Daughter of Anatoly Papanov: on the day of my father’s death, I had a premonition of trouble

October 31 marks the 100th anniversary of the birth of Anatoly Papanov, People’s Artist of the USSR.

His daughter, actress Elena Papanova, admits that she still experiences a complex due to the fact that she was born in the family of such a popular and loved by the audience person.

“Now there is less of this complex, there used to be more,” says Elena. – It seemed to me that they treat me only as Papanov’s daughter. Therefore, they are friends with me, they invite me to some companies. When she became an actress, she also had a complex. In my opinion, Mikhail Efremov said: “When you did something badly in the profession, they will say about you – a mediocre daughter or son of such a famous, talented person. And when something goes well, it means that the parents helped.

Elena with her father, Anatoly Papanov, photo personal archive

What are your first childhood memories of your father?

– The fact is that until the age of fifteen I was brought up by my grandparents. And this is not because my parents abandoned me, there were simply different housing problems, communal apartments, a hostel. And then, my parents are both actors, and these are: constant trips, tours, performances, filming. So my grandparents offered to give me to them. Of course, I saw my mom and dad, they often came to me. And the first memory of my father… I must have been four or five years old. It was spring or summer, warm, sunny. I sit on my dad’s neck, read some children’s poems to him, we go with him to Luzhniki, where my grandparents lived. Suddenly, some girl runs up, holds out a shoe to dad: “Your girl dropped it.” That’s why this scene from my childhood I remember.

– How did your parents meet?

– When dad was wounded in the leg at the front – two toes on his leg were torn off, he ended up in a hospital in Buynaksk. He lay there for several months, and then he was commissioned, and he went to Moscow. And mom (actress Nadezhda Karataeva – approx. ed.), having entered GITIS by that time, she left with her mother for evacuation to Novosibirsk. There she graduated from nursing courses and voluntarily went to the front. For two years she served in the ambulance train. Somehow the train ended up in Moscow. Mom took time off to go to GITIS. In general, she was left in the capital, commissioned. She began to study at the institute, where Anatoly Papanov also came to enter. By the way, at first they doubted whether to take him or not, because he was limping. But my dad promised that he would get rid of lameness, and, indeed, he trained so much that he stopped limping. Dad later said: “I understood why they took me – there were only girls on the course, all the guys were at the front.” And he saw the girl Nadia, who walked in a tunic. Approached, met, both front-line soldiers. Then it turned out that they live in the same direction, together after classes they went by tram home. So they agreed.

Anatoly Papanov with his wife, photo personal archive

– Elena, did he tell you something about the war?

– No, he didn’t say anything. I only know this story. There was a terrible battle near Kharkov, and in front of my father, his best friend Alik, who before the war studied at VGIK at the camera department, was killed. And in the same battle, my father was wounded. Years passed, Anatoly Papanov has already become a famous actor. He told this story on TV. The mother of this Alik, who thought that her son was missing, saw this program and found our phone. Then she came to us, and dad told her how they were friends with Alik and about the last hours of his friend’s life. This woman was very grateful to Papanov. In general, May 9th was one of his favorite holidays. He went to Red Square that day, he was invited to the stands. I know that I often met with one of my fellow soldiers.

– It seems that Anatoly Papanov was a man with humor?

– Of course! Once the Satire Theater was on tour in Vladivostok. And there, dad and the artistic director of the theater Valentin Pluchek decided to lead a healthy lifestyle – early in the morning, before breakfast, they swam in the sea. One day they swam very far. Pluchek asks: “Tolik, where are we sailing for so long?” To which dad replied: “Now we can talk about politics here.” Valentin Nikolaevich said that then he almost choked with laughter.

Anatoly Papanov, “12 chairs”

– I heard that the artist Anatoly Papanov hated when he was only recognized as the one who voiced the Wolf in the cartoon “Well, you wait!” …

“Not that I hated it. At first he just pretended that everything was fine, and then he began to be embarrassed that the Wolf, as it were, overshadowed his roles in the cinema. But he had very amazing roles in the cinema and in the theater! There was such an episode when the Satire Theater came on tour to some Bulgarian city. And there was a rally on the square, everyone was talking about the opening of the tour of the Satire Theater, both the mayor of the city and our diplomats spoke. Suddenly, someone called for Papanov to say his famous phrase from this cartoon. Dad came up to the microphone and said loudly: “Well, wait a minute!” The people in the square gave him such a standing ovation!

– By the way, did you bring gifts from the tour?

– Of course! And not only something tasty, but also some things for me and my mother. Then there was a total shortage. He very often went to concerts with Andrei Alexandrovich Mironov, who was a smart and fashionable young man. They were recognised, they were offered some things that you can’t buy in the store by the ties from the base. All the money that dad earned, he gave to his wife. We had a special vase at home where he put money. And on the day when dad died (he also came from filming, having received a fee) and put money in this vase … When he was taken to the morgue, the money disappeared, apparently, the orderlies who took the body, or someone else, stole … . I mean, the only thing dad did in the domestic plan for the family was to earn money. Mom was responsible for everything else around the house.

Elena Papanova, photo personal archive

– Elena, about the death of Anatoly Dmitrievich. How did it happen?

We were at the dacha with children in those days. Dad and mom, who played in the same theater of Satire, were on tour in the Baltics. Then he went to the shooting, drove to Moscow, that day he was supposed to play a performance, but did not appear at the theater. And then there were no mobile phones, we didn’t know anything. No one from the theater could reach him on his home phone. Then the son-in-law of the actors of the Satire Theater Nina Arkhipova and Georgy Menglet came to our dacha and said that they could not find Anatoly Dmitrievich. I had the keys to the apartment. My husband went to Moscow. But I could not open the door, it was locked on the heck from the inside. Then he climbed from the balcony of the neighbors from the 13th floor to our balcony on the 12th floor. He broke the window and found his father already dead. You know, I kind of had a premonition of trouble. For several days I walked, as they say, “not at ease.” There was a feeling: something happened!

It was business!

Anatoly Papanov was awarded a tourist voucher from the Union of Cinematographers to America, and was allowed to take his wife with him. Nadezhda Karatayeva was a member of the Communist Party, and at the first opportunity she tried to show her husband the “bestial face of capitalism.” On one of the excursions, they bought pies, and Nadezhda Yuryevna turned to her husband with another campaign: “Here, you see! Their pie costs a dollar, and we only have 10 kopecks!” Anatoly Dmitrievich agreed: “You are right in your reasoning, Nadya. Considering that after our pie, the treatment is free.”

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