Yul Brynner died of lung cancer at 65 in 1985 and left as his final wish a public service announcement against smoking to be recorded before being laid to rest at Abbaye Royale Saint-Michel de Bois-Aubry in France.
Brynner is best-known for his iconic performance as King Mongkut of Siam in Rodgers and Hammerstein’s musical The King and I, playing it 4,625 times onstage and winning an Academy Award along the way.
Early Life and Education
Yul Brynner was born July 11th 1920 in Vladivostok in the Far Eastern Republic of Russia to Boris Yuliyevich Briner, a mining engineer, and Marousia Dimitrievna (Narva). Later his mother relocated their family to Harbin, China.
Fearing war with Japan, Brynner dropped out of school at age 16. He eventually worked as a guitar player with a traveling Gypsy troupe and as high trapeze artist with a French circus before taking up acting.
His first Broadway appearance was in a 1941 production of Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night. Following this performance he went on to star in Lute Song in 1945 and made his film debut with Port of New York two years later. Brynner quickly gained wide renown for his portrayal as King Mongkut of Siam in Rodgers and Hammerstein’s musical The King and I, appearing 4,625 times both on stage as well as in film versions of this play.
Yul Brynner first began acting professionally in 1946 with his Broadway appearance in Lute Song by Rodgers and Hammerstein, going on to star as The King and I in 3,379 stage performances (plus its film version) over three years.
He made classic films like The Ten Commandments and The Magnificent Seven. Khan promoted an air of mystery around his early life by claiming he was born Taidje Khan on Sakhalin Island off Siberia’s coast.
Doris Kleiner was his partner in Chile, and together they produced Victoria. Yul Brynner was an accomplished photographer; some of his photographs are featured in his coffee-table book Yul Brynner: Photographer. Additionally, he published two books as an author: Bring Forth the Children and Yul Brynner Cookbook: Food Fit for a King.
Achievement and Honors
Yul Brynner was an internationally acclaimed leading man who could be equally at home in European or American drawing rooms. His exotic combination of gypsy roots with Mongol features gave him an exotic appeal as a leading man.
He made his Broadway debut in 1941 in a production of Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night, continuing to perform various theatrical and television productions until 1951 when he was cast as The King of Siam in a Rodgers and Hammerstein musical titled Anna and the King by Rodgers and Hammerstein. That role proved particularly enduring, appearing repeatedly during tours, films versions, as well as short-lived television series Anna and the King from 1972.
Brynner found particular success with action movies such as Escape from Zahrain (1962), directed by Ronald Neame and Taras Bulba (1963). Additionally he appeared alongside Charlton Heston in The Ten Commandments as well as in Anastasia with Ingrid Bergman.
Yul Brynner enjoyed an extensive and rewarding personal life. An avid traveller, his travels brought him into contact with many countries and cultures that would later influence his work.
Boris Bryner was born in Vladivostok on 11 July 1920 to Swiss-Russian mining engineer Boris Bryner and Marousia Blagovidova. Later his mother took them all to Harbin where they attended a YMCA-run school before, fearing war with Japan, she relocated the family to Paris in 1932.
As a young man, he played guitar in Russian nightclubs before training and performing as a trapeze acrobat until an injury ended his circus career. Later he turned his focus to acting; having several roles on Broadway before landing the lead in The King and I.
Melody Brynner is a well-known celebrity with a large following. Known for her stunning beauty and undeniable talent, she has cemented herself into the industry by earning enormous amounts.
She boasts an estimated net worth of approximately $3 Million. As an entrepreneur, author, motivational speaker, real estate investor, real estate business partner and founder of Holt & Holt Entrepreneurship LLC and Seventh Avenue Premiere Skincare she also hosts OWN’s Behind Every Man docuseries.
Martell Holt and she have four children together and were featured on Love & Marriage: Huntsville as part of their love journey together. Together they have endured some rough patches, yet managed to persevere despite these difficulties in their marriage.