Alexander Godunov

Dancer, Actor, Ballet teacher
Described as "a Pre-Raphaelite angel posing as a punk-rock idol", this tall (6'3"), blond star of the Bolshoi Ballet staged a dramatic, front-page defection from the Soviet Union in 1979. A Russian dance star since ... Read more »
Born: 11/27/1949 in Russia

Filmography

Actor (8)

The Dogfighters 1995 (Movie)

(Actor)

Waxwork II: Lost in Time 1993 (Movie)

The Master (Actor)

The Runestone 1992 (Movie)

The Clockmaker (Actor)

The Movie Awards 1990 - 1991 (TV Show)

Actor

Die Hard 1988 (Movie)

Karl--Terrorist (Actor)

The Money Pit 1986 (Movie)

Max Beissart (Actor)

Witness 1985 (Movie)

Daniel Hochleitner (Actor)

Anna Karenina 1974 (Movie)

Vronski (Actor)

Biography

Described as "a Pre-Raphaelite angel posing as a punk-rock idol", this tall (6'3"), blond star of the Bolshoi Ballet staged a dramatic, front-page defection from the Soviet Union in 1979. A Russian dance star since 1971, Godunov, a colleague of Mikhail Baryshnikov, became a principal with the American Ballet Theatre and in 1982, after he left under a cloud of bad feelings, danced as guest artist with various troupes. Spotted by director Peter Weir on a 1983 PBS special, "Godunov: The World to Dance In", he made his US acting debut as a somber Amish farmer in the thriller, "Witness" (1985).

Unlike Baryshnikov, Godunov chose not to appear in dance films. Perhaps due to this--or to the alcoholism which eventually killed him--Godunov's film career fizzled. His lion's mane of long blond hair and his intimidating presence did help him get roles as an arrogant symphony conductor in "The Money Pit" (1986), a villain in "Die Hard" (1988) and an incestous madman in "Waxwork II" (1991). Godunov's final role was in the comedy "North" (1994). As an in-joke, he portrayed an Amish father, married to "Witness" co-star Kelly McGillis.

Relationships

Jacqueline Bisset Actor

Companion
together 1981-88

Boris Godunov

Father

Lydia Godunov

Mother
lives in Riga, Latvia

Oleg Godunov

Brother
lives in Riga, Latvia

Ludmilla Vlasova

Wife
Bolshoi ballet dancer who returned to Russia without Godunov when he defected in 1979 divorced in 1982

EDUCATION

began studying acting in 1983 with Bill Taylor and Peggy Feury in Los Angeles

Riga Music School

Riga 1958 - 1967

Riga Choreography School

Riga

Stella Adler Conservatory

New York , New York

Milestones

1994

Final feature, cast as an Amish dad in Rob Reiner's "North"

1991

Attended and taught at Lichine Ballet Academy in Beverly Hills

1987

Became a US citizen

1985

US feature debut, played an Amish farmer in "Witness"

1984

Gave final dance performance

1983

US TV debut on PBS special, "Godunov: The World to Dance In"

1979

Defected while the Bolshoi was on tour in New York

1975

Made film debut, played Vronski in the ballet version of "Anna Karenina"

1970

Made debut at Bolshoi Ballet, Moscow, in "Swan Lake"

1958

Danced with the Moiseyev Ballet Company

Joined the American Ballet Theatre, New York; three year contract was not renewed by ABT artistic director Mikhail Baryshnikov (official company statement said his repertory was too limited and the company could not afford his $5,500 per week salary)

Moved to Moscow and became principal dancer with the Bolshoi Dance Company

Raised in Latvia

Performed as guest artist with several dance companies; formed his own temporary dance troupes for tours including "Godunov and Stars"

Mother took him to Bolshoi School at age nine; was selected with 12 others out of 250 applicants

Bonus Trivia

.

"I had offers to play dancers, defectors, whatever -- my own story. It was actually before 'Witness'. But ...I didn't want to do it. I'm not saying the ballet movies are bad and shouldn't be done. But my personal feeling about me is that I don't want to mix this up. And I thought I would probably dominate stories about ballet with my ability in ballet. So I stayed away. And now, it's too late for me! But I wouldn't do it anyway." --Alexander Godunov discussing his decision not to appear in dance films as Baryshnikov did at the beginning of his film career from LOS ANGELES TIMES CALENDAR, September 8, 1991

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"It's a stange thing to say about dancers who come from a country that is completely consumed by communism, but they have a very imperial air. I think they've dance one too many princes." --Evelyn Shriver, Godunov's publicist since 1981 to LOS ANGELES TIMES CALENDAR, September 8, 1991

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