Yul Brynner

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Youl Bryner, 11 July 1920, Sakhalin, Russia, d. 10 October 1985, New York, USA. Sakhalin is a Siberian island north of Japan, and the year of Brynner’s birth is a matter for negotiation; it probably lies somewhere between 1915 and 1920. He spent his early childhood in Peking but was brought up in Paris where he sang in clubs before moving to America in 1941. There he worked in radio and toured as an actor until his Broadway debut with Mary Martin in the short-lived musical Lute Song in 1946. Two years later he reprised his role for London and subsequently worked as an actor and director in US television, before creating one of the all-time great roles in Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein II’s The King And I in 1951. He shaved his head for the character of the King of Siam, and the completely bald dome became his lifelong trademark - although some said it limited his choice of future parts. His striking, sensual performance opposite the ‘terribly...

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