Valeri Sergeevich Zolotukhin was born on June 21, 1941 into the village of Bystry Istok in Altai, into the family of a collective farm chairman. After finishing school Valeri arrived in Moscow and entered the Operetta Faculty of GITIS (National Theatre Art Institute).
In 1963, upon graduation from the institute, Valeri was invited to Mossovet Theatre, where young actor worked for one year, and then shifted to the Drama and Comedy Theater on Taganka, where he played on stage practically till the last days of his life. Among his roles performed on this stage there are those in the plays A Kind Person From Szechwan, The Hero of Our Time, Boris Godunov, Vladimir Vysotsky, Galilee’s Life, Mother, etc.
Valeri Zolotukhin made his film debut in 1965 in the historical and adventure movie Package
. This role gained the actor his initial fame, but the all-Union glory and popularity came to the actor in 1968, with his role of the district police officer Snezhkin in the detective story Taiga Host
, in which he worked along with his friend Vladimir Vysotsky
. Three years later the comedy Bumbarash
(1971) starring Zolotukhin was an enormous success.
From the late 1960s the actor was intensely involved in film acting and was extremely demanded in cinema. His most famous works are those in the movies About friends companions (1970), Loss of a Witness (1971), On Those I Remember and Love (1973), The Only One (1975), Tale on How Tsar Peter was Giving Moor in Marriage (1976), Lyubov Yarovaya (1977), Preliminary Investigation (1978), Small Tragedies (1979), Our Calling (1981), Treasure Island (1982), Magicians (1982), Dead Souls (1984), I am the Leader of Outpost (1986), A Talking Monkey (1991) and many others.
But in the middle of the 1990s, which marked a critical moment in Russian cinema, he almost stopped acting. Zolotukhin’s long break from filming was interrupted by the TV series Site. Then Valeri took part in noticeable film and TV projects of recent years: Timur Bekmambetov’s Patrols, Master and Margarita, Love Talisman, 1612: Chronicles of the Time of Troubles, Black Lightning, Burnt by the Sun 2 and also appeared in drama and historical series, took part in dubbing for animated films and movies. Altogether the actor’s filmography includes more than 70 roles.
Valeri was a Christian believer. He participated in the Orthodox project Christmas Stories and assisted a church construction in his native Altai. Valeri Zolotukhin is the author of several books of memories, including one about Vladimir Vysotsky.
The actor was three times married. His first spouse was the actress Nina Shatskaya, whom he met in GITIS (Theatre Institute). They gave birth to a son named Denis (born in 1969). His second wife was Tamara, who gave birth to his second son Sergey (1979 — 2007). In the last years of his life the actor lived in a civil marriage with Irina Lindt, an actress of the Theater on Taganka. In 2004 they gave birth to their son Ivan.
Till the last days while his health permitted, Valeri Sergeevich Zolotukhin worked a lot — he was demanded in cinema, played on stage, went touring, and was the art director of the Theater on Taganka.
The People’s Artiste of Russia Valeri Zolotukhin died after a long illness, aged 71, on March 30, 2013.