Eldar Ryazanov
Эльдар Рязанов
Ryazanov in 2008
Eldar Aleksandrovich Ryazanov

(1927-11-18)18 November 1927
Died30 November 2015(2015-11-30) (aged 88)
Resting placeNovodevichy Cemetery, Moscow
Occupation(s)Film director, screenwriter, actor, television presenter, poet, dramaturg, pedagogue
Years active1950–2009
Notable work
TitlePeople's Artist of the USSR (1984)
SpouseEmma Abaydullina
AwardsUSSR State Prize (1977)

Eldar Aleksandrovich Ryazanov (Russian: Эльдар Александрович Рязанов; 18 November 1927 – 30 November 2015) was a Soviet and Russian film director, screenwriter, poet, actor and pedagogue whose popular comedies, satirizing the daily life of the Soviet Union and Russia, are celebrated throughout the former Soviet Union and former Warsaw Pact countries.[1][2][3]


Eldar Aleksandrovich Ryazanov was born in Samara. His father, Aleksandr Semyonovich Ryazanov, was a diplomat who worked in Tehran. His mother, Sofya Mikhailovna (née Shusterman), was of Jewish descent.[4]

In 1930, the family moved to Moscow, and soon his parents divorced. He was then raised by his mother and her new husband, Lev Mikhailovich Kopp. In 1937 his father was arrested by the Stalinist government and subsequently served 18 years in the correctional labour camps.[5]

Ryazanov began to create films in the early 1950s. In 1955, Ivan Pyryev, then a major force in the Soviet film industry, suggested to him to begin work on his film Carnival Night. At first, Ryazanov refused, as he wanted to make "serious films", but then was convinced to begin, as Pyryev believed that "anybody could shoot a melodrama, but only a few can create good comedy."[6] He won instant success, and began to release more films.

He was named a People's Artist of the USSR in 1984, and received the USSR State Prize in 1977. He won the Nika Award for Best Director in 1991 for the film Promised Heaven.

Among his most famous films are Carnival Night (1955), Hussar Ballad (1962), Beware of the Car (1966), The Irony of Fate (1975), Office Romance (1977), The Garage (1980), Station for Two (1982) and A Cruel Romance (1984). Ryazanov's main genre was tragicomedy.

Illness and death

Ryazanov had an acute ischemic stroke in November 2014. He was admitted to a Moscow hospital on 21 November 2015 due to shortness of breath. He died around midnight on 30 November 2015, of heart and lung failure, at the age of 88.[7]


Ryazanov was one of the most successful film directors of the Soviet Union, and his films are still well-known in the post-USSR landscape. The Irony of Fate is still aired every December 31 in most post-USSR countries, except for Ukraine since the 2014 Revolution of Dignity.[8] A street in Moscow was named after him in 2017,[9] and a museum and memorial dedicated to his memory was opened on the site of his childhood home in Samara.


In his book "Nepoladki v russkom dome" Sergey Kara-Murza wrote that "Ryazanov and the artists close to him, consumed by anti-Soviet feeling, lovingly reflected and thereby in many ways created a certain social and spiritual world - and this world turned out to be possible only when it was surrounded and protected by the crude structures of the Soviet way of life."[10]

Honours and awards



  1. ^ Peter Rollberg (2016). Historical Dictionary of Russian and Soviet Cinema. US: Rowman / Littlefield. pp. 610–611. ISBN 978-1442268425.
  2. ^ "Eldar Ryazanov Soviet comedy film giant dies". BBC News. 30 November 2015. Retrieved 1 December 2015.
  3. ^ Grimes, William (30 November 2015). "Eldar Ryazanov, Russian Film Director Known for His Satire, Dies at 88". The New York Times. Retrieved 1 December 2015.
  4. ^ "5 лет назад умер Эльдар Рязанов" [Eldar Ryazanov died 5 years ago]. gazeta.ru (in Russian). Retrieved November 30, 2020.
  5. ^ "Александр Семёнович Рязанов" [Aleksandr Semyonovich Ryazanov]. Бессмертный барак (in Russian). Retrieved June 24, 2021.
  6. ^ "Эльдар Рязанов" [Eldar Ryazanov]. culture.ru (in Russian). Retrieved June 24, 2021.
  7. ^ Shannon Baxter (30 November 2015). "Eldar Ryazanov: Film director whose light touch helped his comedies avoid attention from the Soviet censors". The Independent. Retrieved 2 December 2015.
  8. ^ "Украинцы могут остаться в новогоднюю ночь без Жени, Нади и Ипполита" [Ukrainians may remain without Zhenya, Nadya and Ippolit on New Year's Eve]. RIA Novosti (in Russian). 24 December 2015. Retrieved June 24, 2021.
  9. ^ "Улица Эльдара Рязанова появится в Москве" [Eldar Ryazanov Street will appear in Moscow]. Известия(Izvestiya) (in Russian). 24 October 2017. Retrieved June 24, 2021.
  10. ^ Кара-Мурза С. Г., Телегин С. А. Неполадки в русском доме Archived 2021-12-23 at the Wayback Machine. — М.: Алгоритм. — Серия «Горячая линия». — 443 с. — 3000 экз. — ISBN 5-699-09616-7. In Russian
Additional sources