Marcel Marceau himself called him the genius of pantomime and “the great poet of the movement”, Vladimir Vysotsky considered him a talented artist and his friend, Czech journalists wrote that he was a clown “with autumn in his heart”. It was the only clown-lyricist, intellectual, romantic and philosopher in the USSR - Leonid Yengibarov … He did not consider it his main task to make people laugh, for him it was much more important to make them think. Many did not accept this approach, Nikulin first criticized him, and later recognized the uniqueness of his talent. At the age of 29, he became the best clown in Europe, and at 37, he died prematurely of a heart failure.
Yengibarov destroyed the traditional ideas about clowns - he performed without bright makeup, red nose and red wigs. During the entire speech he did not utter a word, but silence was more eloquent than any words. At first, his reprises did not have a resounding success - the audience came to the circus to have fun and laugh, and few could appreciate the nagging lyrical performances. The philosopher clown disappointed the audience.
Even Yuri Nikulin was not immediately able to appreciate his unique talent. Later he recalled: “When I saw him for the first time in the arena, I did not like him. And three years later, when I saw him again at the arena of the Moscow circus, I was delighted. He had an amazing pause, creating the image of a slightly sad person, and each of his reprises not only amused, amused the viewer, no, it also carried a philosophical meaning. Yengibarov, without uttering a word, spoke with the audience about love and hate, about respect for a person, about the touching heart of a clown, about loneliness and vanity. And he did all this clearly, softly, in an unusual way."
Yengibarov earned international recognition at a fairly early age - at only 29 years old he became the best clown in Europe, when at the International Clown Competition in Prague he received the first prize - the E. Bass Cup. After that, success awaited him in his homeland: Yengibarov performed not only in the circus, but also on stage with "Pantomime Evenings", acted in films, and toured a lot.
Yengibarov was friends with Vysotsky, Marina Vlady in the book "Vladimir, or Interrupted Flight" called him one of the poet's favorite artists, and she herself spoke of him this way: “He is young, everything is fine in him. He is also a kind of poet, he makes the audience laugh and cry - both children and adults. This wizard stole the palm from the aging Oleg Popov and other traditional carpet clowns. He works in minor tones. No face cream cakes, no red noses, no striped pants, no oversized boots. Breaking the plates, he switches the audience from wild laughter to complete silence, and then you are surprised that you have a lump in your throat - and now people are taking out their handkerchiefs to secretly wipe away their tears."
Before his death, he managed to fulfill his dream - to create a pantomime pop theater. Surely Yengibarov would have implemented many more creative projects, but he could not cross the fatal milestone for many creative people - 37 years. The famous clown, one of the best in the USSR, died suddenly of a ruptured heart.
Vysotsky was very upset by his departure. Marina Vlady recalled: “One day they call you, and I see how your face turns black. You hang up and start crying like a boy, excitedly. I hug you, you shout: “Yengibarov is dead! This morning on Gorky Street he felt bad with his heart, and no one helped - they thought he was drunk! " And 8 years later, on the same day - July 25 - Vysotsky himself died.
Unfortunately, Yengibarov and Vysotsky are not the only talents that have left untimely. Fatal 37 years: did most famous poets really die at this age?