27 april, 1927
Yevgeny Alexandrovich Morgunov was a Soviet and Russian actor, film director, and script writer, Meritorious Artist of Russian SFSR (1978).
He started out as a worker in a Moscow factory, but - "a little naive and obsessed with becoming an actor" - he wrote a letter to Joseph Stalin about his dream. Morgunov reportedly received a reply from Stalin that said that a place was allocated for him in the acting class at the State Cinematography Institute. Morgunov launched his film career while still a student.
Yevgeny Morgunov was one of Russia's leading comic actors. "Plump and bald," Morgunov often "represented a traditional character of Soviet satire - Byvaly, or Experienced, a slightly dull, strong-built drunk whose attempts to commit petty crimes always failed."
Although his acting career was not limited to comedies, he was best known for his work in a comic trio in a series of films by Leonid Gaidai, with Yury Nikulin as Fool (Balbes), and Georgy Vitsin as Coward (Trus). Their best-known films together were Operation Y and Other Shurik's Adventures and Prisoner of the Caucasus, or Shurik's New Adventures. Morgunov's character named Experienced (Byvaly) was always the "tight-lipped and aggressive leader of the group". Reportedly, "the three symbolized exactly what Soviet men were not supposed to be - drunk, unemployed and inclined toward mischief." In one of the legendary scenes in Prisoner of the Caucasus Experienced gives lessons on how to dance the twist - by putting out cigarette butts with his feet.
However, after his triumphant role of “Byvaly” Morgunov was not much into filming. His best works included those in films Three Fat Men (Tri tolstyaka) (1966), Ilf and Petrov Went by Tram (Ekhali v tramvaye Ilf i Petrov) (1972). There were also other, less noteworthy roles. Morgunov also tried his wings as a film director. As early as 1962, he directed the comedy When the Cossacks Weep (Kogda Kazaki plachut) under the patronage of the illustrious writer Michail Sholokhov. However, the film remained his only director’s work.
In 1993, Morgunov was featured in American-Russian adventure film My Family Treasure (Russian: Сокровище моей семьи) directed by Rolfe Kanefsky and Edward Staroselsky alongside with Dee Wallace.
Morgunov's popularity was not far behind that of his partner Nikulin, a famous actor and clown of the Moscow Circus.
Morgunov is buried at the Kuntsevskoye Cemetery.