Ivan Urgant: biography
Ivan Urgant is a Russian TV presenter, showman, and actor. Today, Urgant is known as the main TV host of the first Russian night show “Evening Urgant” and the actor in the New Year’s movie comedy series “Yolki” (“Christmas Trees”). The audience loves Urgant for his parodies and music projects based on popular songs and Internet hypes.
Childhood and youth
The man’s unusual second name makes his fans wonder what his nationality is. Ivan Urgant does not keep his origin in secret: in one of his interviews, he admitted he was a half-Russian, a quarter Jewish, and a quarter Estonian.
The Russian people’s favorite showman and comedian Ivan Andreevich Urgant was born in April 1978 in Leningrad. He destined to become a popular personality for all his family including the grandparents and parents are famous people. His grandfather Lev Milinder was the Saint Petersburg Comedy Theatre actor. The elderly and middle-aged people know his grandmother Nina Urgant for her role in the legendary movie “The Byelorussian Station”; she was also the Alexandrinsky Theatre actress. Ivan’s mother Valeria Kiseleva was the actress; the father Andrey Urgant is the TV presenter and actor.
The parents split up one year later after the boy was born. There was no need to divorce officially: it was a civil marriage. Soon, Kiseleva married again: the actor Dmitri Ladygin became her husband. Ivan got two sisters.
The grandmother Nina was Ivan’s closest person: he even called her mother sometimes, although he addressed her by her name more often. The woman adored her grandson and gave him wonderful and unexpected presents. Nina Urgant’s life was similar to that of Ivan’s mother: her husband left her when her son Andrey (the would-be father of Ivan) had just turned one year. Thus, the grandmother and grandson’s understanding was complete.
Ivan has one more sister born in his father’s second marriage; she and her mother live in Holland. After Ivan finished the grammar school, he entered the Russian State Institute of Performing Arts where he was accepted to the second year at once. Ivan debuted on the stage in “Macbeth”: the beginning actor appeared there with Alisa Freindlich.
In the 1990s, Ivan graduated and started his soul searching. The beginning actor had many talents: he was interested in music and played several instruments, such as guitar, flute, piano, and drums, well. Later, Urgant and Maksim Leonidov recorded the album “The Star” together. However, the engagement in music seems to have finished here.
Apart from playing musical instruments, Ivan Urgant worked as a showman and host in different clubs and bars in Saint Petersburg. He was excellent at improvising, cracked jokes masterfully, and turned any event into a wonderful celebration. Vanya also tried himself in TV: he hosted the information program “Petersburg Courier” in one of the local TV channels.
Ivan Urgant’s career is also marked with the work on the radio. Initially, he was employed at the little-known “Super Radio,” then moved to “Russian Radio” and “Hit-FM.” His knowledge of music styles and actor education coupled with some TV experience were appreciated by the Moscow channel MTV. Urgant moved to Moscow and became the radio presenter of the show “Cheerful Morning” together with Olga Shelest and Anton Komolov.
In 2003, Ivan Andreevich Urgant was Fyokla Tolstaya’s co-presenter in the program “People’s Artist” aired on the TV channel “Russia.” The audience’s love brought the actor and joker the title of “the person of the year.” Since that time, all doors to glory were open to the St. Petersburg actor. Ivan became the welcome guest in famous nightclubs of the capital.
In 2005, Urgant was offered to present the program “The Big Premiere” on the First Channel. More projects followed: Ivan was the spokesperson of the First Channel due to “Spring with Ivan Urgant” and “Circus with Stars.”
In the course of time, new programs appeared: “Single-Storied America,” “Showdown,” and “Big Difference,” Ivan Urgant in the center of each of them.
In 2006, Ivan Urgant became the presenter of the popular cooking show “Gusto” that had been broadcast since 1993. At first, the audience was surprised by Urgant’s presence in such a show since the man was known as a comedian and social joker while cooking and household chores could hardly be associated with his personality. Still, the showman won people’s trust and love in this sphere. It was a kind of Renaissance for the program “Gusto” and the landmark project in the TV presenter’s career. Urgant continues to host the show nowadays.
The actor and TV presented gained the overwhelming popularity after the humor show “Prozhektorperiskhilton” came out. Urgant was always witty and charming. The four co-presenters (Ivan Urgant, Sergey Svetlakov, Garik Martirosyan, and Aleksandr Tsekalo) were discussing news, making jokes relevant to the recent events, and invited guests to ask them straightforward and just weird questions.
Many famous people including Hollywood stars appeared in the program. People took fancy in funny and ridiculous tasks that Russian presenters were giving the Hollywood guests: the world’s stars were jabbering tongue-twisters, voiced Soviet movies, sang songs, and did other fun things. The songs performed live by the presenters were another tradition of the team. The program was closed in 2012.
The show “Evening Urgant” that started after “Prozhektorperiskhilton” was closed is equally popular. In the course of time, several co-presenters joined Urgant: Aleksandr Gudkov, Aleksandr Oleynikov, Viktor Vasilev, and Dmitriy Khrustalyov.
“Evening Urgant” inherited the tradition to invite Hollywood stars and involve them in strange talks and contests that “Prozhektorperiskhilton” was famous for; however, the new show had a popular in the Western countries format “Late Night Show.” Thus, “Evening Urgant” occupied the niche of the first night show in the Russian television.
In addition to interviews with stars, there have been about thirty regular rubrics; 22 of them are regular now. Sometimes, the TV presenters make up new single rubrics interpreting breaking news and new jokes.
The major regular rubrics are maintained by their own TV presenters. For example, the rubric “Let’s Go to the Movies, Oksana” where movie premieres are overviewed is held by the Mayak radio station movie critic Anton Dolin; the rubric “The Edgy Report” with its live recordings of significant events is presented by the journalist and comedian Alla Mikheeva. Vladimir Markoni works on several rubrics: he appears in “Selfie with a Stranger,” “The Evening Patrol,” “Sashka, Is That You?” and others.
However, the majority of short rubrics is managed by Ivan Urgant on his own. The showman reports news, demonstrates weird or beautiful pictures from Instagram, tells about cultural events, and asks trick questions. Besides, Urgant organizes the rubric “The Opinion from Below” where he talks with children who go to the children’s development center “Names Pro”; they discuss complex and recent issues.
Urgant is not only a popular TV host but also a concert and festival presenter; he often works in duo with some other star. In 2010, Ivan Urgant and Ksenia Sobchak hosted the Muz-TV Ceremony Award. He presented the projects “Tour de France,” “Their Italy,” “England in General and Particular,” and “Jewish Happiness” together with Vladimir Posner.
Ivan Urgant’s movie list is not long but includes the movies that almost every Russian person has seen. Aleksandr Strizhenov’s “From 180 cm. and Taller” and Konstantin Khudyakov’s “Him, Her, and Me” were Urgant’s debut movie. In the latter, he played the main character’s tall friend (Ivan’s height is 195 cm.) The romantic movie “The Three and Snowflake” starring Urgant followed.
The actor gained much love of the audience in 2010 after the New Year’s movie “Yolki” (“Christmas Tree”) was released. The movie was based on the sociological six handshakes theory and included 8 independent novellas created by 6 directors.
This approach helped present the characters’ storylines and make the work truly people’s and boundless: the stories take place on December 31st in 11 cities: Moscow, Saint Petersburg, Yakutsk, Kaliningrad, Perm, Ekaterinburg, Krasnoyarsk, Novosibirsk, Ufa, Bavly, and Kazan.
All the novellas are intertwined by the story of a girl from an orphanage: she lied to her friends that her father was a president, and she has to do something to make the country’s leader pronounce the phrase that other children select in his New Year’s speech on TV.
Ivan Urgant played a businessman Boris who went home from a business trip and believed that his neighbor in the plane was his bride’s lover due to the chain of absurd coincidences.
In 2011, the sequel of “Yolki” came out. The movie demonstrated how the familiar characters’ lives changed in a year. The movie’s theme was about a military man who was waiting for his beloved woman in the Red Square for 40 consecutive years since he had offended her. When the woman finally received the letter and went to the square to see him, the man got desperate and got on a flight. The characters from the entire country were trying to return the pilot and simultaneously solved their own problems. The businessman Boris played by Urgant split up with his girlfriend because he spent all his time at work.
In 2013, “Yolki-3” came out; the new movie told the story of the boomerang of kindness in the form of independent novellas again. In this movie, Boris became a father. In 2014, “Yolki 1914” appeared on the big screen: the characters who participated in the original played in the new movie whose scene takes place in the 20th century. In 2016, Urgant played Boris in “Yolki-5” in the familiar format.
Urgant married for the first time at 18. Despite his relatives’ protests, he married Karina Avdeeva, the girl he had met at the friend’s party by accident. In a year and a half, the young couple realized that their marriage was a mistake: they had no earnings for their living, and none of them had a good job. After the divorce, Karina did not change her second name Urgant and soon married again.
Ivan Urgant’s second marriage to the journalist and TV presenter Tatyana Gevorkyan was civil and encouraged him to move to the capital. The couple lived together for a long time, and their fans were expecting to hear the news about their wedding, but the lovers broke up eventually.
When the movie “The Three and Snowflake” was being made, the actor had a short love affair with Emiliya Spivak. Later, the couple often ran into each other in other movie sets, for example, the movie “Stay.”
Today, Ivan Urgant is officially married to his former classmate Natalia Kiknadze. It is the woman’s the second marriage; she has the first-marriage daughter Erica and son Niko who get along with Ivan well.
In 2008, the daughter Nina was born; Ivan named the girl after his dear grandmother. On September 21, 2015, Natalia Kiknadze gave birth to the second daughter. The parents decided to name her Valeria after Ivan’s mother who passed away on February 1, 2015; she did not live to see her second granddaughter about six months.
On March 4, 2017, the first episode of “Prozhektorperiskhilton,” Season 5, came out, and the song about the program’s reopening sounded. The first episode was not the last: six more episodes followed, although no Hollywood stars appeared there as it used to be.
In 2017, Urgant attracted much attention to his program by the series of high-quality parodies. At the beginning of March, the actor remade the opening scene of the Oscar-winning musical “La La Land” and presented a video about Moscow traffic jams in a gray day “Mos-kva-Land.”
Later on, the TV presenter caught up a new trend and made a parody on the song “Ice Melts” of the group “Griby” (“Mushrooms”): Urgant and his colleagues turned it into the musical weather forecast and acute social ecology problem song.
In “Evening Urgant,” Season 4, the TV presenter added the rubric “I-ONE-UR-GANG-TT-VLOG” where the showman has his own parody vlog and laughs at the present-day blogging fashion and popular bloggers’ habits. Philipp Kirkorov became Urgant’s co-presenter. The TV host and pop-singer threw bottles, hid in a supermarket, and tested other challenges popular among the youth.
Urgant is also an Internet aptitude person. The TV presenter has a verified Instagram account with 6.4 million followers.
On June 23, 2017, Urgant took part in the new popular videobloggers’ performance format. Ivan and the rock musician and the leader of the group “Leningrad” Sergey Shnurov had a Versus Battle. The competitors rapped and improvised in order to beat each other in the argument and touch each other on their sore places. They mentioned the sexual vigor medicine, failed projects, compared each other to the infamous actor Alexey Panin, and even used the foul language.
The video appeared in “Evening Urgant” and had 2 million views on YouTube.
- “From 180 cm. and Taller”
- “Him, Her, and Me”
- “The Three and Snowflake”
- “Yolki” (“Christmas Tree”)
- “Lucky Trouble”
- “Vysotsky. Thank You for Being Alive”