Friday, June 16, 2017

Yul Brynner photographed by George Platt Lynes

Manhattan NY 1942

Yul Brynner was twenty two years old when this posing session took place.  He had been performing professionally (in Paris and after 1940 in New York) since at least the age of thirteen as a cabaret guitarist and singer and as a circus trapeze artist.  He was born in Vladivostok, but spent much of his childhood in Harbin, China, and Paris, France.  His ancestry was Swiss, Russian and Buryatt (which accounts for his Asian features.)  Around the time that these pictures were taken by the great queer photographer, Platt Lynes, Yul was known to be romantically and sexually involved with the actor and future movie star, Hurd Hatfield.  They had met in Ridgefield CT the year before where they were studying acting with Michael Chekhov (Anton’s nephew.)  Brynner married Virginia Gilmore (a well known film, television and stage actress) in 1944.  In 1946, he appeared on Broadway in Lute Song, with Mary Martin, which inevitably led to his great popular success and fame in Rodger and Hammerstein’s the King and I three years later.

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