Yul Brynner (Yuly Borisovich Briner)

Yul Brynner

Yul Brynner

Motion Picture and Stage Actor. Famed as much for his baldness, he was the first bald movie idol, as for his performances. He was the son of Boris Bryner, a Swiss-Mongolian engineer and inventor, and Marousia Blagavidova, the daughter of a Russian doctor. He was born in their hometown of Vladivostok and named Yul after his grandfather Jules Bryner. Raised in Russia, China and France he dropped out of school and became a musician, playing guitar in nightclubs among the Russian gypsies. He became an apprentice at the Theatre des Mathurins and worked as a trapeze artists with the famed Cirque d’Hiver company. He traveled to the U.S. in 1941 to study with acting teacher Michael Chekhov and toured the country with Chekhov’s theatrical troupe. In 1941 he debuted in New York as Fabian in Twelfth Night (billed as Youl Bryner). He worked in the TV series, “Mr. Jones and His Neighbors” and then starred with his wife, Virginia Gilmore, in the first TV talk show, “Mr. and Mrs.” In 1950 he was the director of a children’s puppet show on CBS, “Life with Snarky Parker.” He made his film debut in Port of New York (1949), two years later, Mary Martin recommended him for the part he would always be known for, the King in Rodgers and Hammerstein’s musical “The King and I.” Brynner became an immediate sensation in the role, repeating it for film and winning the Oscar for Best Actor. One of only eight actors to have won both a Tony and an Oscar for having portrayed the same roles on stage and screen. For the next 20 years he maintained a starring film career (37 movies) despite the exotic nature of his persona and almost all with the same shaven head and indefinable accent. In the 1970s, he returned to the stage and spent most of the rest of his life touring the world in The King and I. Besides his Tony and Oscar awards, Brynner is a recipient of the presitigious Connor Award, given by the brothers of the Phi Alpha Tau fraternity based out of Emerson College in Boston and has a star in the Hollywood Walk of Fame. When he developed lung cancer in the mid-1980s, he left a powerful public service announcement denouncing smoking as the cause, for broadcast after his death. He died in New York on October 10, 1985 and is one of the most fascinating, unusual, and beloved stars of his time.Sister: Vera Brynner (bio by: Debbie)  Family links:  Spouse:  Virginia Gilmore (1919 – 1986)* *Calculated relationshipCause of death: Lung Cancer


  • July, 07, 1920
  • Vladivostok, Russia


  • October, 10, 1985
  • New York City, New York

Cause of Death

  • Lung Cancer


  • Saint Robert Churchyard
  • Centre
  • France

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