writers.
In 1966, Leonid Gaidai called him to “Prisoner of the Caucasus,” and here the artist’s comedic talent was fully revealed.
“Once at the Film Actor’s Theater I played the role of the Georgian Shalva Bagridze,” said the artist, “and this role obviously gave my housemate Leonid Iovich Gaidai the idea to give me this small but memorable role. This is one of the few comedy roles that I have played. But it is very dear to me, and I keep it among my best works.”
But still, the directors saw Mikhail Andreevich in serious roles. Gleb Panfilov invited him to his first full-length film – the military drama “There is No Ford in Fire” – to play the role of the fiery Bolshevik Fokich.
When he was already over 80, Gluzsky appeared in one of the episodes of the famous TV series “Truckers.” Boris Galkin and Vladimir Gostyukhin helped his hero Andreich, whom they met by chance on their way. The beloved actor took the generally passable role very seriously. And his trademark sadness in his eyes and such a familiar voice made the series with his participation especially touching.
“I have a very large, good family,” the actor said modestly. Despite all the variety of roles in cinema and theater, in his personal life he was a monogamous man and an exemplary family man. After the war, Gluzsky married Ekaterina Peregudova.
“They met in 1949,” said Mikhail Andreevich’s daughter Maria. “Mom was married, and dad was going to leave for Germany, he signed a contract with the theater.”
At a friendly party in honor of May Day, young people walked and drank. And when the alcohol ran out, Mikhail Gluzsky volunteered to go to the station for more. The girl Katya, with whom they exchanged interested glances, offered to join him. They returned when everyone had already left, all this time they walked around Moscow at night.
“Mom insisted that they didn’t even hug,” Maria recalled. – We were just talking. All their lives they had something to talk about with each other.”
Mikhail went to Germany, but wrote short touching letters to Katya every day. Katya broke up with her husband and waited for his return, and when he returned, they immediately got married. And they lived together for half a century. Ekaterina Pavlovna worked at the Institute of Arts and studied theater. And she passed away two years after the death of Mikhail Andreevich.
She recalled her family happiness like this: “When some fools ask me how you managed to do everything like this, I can’t say anything worthwhile. It’s done – and that’s it.”
The couple had two children. Son Andrei (1951) graduated from the Moscow Art Theater School and worked at the Film Actor’s Theater. He had two children. Unfortunately, Andrei Mikhailovich passed away in 2011.
Gluzsky’s daughter Maria became a linguist, she gave her father a grandson and a granddaughter.
“Grandfather was sometimes strict,” the granddaughter recalled. “But incredible love always shone in his eyes.”
And the actor himself never ceased to thank fate: “In general, everything is fine with me. I have a very good relationship with my children.”
Mikhail Gluzsky died on June 15, 2001 from a heart attack.