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Leonid Osipovich Utyosov became a legend during his lifetime. He was the first in many ways. He was the first to perform works by Babel, Bagritsky and Zoshchenko, created his own "Tea-jazz", which after only five years received the status of the State, was the first to bring musicians from the orchestra pit to the stage, and the first pop artist to receive the title of People's. And Leonid Utyosov was always a very honest person. He never hid that during the years of repression he was desperately afraid of Stalin, especially after he made him cry.
He was born into a large Jewish family in Odessa, he could not even graduate from the Faig school. The parents sent their son there in the hope that he would go "along the commercial line." But the boy, keen on music, was completely uninterested in the wisdom of doing business. Mom and Dad didn't even want to hear about the fact that their son could choose such a frivolous profession for himself as a musician.
Young Lazar Weissbein (the singer's real name and surname) was very active and restless, he could not sit still for a long time, even if it was a very serious subject like the Law of God, on which the incident took place. The guy allowed himself to play a little, for which he received a blow from the teacher. At that time, this was a common practice, but the teenager could not bear the resentment, quietly turned off the light in the classroom and, taking advantage of the darkness, together with his classmates, smeared his abuser with ink and chalk.
After the expulsion, the future artist did not return home, first got a job in a circus and traveled with him around the country, later he easily changed jobs and provincial theaters in which he served. Having finally decided to connect his life with the stage, the talented young man took a sonorous pseudonym for himself. And soon the whole country recognized him under the name of Leonid Utyosov.
Already at the end of the 1920s, the name of the talented artist was heard by millions of people, but the artist began to be noticed on the streets only after the release of the musical comedy "Merry Boys". By that time, Leonid Osipovich already had his own jazz orchestra, and it seems that everyone, from young to old, knew the songs performed by him by heart.
Once he was invited to the Kremlin, where the honoring of the hero pilots Chkalov, Belyakov and Baidukov, who made the first non-stop flight from the USSR to the United States in history, took place. So the pilots asked to perform at a concert in their honor, Leonid Utyosov. The reception took place in the Faceted Chamber, where the stage was installed.
Leonid Utyosov admitted: when he, accompanied by musicians, entered the hall, singing "light in his heart from a cheerful song" on the move, his legs simply gave way from fear and excitement. Until that moment, he had never seen the leaders of the country so closely. For this event, Leonid Utyosov tried to select the most lyrical songs from his repertoire.
When it came to "Reflection in Water", the musician suddenly saw that Joseph Vissarionovich was furtively brushing away tears. As soon as the music stopped, Stalin got up from his seat and began to applaud, not taking his eyes off the performer. Leonid Utyosov was frankly confused, and his musicians suggested that the ruler wants to hear this song again. And Utesov sang again.During the repetition of the composition, Stalin's tears were already pouring down his cheeks. Leonid Utyosov thought then that the ruler probably remembered his wife, who died several years ago.
Those present were afraid to even raise their eyes, because Joseph Stalin was generally stingy with the manifestation of emotions, but here he was crying … After the end of the composition, there was truly deathly silence. A few minutes later, a man in a military uniform approached the singer and, on behalf of Stalin, asked him to perform the song "From the Odessa Kichman", which, by the way, was banned by the Soviet censorship. To the singer's timid remark that he had no right to sing this song, the military man only asked with pressure if Utesov understood who exactly was asking him to sing. Of course, he performed "Kichman", and the audience burst into applause afterwards. Leonid Utyosov had to sing for an encore three more times.
But Utyosov was never invited to the Kremlin again. The singer himself assumed that Stalin could not get rid of the awkwardness, showing his sentimentality.
Leonid Utyosov was friends with Isaac Babel for many years. The writer was well-known to the Kremlin, he was patronized by Nikolai Yezhov, who headed the NKVD, and he firmly believed that the repressions would not affect him. But in 1959, a little more than six months after Yezhov's dismissal, Babel was also arrested.
At that time, the first book of Leonid Utyosov, "Notes of an Actor", was being prepared for publication, the foreword to which was written by Isaac Emmanuilovich. The singer had just been sent home ten signal copies with the same preface. The printing house hastily began to tear out the pages with the text from the repressed writer from the book.
When Leonid Utyosov came home, he found his wife, Elena Iosifovna Goldina, over her copies of the book. She told her husband to immediately burn all of them in the bathroom until they came for him. Elena Iosifovna was afraid to even imagine what would happen if, during a search, books with Babel's foreword were found. Leonid Osipovich agreed with his wife, however, he did not burn all the books, he hid one in the closet between the musical records, hoping that they would not look for her there.
On the same evening, the singer's wife packed a suitcase for him, in which she put extra linen, warm socks and hygiene products. At that time, many had such suitcases. If they came for a person on a "funnel", then he had everything he needed ready that could be useful in prison.
Leonid Osipovich does not hide: his life actually hung by a thread. And the fact that he was not arrested was a miracle for him. Until the end of his days he was surprised at this and even after Stalin's death he preferred not to talk about him. He never flaunted that he was courageous and fearless, was honest with himself. People's Artist Leonid Utyosov was generally very sincere and simple.
Famous actors and singers always become the object of adoration of the opposite sex. Everyone goes through this test differently. Someone rushes "all bad", someone, on the contrary, jealously remains faithful to the lawful spouse. Everything was in the life of Leonid Utyosov - loyalty and infidelity, beloved wife and crazy fans, abandoned bride and even late marriage at the end of life.
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