In mid-November, the country’s chief comedian Eldar Ryazanov would have turned 95 years old. He died seven years ago, but the director’s films will be loved by many generations to come. And while the creator is remembered, he is alive. In the meantime, we decided to visit the graves of Eldar Alexandrovich and his loved ones.
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Mom Zoya Mikhailovna and stepfather Lev Mikhailovich
Eldar’s parents divorced when he was three years old (the intelligent child could already read, although, mostly, newspaper headlines). Since 1934 he was brought up by his stepfather, Lev Mikhailovich Kopp, a civil engineer, specialist in metal and reinforced concrete structures, a researcher at the Promstalkonstruktsiya design institute of the USSR Minmontazhspetsstroy, author of textbooks and monographs. In marriage to this man, the mother of the future director gave birth to a daughter, Frida (alas, she lived only three years) and a son, Mikhail, who became the chief researcher at the Laboratory of Comparative Analysis of Sedimentary Basins at the tectonics Department of the Geological Institute of the Russian Academy of Sciences.
“My stepfather was an extraordinary person. And never in my life have I felt the difference between his relationship with his son and with me. A completely normal person, but with a great inner intelligence. He lived 86 worthy years,-said Ryazanov.
The director’s mother, before marrying her father, had the surname Shusterman.
His parents, philistines Rezhitsa Movsha Yankelevich and Chaya-Freida Leibovna, moved from Rezhitsa (now the Latvian town of Rezekne near the Russian border) at the beginning of the last century, where they owned a furniture store, then a of fabrics, in Samara. They opened a candy factory there.
First wife Zoya Fomina
Eldar’s first wife was classmate Zoya Fomina. In the spring of 1950, having defended their diplomas, they got a job at the Central Documentary Film Studio. And two months later, leaving for Yerevan on the first major expedition, they learned that Zoya was pregnant.
The marriage lasted almost a quarter of a century – they could not reach the silver wedding anniversary. The couple understood that things were moving towards divorce: they quarreled more and more often, moving away from each other. The director began secretly meeting Mosfilm editor Nina Skuibina, with whom he was in love as a student.
“Our divorce from Zoya was a skinning, but I could no longer resist feelings for Nina,” Ryazanov would later say. And she could no longer lie.
Second wife Nina Skuybina
Ryazanov first saw his future second wife at a student party when he was studying at VGIK. She bore the surname Zelichenko and was in love with classmate Vladimir Skuybin. They soon got married, the son Kolya was born. And then the head of the family fell ill with the flu. He had a complication and his little finger went numb. It did not matter. And this was the beginning of the emerging amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, which developed very rapidly. The muscles began to atrophy. Vladimir fought desperately for several years, continued to shoot films, supervised the process lying on a stretcher: Nina was his eyes, his arms and legs. In 1963, 34-year-old Skuybin died. Their son and Nina were then only 9 years old.
In memory of her husband, Nina took his surname and promised herself to be faithful to him.
And then, in the corridors of Mosfilm, I stumbled upon Eldar…
For 10 years they were in love, tried to leave more than once. And then Ryazanov confessed everything to his wife, and he and Nina went to the registry office. The groom was 51, the bride 49, but they felt like they were 20. And how passionate their honeymoon was!
The director left the apartment to his ex-wife and daughter, and for the new wife he bought the house of Mikhail Romm – from his heirs.
For 15 years of family life with Skuybina, the director made his best films: “The Irony of Fate …”, “Office Romance”, “Say a Word About the Poor Hussar”, “Garage”. The wife was always next to Eldar on the set, she advised, helped, settled his conflicts with stubborn actors.
In October 1993, Nina began to have an obsessive sore throat. The examination showed cancer of the esophagus in the last stage. Ryazanov understood that it was very difficult to get out, but he went to the best doctors. Also in Germany. But the Germans were powerless.
– One day she turned to her husband with a request to give her an injection. Eldar understood that it was euthanasia. He refused. Nina has decided to end her painful journey alone. She had the medicines she needed. She took care of everything beforehand. In addition to the funeral and commemoration, giving detailed instructions to her friend, the wife of the critic Vasya Katanyan,-recalled the writer Victoria Tokareva.
Nina died in 1994. She was 64 years old.
Ryazanov ordered to dig a hole a meter deeper than planned – he wanted to rest nearby when his time came. He erected a monument in the shape of a stone broken into two parts. On the right is Nina’s sign. Left is for me.
Everyone knew about his plans. And also the last wife Emma. But when doctors announced Ryazanov’s death, she first called Nikita Mikhalkov asking for a separate burial for her husband.
Eldar Alexandrovich was buried in Novodevichy itself. But not in that grave, but nearby, in the same row as Skuibina. The irony of fate? Or maybe Nikita Sergeevich did it on purpose in order to somehow fulfill his colleague’s last will, without offending his widow?
For more than 20 years, Ryazanov was friends and made films in collaboration with this playwright, who was born into a family of doctors – his father’s gynecologist and his mother’s surgeon. By education, Emil Veniaminovich is a lawyer, but he also had a chance to work as a nurse. At the age of 20 he married a classmate Irma and lived with her until the end of her days. 13 years after the wedding, the couple had a son, Victor, who later became a crayon artist.
Braginsky became a writer thanks to his passion for chess – he once wrote a report on the All-Union tournament and sent it to the newspaper “Soviet Latvia”. And he was immediately enlisted as a freelance correspondent for the Moscow region.
Emil Veniaminovich lived very modestly in a cozy apartment near the Aeroport metro station. His friends were surprised: “In Hollywood, you would have become a millionaire a long time ago!” And he just shrugged: “But I’m not poor, I’m average.”
In 1975, the playwright suffered a massive heart attack. At the Cardiology Institute, where he was lying, his wife was directly told: “He has at most two days left.” Miraculously he got out and lived another 23 years.
He died suddenly – on the night of May 1998 in Sheremetyevo, having arrived with his wife from a trip to Europe. Heart.