Yul Brynner

Yul Brynner


7/7/1915, Vladivostock, Czarist Russia (now Vladivostock, Russia)



Birth Name

Yul Borisovich Bryner



Also Known As

Taidje Khan, Yul Borisovich Bryner
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Yul Brynner is best known for his role as the King of Siam in the movie The King and I (for which he won an Oscar for Best Actor), for his role as Chris Adams in The Magnificent Seven and for his role as Ramses II inThe Tenmore


Trivia and Quotes

  • Trivia

    • He was photographed in the nude in Naked Men: Pioneering Male Nudes 1935–1955.

    • Audrey Hepburn is the godmother of his daugher, Victoria Brynner.

    • He had an affair with Marlene Dietrich in the early 1950s.

    • His son, from his marriage to Virginia Gilmore, Yul Brynner II, was nicknamed "Rock" by his father in honour of boxer Rocky Graziano, who won the middleweight title in 1947.

    • He has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, at 6162 Hollywood Blvd.

    • After shaving his head for The King & I in 1956, he retained the look for the rest of his life. However, he did appear in several films wearing a wig.

    • He and his then-wife, Virginia Gilmore, were the hosts of the first television talk show: Mr. and Mrs.

    • He was originally to be the director of The Magnificent Seven with Anthony Quinn playing his role, Chris Adams. However, Quinn left the production and Brynner was replaced as director by John Sturges.

    • He is mentioned in the 1985 Murray Head song One Night In Bangkok.

    • His final film was Futureworld.

    • When he developed lung cancer in the mid-1980s, he left a powerful public service announcement denouncing smoking as the cause. He was broadcast in New York City immediately after his death on October 10, 1985.

    • After his death in 1985, the Yul Brynner Head and Neck Cancer Foundation was established in his memory.

    • His father was Boris Bryner, a Swiss-Mongolion engineer and inventor. He eventually abandoned his family.

    • He often claimed to be a half-Swiss, half-Japanese man named Taidje Khan. However, there is no truth to this.

    • He was named after his paternal grandfather, Jules Bryner.

    • He insisted that Deborah Kerr be cast as Anna Leonowens in The King & I. Although they had never met, he had seen her work on stage and was highly impressed. They quickly became good friends and remained so until his death in 1985.

    • Although it was never confirmed, he is rumoured to have an affair with Judy Garland.

    • He was noted for his deep, rich voice and his trademarked shaved head.

    • He was an apprentice of the famed acting coach Michael Chekhov, the nephew of Anton Chekhov.

    • In 1950, before he achieved fame, he was the director of a children's puppet show on CBS, Life with Snarky Parker, which barely lasted eight months on the air before cancellation.

    • Jean Cocteau: Yul Brynner must be mad to imagine that he could be Yul Brynner.

    • He is buried in Saint Robert Churchyard, Monastery of Saint Michael, La Tourraine in France.

    • Yul's parents' names were Boris Bryner and Marousia Blagavidova.

    • He died of the same cause (lung cancer) as his The Magnificent Seven co-star, Steve McQueen.

    • After his lung cancer had progressed to the terminal stage, he taped a public service message urging others to quit smoking. At his request, the message was aired after his death, preceded by the announcement "Ladies and gentlemen, the late Yul Brynner".

    • He appeared in print ads for Lauder's Scotch whiskey in 1976.

    • In 1967, Yul released the album The Gypsy and I: Yul Brynner Sings Gypsy Songs.

    • In 1960, he released the book Bring Forth the Children: A Journey to the Forgotten People of Europe and the Middle East with Inge Morath.

    • In 1941, he traveled to the US to study with acting teacher Michael Chekhov and toured the country with Chekhov's theatrical troupe.

    • Before studying to become an actor, he worked as a trapeze artist with the famed Cirque d'Hiver company.

    • He often claimed to be a half-Swiss, half-Japanese named Taidje Khan, born on the island of Sakhalin; in reality he was the son of Boris Bryner, a Swiss-Mongolian engineer and inventor, and Marousia Blagovidova, the daughter of a Russian doctor.

    • His paternal grandmother was Mongolian.

    • According to a new book, Alfred Hitchcock: A Life in Darkness and Light by Patrick McGilligan, he was considered for the role of Vandamn, the senior villain (eventually played by James Mason) in North by Northwest (1959).

    • When he found out he would be playing Pharaoh Rameses II opposite Charlton Heston's Moses in The Ten Commandments (1956) and that he would be shirtless for most of the film, he began a rigorous weight lifting program because he did not want to be physically overshadowed by Charlton Heston.

    • He smoked five packs of cigarettes a day during his lifetime.

    • He was mentioned in the popular mid-1980s song "One Night in Bangkok," sung by Murray Head, from the soundtrack of the musical Chess.

    • He was an accomplished photographer. He took many photos on the sets of the various projects he worked on over the years.

    • He was one of only eight actors to have won both a Tony and an Oscar for having portrayed the same roles on stage and screen.

    • He was a recipient of the presitigious Connor Award, given by the brothers of the Phi Alpha Tau fraternity based out of Emerson College in Boston.

    • He married Doris Kleiner on the set during shooting of The Magnificent Seven in 1960.

    • He was interred at Saint Robert Churchyard at the Monastery of Saint Michael, La Tourraine, France.

    • He had five children. One son: Yul 'Rock' Brynner II (b. 23 December 1946). He also had four daughters: Lark, born out of wedlock and raised by her mother,(b.1958). Victoria Brynner (b. November 1962 in Switzerland). Mia Brynner (adopted 1974, born in Vietnam), and finally Melody Brynner (adopted 1975, born in Vietnam).

    • In 1950, before he achieved fame, he was the director of a children's puppet show on CBS, Life with Snarky Parker (1950), which lasted barely eight months on the air before cancellation.

    • He married four times over the course of his life. His first wife was Virginia Gilmore (1944 - 1960) (divorced), then Doris Kleiner (1960 - 1967) (divorced), Jacqueline de Croisset (1971 - 1981) (divorced), and finally to Kathy Lee (1983 - 10 October 1985). They were married up until his death in 1985.

    • He was approximately 5' 10" (1.78 m) tall.

    • He died the same day as Orson Welles.

    • His epitaph reads "Don't smoke."

    • He won an Oscar for Best Actor in 1956 for The King and I.

  • Quotes