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Prominent Soviet-Era Moldovan Actor Mihai Volontir Dead At 81

Mihai Volontir in 1985
Mihai Volontir in 1985

Prominent Soviet-era Moldovan actor Mihai Volontir has died at the age of 81.

Media reports in Moldova said on September 15 that the iconic actor -- known to millions across the former Soviet Union -- died overnight in a clinic in his native city of Balti in northern Moldova.

Volontir had been battling with cancer and diabetes for the past several years.

In 2000, Moldovan authorities officially designated Volontir one of the greatest Moldovan actors of the 20th century.

Volontir played some 120 roles in theater and 30 roles in movies.

He reached the peak of his popularity in the Soviet Union in the 1980s after he played major roles in the television series Gypsy and Budulai's Return.

In 1988, Soviet authorities awarded him the title of the People's Actor of the U.S.S.R.

Based on reporting by and TASS