Yul Brynner

Birth Name: Yuliy Borisovich Briner

Date of Birth: 11 July, 1920

Place of Birth: Vladivostok, Far Eastern Republic (present-day Vladivostok, Russia)

Date of Death: October 10, 1985

Place of Death: New York City, New York, U.S.

*75% Russian
*25% Swiss-German

Yul Brynner was a Russian-born actor. He won the Academy Award for Best Actor for The King and I (1956). He worked mostly in American films.

He was born Yuliy Borisovich Brynner in Vladivostok, Far Eastern Republic (present-day Vladivostok, Russia). He was the son of Marousia Dimitrievna (Blagovidova) and Boris Yuliyevich Bryner. His paternal grandfather was Swiss (of Swiss-German) descent, while the rest of his family was Russian. Yul’s mother and her family were from Penza, Russia.

There are claims out there that Yul had Buryat (Mongolic), Japanese, Romani, and/or Jewish ancestry. It is not clear if any of these claims have been verified/documented. Many different variations on Yul’s background have been spread over time.

Yul was married to Malaysian ballerina Kathy Lee, until his death. He had a son with his former wife, actress Virginia Gilmore; a daughter with his former partner, Frankie Tilden; a daughter, fashion businessperson Victoria Brynner, with his former wife, Chilean model Doris Kleiner; and two children with his former wife, French socialite Jacqueline Thion de la Chaume.

Yul’s paternal grandfather was Julius/Jules Joseph Ivanovich Bryner (the son of Johannes Bruner and Maria Huber von Windisch). Jules was Swiss, and was of Swiss-German descent. Johannes was born in Mörigen, Switzerland, the son of Jakob Bryner and Elizabeth Wilde.

Yul’s paternal grandmother was Natalya Yosifovna/Iosifovna Kurkutova (the daughter of Josif/Iosfig Ivanovich Kurkutov and Alexandra Ivanovna Tyutrina). Natalya was Russian, from Irkutsk, Russia. Josif was the son of Ivan Gerasimovich Kurkutov. Alexandra was the daughter of Ivan Tyutrin.

Yul’s maternal grandfather was Dmitry Yevrgafovich/Evgrafovich Blagovidov (the son of Yevgraf Alexandrovich Blagovidov and Maria Ivanovna). Dmitry was born in Akshenas, Ishara, Penza (Mordovia), Russia. Yevgraf was the son of Alexander Blagovidov.

Yul’s maternal grandmother was Anna Timofeevna Kireeva (the daughter of Timofey Kireev).

Sources: Genealogy of Yul Brynner (focusing on his father’s side) – https://www.geni.com

Family background of Yul’s paternal grandfather, Julius/Jules Joseph Ivanovich Bryner – http://www.dmmserver.com

Pictures of Yul’s mother’s family – http://www.ym-penza.ru


Curious about ethnicity

35 Responses

  1. Affellay says:

    He also claimed to be of Romani descent: http://select.nytimes.com/gst/abstract.html?res=F50D17FA385513728DDDAD0894DE405B888BF1D3

    And possibly one of the non-Slavic nationalities cause of his paternal grandmothers surname Kurkutova which is of Turkic (or Tatar-Mongolian) origin. I meant Turkic not the Turkish. SO dont be confused:)

  2. Michele says:

    People Yul brynner’s age may start out as having japanese ancestry,then all of a sudden become Filipino,Korean,Chinese,or something else.Actuaal Chinese Americans would walk around signs,which would be offensive language today,proclaiming they were no Japanese.

  3. Michele says:

    He was born in the right era that he would be vague about having japanese ancestry.He could have passed this to his son.

  4. christian says:

    he looks very russian 95 percent

    most russian have this looks, even the mongolid eyes

    i am from northern AFGHANISTAN and i know a lot of people of my family who look the same

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