5 December 2009 6:26 AM, PST | WENN | See recent WENN news »

Veteran Russian actor Vyacheslav Tikhonov has died following a fatal heart attack on Friday, at the age of 81.

The star, who was hugely popular in his homeland, is best known for his role in 1968's Oscar-winning adaptation of Leo Tolstoy's War and Peace.

He began his training in 1945 and worked on the stage before landing his first film role in 1948. He later became well known in Russia for his leading role in It Happened in Penkovo a decade later.

He went on to film over 50 movies, and won a string of accolades for his talent, including the People's Artist of the Ussr in 1974 and Hero of Socialist Labour in 1982.

As well as his turn as Prince Andrei Bolkonski in War And Peace, he also starred in another Oscar winner, Burnt by the Sun, in 1994.

He married fellow screen star Nonna Mordyukova in 1948, and had a son, who died in 1990. His second marriage to Tamara Ivanovna Tikhonova produced a daughter, who is also an actress.

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