Yul Brynner Biography (1920-1985)

Born Taidje Kahn, July 11, 1920, in Sakhalin, an island north of Japan; diedof cancer in New York, NY, on October 10, 1985; married Virginia Gilmore, September 6, 1944 (divorced); married Doris Kleiner (divorced); married Jacqueline de Croisset (divorced); married Kathy Lee, 1983; children: (first marriage) Rock.

Yul Brynner told several conflicting stories about his birth and early years;at various times, he gave his birthdate as 1915, 1917, 1920, and 1922. According to his obituaries in The New York Times and Variety, he was the son of aMongolian-Swiss mining engineer and a Rumanian gypsy woman, grew up in Peking and Paris, and worked as a circus acrobat and clown during his teens.

Unknown at the time, Brynner was cast as the King of Siam in The King and I only after several better-known actors turned the role down. Originally, Gertrude Lawrence, who appeared opposite him as Anna, received star billing, whileBrynner's name was listed in smaller type below the title. He remained withthe show throughout its original three-year New York run and subsequently played the King in two successful Broadway revivals, several extensive road tours, the 1956 film, and a short-lived television series. Reviewing Brynner's 1985 "farewell engagement" in the musical, Frank Rich of the New York Times wrote, "Man and role have long since merged into a fixed image that is as much apart of our collective consciousness as the Statue of Liberty."Brynner's bald head, which he originally shaved for The King and I, became his trademark.

A year before his death from lung cancer, Brynner, who at one time had smokedfive packs of cigarettes a day, stated in a radio interview, "I'm talking toyou now that I'm gone, and I'm telling you right now...that you must stop smoking." By prearrangement, the interview was broadcast after he died.

Birth Details
July 11, 1920
Sakhalin, Russia
Death Details
October 10, 1985
New York, New York, United States

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A Onstott
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Aug 18, 2012 @ 5:05 am
Birthplace according to Brynner's son, Rocky, was in Vladovostok, Russia. His paternal grandfather was Swiss. His father was a mining engineer and his mother was born in Irkurtz, Russia. See details in Wikipedia under his name, Yul Brynner/Bryner.

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