Vladimir Valentinovich Menshov was born on 17th September 1939 in Baku, Azerbaijan. His father Menshov Valentin Mikhailovich was a seaman and then worked in the National commissariat of internal affairs (the notorious NKVD). Vladimir’s mother Antonina Aleksandrovna was a housewife. Due to the work of his father the Menshovs first lived in Baku, then in Arkhangelsk, and later in Astrakhan.
Then he worked as a miner in Vorkuta, and as a sailor of a forwarding group in Caspian Sea. The future Oscar-winning film director started his actor’s career in 1958 in the backup line-up of the Astrakhan Drama Theater.
In 1957 after finishing school Menshov left for Moscow to enter VGIK (the Institute of Cinematography) but failed.
Having returned to Astrakhan in September, 1957 Vladimir Menshov got employed at a ship-repair factory as a turner’s apprentice, and then as a turner.
|From Happy Cuckooshkin.|
In 1961 he entered the Actor's Faculty of Vladimir Nemirovich-Danchenko School-Studio at Moscow Art Academic Theatre. After graduation in 1965 he worked for two years as an actor and director’s assistant in the Lermontov Stavropol Regional Drama Theater.
In 1970 he finished a postgraduate course in VGIK at the Chair of Directing Feature Film (workshop Mikhail Romm).
From 1970 to 1976 Vladimir Menshov worked at Mosfilm, Lenfilm and on Odessa Film Studios. He filmed the short-length study film On dialectics of perception of art, or Lost Dreams, made a stage version of Marietta Shaginyan’ novel "Mess-mend", which was staged in Leningrad Young Spectator’s Theatre, and wrote the film scenario "I serve on the border" by request of Lenfilm Studio.
At the same time his actor's career in filming started: he played the lead in his classmate Aleksandr Pavlovsky’s graduation work Happy Cuckooshkin. The film was made at the Odessa Film Studio. Vladimir Menshov was also the coauthor of the scenario. The picture won the grand prize at the Kiev Film Festival "Molodost-71" and next year Menshov already got an invitation from director Aleksei Sakharov to star in his film A Man at His Place. After winning the first award as the Best Actor at the VI All-Union Film Festival in Alma-Ata Menshov became in great demand in Russian cinema.
Menshov made his real debut as а film director with the Practical Joke in 1976. His second picture Moscow Does Not Believe in Tears was a smashing box office hit in Russia, took the State Award of the USSR, and then won Oscar (1981) as the best foreign film.
In 1984 Menshov directed the romantic comedy Love and Doves after Vladimir Gurkin’s same-name play. The film became very popular in Russia and also got the Grand Prize – Gold Boat – at the Torremolinos Comedy Film Festival, Spain, in 1985.
Vladimir Menshov’s other known works as a film director are Shirli-Myrli (1995), The Envy of Gods (2000), and Big Waltz (2008).
In 2004 Menshov was the host in the popular TV show Last Hero.
Altogether Vladimir Menshov has played over 70 roles. Besides, the film director and actor wrote scenarios and produced a number of films.
Vladimir Menshov is married and has a daughter and grandsons. His wife is the People’s Actress of Russia Vera Alentova and his daughter is the popular actress and TV host Julia Menshovа.