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Donatas Iuozovich Banionis

actor , theatre director

Donatas Banionis was a Lithuanian actor.


Banionis, Donatas was born on April 28, 1924.


Studied under the director Miltinis, a pupil of Charles Dullen.


He is best known for his performance in the lead role of Tarkovsky's Solaris as Kris Kelvin. Banionis began his career with some films in Lithuanian, but he would later play mainly in Russian language films. He has also worked outside the USSR like in the title role Francisco Goya of the USSR-GDR coproduction Goya or the Hard Way to Enlightenment (1971), directed by Konrad Wolf and in the title role as Ludwig van Beethoven in the 1976 DEFA-production Beethoven - Tage aus einem Leben.

Aside from films, he was a popular stage actor in Panevėžys, where he acted since the age of 17, and which was frequented by Donatas' fans from all over the former Soviet Union. He acted in Vilnius, in the Lithuanian National Drama Theatre. Vladimir Putin once stated that Banionis was the reason why he joined the KGB. Banionis died on 4 September 2014 from a stroke.

He was 90 years old.


Juozas Miltinis