A statue to actor and clown Leonid Yengibarov was unveiled next to the Yerevan Circus today on his 86th birthday.
Leonid Yengibarov was a Soviet clown and actor. Born in Moscow to an Armenian father and a Russian mother, he started his career as a boxer. In 1955 he joined the State School of Circus Art and graduated it with skills in juggling, acrobatics, and hand balancing. In 1959 he moved to Yerevan and joined the Armenian state circus.
He was one of the first Soviet clowns to create the poetic, intellectual clownery, which made spectators think, not only laugh. Leonid Yengibarov, ‘the clown with sad eyes,” revolutionized the art of clownery by introducing lyrical tones into traditional buffoonery and grotesque sequences.
After initial incomprehension, his popularity grew immensely. After that he was invited to work in cinema. His first film, A Path to the Arena, was in fact about himself.
By the end of the 1960s he was known as one of the best clowns in the country and in the countries of the Eastern bloc, where he was permitted to travel.
He created a Variety Pantomime Theatre instead. He managed to stage only a single piece, “Star Rain” before his untimely death from a heart attack in 1972.