Solonitsyn is best known in the west for his roles in several of Andrei Tarkovsky's films, including Dr. Sartorius in Solaris (1972), the Writer in Stalker (1979), the physician in Mirror (1975), and the title role in Andrei Rublev (1966). Indeed, it was Tarkovsky who "discovered" him. In his book Sculpting In Time, Tarkovsky calls him his "favorite" actor, and writes that Solonitsyn was intended to play the lead roles in each of his films Nostalghia (1983) and The Sacrifice (1986), but died before their production.
Solonitsyn died from cancer in 1982, at the age of 47 (allegedly, according to Victor Sharun, the sound editor on Stalker, Solonitsyn, Tarkovsky and Larisa Tarkovskaya became ill due to exposure to toxic chemicals during filming on the location of the movie).
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