Life is a theater... Today is Mher Mkrtchyan's birthday

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Kyank`n amen rope, amen vayrkyan t`atron e. aysor Mher Mkrtch`yani tsnndyan orn e_73767

«An actor should perform anything. An actor represents the human, and human nature comprises all: sadness, laughter and humor».

Mher Mkrtchyan was born on July 4, 1930 in Gyumri, to Mushegh and Sanam Mkrtchyan, who were orphaned survivors of the Armenian Genocide. Mushegh Mkrtchyan fled to Gyumri from Mush, while Sanam escaped the genocide from Van. His parents met while they were working in a local Leninakan textile factory that was created in the 1930s.

 «I did not have childhood. I did not know what kindergarten or yard is. I only knew the theatre».

Since childhood he had to face life’s difficulties. Instead of receiving his primary education, he had to work at Leninakan’s textile factory. Already in 1940-45, he was camera mechanic pupil, he liked the sphere, and it was quite difficult to keep him away from the cinecamera. Soon, his colleagues and especially his teacher noticed the talent of the young man and gave him the chance to perform on the stage for the first time, thus paving his way to a bigger stage.

            In 1953, Mkrtchyan left Gyumri to further his education in Yerevan at the Yerevan State Institute of Theater and Arts. Following that experience, Frunzik became part of the Sundukyan Academic Theater troupe in 1956, after being scouted by director of the theatre troupe Vardan Ajemian in 1955. He worked at Sundukyan Academic Theater since 1988, and after 1988, he became art director of theater-studio, named after Vardan Ajemian.

Mher Mkrtchyan was given parts in Armenian and Russian films that were to become iconic, such as Why is the River Noisy in 1959 and Kidnapping, Caucasian Style and Aybolit-66 in 1966. These movies earned him a reputation as a comedic actor, though he was known as a more serious actor from years of acting in theatre.

Since the late 1960s, Frunzik Mkrtchyan starred in films that would later on become classics of Armenian and Soviet cinema, such as Yerankyuni ("Triangle") (1967), Menq enq, mer sarere ("We are Our Mountains") (1969), Mimino ("Hawk") (1977), Hayrik ("Father") (1973), Nahapet ("Patriarch") (1977), Ktor muh Yerkinq ("A Piece of Sky") (1980), Hin oreri yerge ("The Song of the Old Days") (1982), Mer mankutyan tangon ("The Tango of Our Childhood") (1985).

Frunzik was initially romantically involved a classmate of his, Knar, but was rejected by her family and thus the pair never married. Mkrtchyan's first wife was Donara Pilosyan, and together they had a daughter, Nune, and a son, Vahagn. The couple played in a number of films together, notably Kidnapping, Caucasian Style and Khatabala. The marriage was initially a happy one, but Donara was diagnosed with schizophrenia and eventually sent to a mental institution for treatment. Mkrtchyan became a single parent of two young children. He got immensely depressed by the illness of wife and his son Vahagn's subsequent inheritance of his mother’s mental illness. Both Donara and Vahagn eventually went to France for treatment. Mher Mkrtchyan married again in 1988 with Tamar Hovannisyan. At this point, he was suffering from alcohol abuse, which many attribute to the difficulties of his personal life.

On December 29, 1993 Frunzik Mkrtchyan passed away in Yerevan. Thousands of people attended the funeral and burial of their beloved actor at the Komitas Pantheon, located in the center of Yerevan. Mher Mkrtchyan received multiple awards during his lifetime for his major contributions to film.

He was awarded the People's Artist of the Armenian SSR in 1971 and Armenian SSR State Prize in 1978. Following that, Mkrtchyan won the People's Artist of the USSR in 1984, an honor bestowed on only 12 artists in the entire Soviet Union that year.

In 2001 he was posthumously awarded with the Order of Saint Mesrop Mashtots. Today, In Yerevan, as well as in his birthplace Gyumri and many other cities in Armenia, museums and streets are named after Mher Mkrtchyan.  

 «Frunz wanted to die. He was dreaming about death. He did not have the strength to overcome his son’s and wife’s illness - their family’s tragedy».

 Albert Mkrtchyan


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