Actors

14 Favorite Truths About Yul Brynner

1. Brynner was best known for his portrayals of Rameses II in the 1956 Cecil B. DeMille blockbuster The Ten Commandments, and of King Mongkut of Siam in the Rodgers and Hammerstein musical The King and I, for which he won two Tony Awards and an Academy Award for the film version.

2. He portrayed General Bounine in the 1956 film Anastasia and Chris Adams in The Magnificent Seven.

3. Brynner was noted for his distinctive voice and for his shaved head, which he maintained as a personal trademark long after adopting it in 1951 for his role in The King and I. Earlier, he was a model and television director, and later a photographer and the author of two books.

4. His father, Boris Yuliyevich Briner, was a mining engineer and inventor of Swiss-German and Russian descent, whose father, Jules Briner, was a Swiss citizen who moved to Vladivostok in the 1870s and established a successful import/export company.

5. Brynner felt a strong personal connection to the Romani people; in 1977, Yul Brynner was named Honorary President of the International Romani Union, an office that he kept until his death.

6. In 1932, fearing a war between China and Japan, she took them to Paris. Brynner played his guitar in Russian nightclubs in Paris, sometimes accompanying his sister, playing Russian and Roma songs.

7. He trained as a trapeze acrobat and worked in a French circus troupe for five

8. In 1940, speaking little English, he and his mother emigrated to the United States aboard the President Cleveland, arriving in New York City on October 25, 1940, where his sister already lived. and appeared at The Metropolitan Opera as Prince Orlofsky in Die Fledermaus and on television in the title role of Carmen.

9. During World War II, Brynner worked as a French-speaking radio announcer and commentator for the US Office of War Information, broadcasting propaganda to occupied France. At the same time, he studied acting in Connecticut with the Russian teacher Michael Chekhov.

10. Brynner found little acting work during the next few years, but among other acting stints, he co-starred in a 1946 production of Lute Song with Mary Martin.

11. He also did some modeling work and was photographed nude by George Platt Lynes.

12. In 1949, he made his film debut in Port of New York.

13. He recalled that, as he was finding success as a director on television, he was reluctant to go back on the stage.

14. Once he read the script, however, he was fascinated by the character of the King and was eager to perform in the project.

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