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Happy Birthday Alexander Godunov


It would’ve been Alexander Godunov’s 71st birthday today.


You’ll probably recognise him from films such as Die Hard (1988), Witness (1985) and The Money Pit (1986).


What you might not know is that before he became an actor he was a professional ballet dancer, even winning a gold medal in the Moscow International Ballet Competition.


Russian born, Godunov defected to America in 1979.

While on a tour with the Bolshoi Ballet in New York City, he contacted authorities asking for asylum. Learning of his intentions the KGB put his wife who was a soloist with the company on a plane to Moscow but the plane was stopped just before takeoff. After three days and some involvement from the then president of the United States Jimmy Carter, the plane was finally allowed to leave.

It turns out Godunov’s wife actually wanted to leave, saying that as much as she loved American culture she felt she was “too Russian” to live there. The two later divorced and the incident was made into a Russian film called Рейс 222 (Flight 222) in 1986.


Sadly Godunov died in 1995 aged 45. He was an excessive drinker and it was determined he died of hepatitis, second to chronic alcoholism.


He might not have given us many movies but the three mentioned above are among my favourite films from the 1980s. 👌


Happy birthday Alexander Godunov and RIP.

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