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|Also Known As:||Died:|
|Born:||August 11, 1950||Cause of Death:|
|Birth Place:||Riga, LV||Profession:||Cast ... actor|
With the East European accent of his birth still evident in his speech, Elya Baskin has usually been cast to type in a wide variety of roles, from Russian spy to a naturalized American cop. Born in Riga, Latvia, he attended Moscow's prestigious Theatre and Variety Arts College and was subsequently accepted at the Moscow Comedy Theatre where he won a Festival of Young Actors Award. Although he had every reason to assume his career as a performer was assured, life in the Soviet Union for an artist of Jewish descent had its pitfalls. In 1976 when the emigration rules were relaxed, Baskin was allowed to leave on a year's visa. He made his way to Hollywood, where producer Paul Maslansky (with whom he had worked in Russia) agreed to lend a hand. Soon, Baskin had his first US role, albeit a small one, in Gene Wilder's "The World's Greatest Lover" (1977). More small roles followed, such as a bookkeeper in "Butch and Sundance: The Early Years" and a Russian aide in "Being There" (both 1979), leading to the circus clown Anatoly opposite Robin Williams in Paul Mazursky's "Moscow on the Hudson" (1984). Baskin has continued to work in films, including a turn as Burciaga, the Polish scientist, in "Deepstar Six" (1989), and as the ship captain in "Love Affair" (1994). Baskin played the terrorist pilot in "Air Force One" (1997), a departure from his previous roles, which were often classified as "nice guys." He has also compiled many TV credits, including Mr. Slovak, a local immigrant, in "My Town" (1986), and Yuri, a member of an elite police squad in the short-lived "True Blue" (NBC, 1979-80).
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