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Марк Бернес

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Nizhyn, Russian Empire (1911 – 1969)

Mark Naumovich Bernes (Russian: Ма́рк Нау́мович Берне́с, Mark Naumovič Bernes) (September 21 [O.S. September 8] 1911, Nizhyn, Russian Empire - August 16, 1969, Moscow, Soviet Union) was a Soviet actor and singer of Jewish ancestry, who performed some of the most poignant songs to come out of the World War II, including Tyomnaya noch (1943) and Zhuravli (1969). By his voice and singing style, he is similar to American performers Bing Crosby and Frank Sinatra.

In late 1930s, not long before the war, Mark Bernes starred in two motion pictures: Man With a Rifle and The Fighter Planes . In both of these films, he performed songs, which immediately became famous all over Soviet Union after each film was released. In the former film, he performed the song Clouds Rose Over the City, which was a romantic song of a simple young Soviet worker. In the latter film, he performed a famous patriotic ballad Beloved Town. This pre-war song was full of hope and optimism, and several years later, this song helped soldiers during the war.
When the war began, Bernes became among the first singers to perform for the Soviet troops. In 1943, he starred in the motion picture The Two Soldiers. He played a young soldier from Odessa named Arkady Dzubin. In that film, Bernes demonstrated typically Jewish wit and humor, such humor that was characteristic of Jews from Odessa. In that film, he sang two masterpiece songs: The Dark Night and Song About Odessa. The second song is humorous account of Kostya the sailor man from Odessa who ironically spoke to his fiancee Sonya the fishergirl.

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