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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Actor Yefremov Dies

MOSCOW -- Oleg Yefremov, a renowned actor and theater director, died Wednesday at the age of 72 at his home after a long bout with lung disease.

In 1956, at the start of Nikita Khrushchev's "thaw," Yefremov founded the Sovremennik theater, which became the first venue for plays by writers like Vasily Aksyonov and Yevgeny Shvarts, who were considered controversial by Soviet ideological standards .

Yefremov went on to become the lead director at the Moscow Art Theater in 1970 and, after the theater split in two in 1987, he headed up the Chekhov Art Theater, which won renown for its revival of pre-revolutionary theater traditions, Interfax and AP reported.

AP cited reports that Yefremov is to be buried at Novodevichy Cemetery.