July 4 marks the birthday anniversary of talented Soviet Armenian actor Mher Mkrtchyan, better known by his stage name Frunzik. The prominent actor would have turned 90 today.
“Great Armenian artist Martiros Saryan, while painting my portrait, asked me: “Where are you from, Mher?” I replied: “My father is from Mush, mother is from Van and I was born in Leninakan. So, where I am from?” The master thought for some time and said: “So, you are a genuine resident of Yerevan, guy.” (From “Mher Mkrtchyan. Eternal Monologue.”)
Every role he played in cinema or theater is unique and recognizes no time. “An actor should be able to play any role. An actor represents a man, and the human essence has such manifestations as crying, laughter and humor,” he said once. The actor followed this principle both in cinema and theater.
Born in Leninakan (now Gyumri), he first studied in a local art college and theatre studio. Later, Mkrtchyan also graduated from Yerevan Institute of Fine Arts and Theatre. Beginning 1953, he performed in the Sundukyan Drama Theatre of Yerevan. He also directed many successful productions, with Maxim Gorky’s “The Lower Depths” among the best.
His cinema career began in 1955. The artist’s famous roles in “Aybolit-66” (1966), “Kidnapping”, “Caucasian Style” (1967) and “Mimino” (1977) earned him the reputation of one of the leading comedy actors in the Soviet Union. But that reputation sometimes overshadowed his real talent and emotional deepness which he put in such classics of Armenian cinema as “Triangle” (1967), “We Are Our Mountains” (1969), “Father” (1973), “Life Triumphs” (1977), “The Song of the Old Days” (1982), “The Tango of Our Childhood” (1985).
Mher Mkrtchyan was honored with the title of People’s Artist of the Soviet Armenia in 1971 and People’s Artist of the Soviet Union in 1978. He died in Yerevan in 1993. In 2001, he was posthumously awarded with St. Mesrop Mashtots Order.
“Every man is the sculptor of his own destiny. He passes away when the sculpture is finished,” Mher Mkrtchyan said.