The Georgian actor, singer and political figure Vakhtang Kikabidze passed away on Sunday at the age of 84 in Georgia's capital Tbilisi.
Kikabidze was one of the Soviet Union’s most popular singers and actors. He had the distinction of registering the first “vocal-instrumental ensemble” - that is, a popular music group - in 1958. He continued to perform until recent years in Georgia, Latvia, Azerbaijan and other venues.
In the 1960s he embarked on a film career, acting in more than 20 Georgian and Russians films including “TASS is Authorized to Announce” and “Hopelessly Lost.” He was best known for his work with Georgian director Georgi Daneliya: "Ku! Kin-dza-dza" (2013); "Mimino" (1977); and “Fortuna” (2000).
“Mimino” made him a star. It is the funny and touching story of a Georgian pilot (Kikabidze) who comes to Moscow with dreams of becoming an international Aeroflot pilot and ends up having adventures exploring Moscow with an Armenian truck driver played by Frunzik Mkrtchyan whom he meets at the Rossiya Hotel. Kikabidze also sings the film’s theme song, “Chito-Gvrito,” which has remained a nostalgic hit throughout the former Soviet republics.