Alexander Godunov was born on Sakhalin Island on the far eastern portion of the former Soviet Union on November 29th 1949. He began dancing at age 9 and rose quickly among the ballet ranks – touring with The Moscow Classical Ballet and joining the Bolshoi in 1971 where he received glowing reviews for numerous productions. When the Bolshoi toured the U.S. in 1973 he was suspected of being a possible defector and was not allowed to tour again until 1979 when (after defying curfew) he did indeed defect causing somewhat of an international scandal, which involved then president Jimmy Carter and Soviet premier Leonid Brezhnev. Subsequently he toured and danced with the American Ballet Theater under the direction of former schoolmate Mikhail Baryshnikov. In 1982 he and Baryshnikov had an unspecified falling out and Godunov left the company. At the time he was dating actress Jacqueline Bisset, their long-standing romance lasted from 1981-1988. In 1987 when re received his US citizenship he planned on celebrating the occasion by feasting on a “hamburger stuffed with caviar”.

Probably a combination of good looks, physical presence, and celebrity connections led to his film career which began very promisingly with his wonderful work as Daniel Hochleitner in Peter Weir’s ‘Witness’ in 1985, his comedic performance as a self-indulgent maestro Max Beissart in the Tom Hanks-Shelley Long flick ‘The Money Pit’ (1986), and of course as the crazed terrorist psychopath Karl in the action classic ‘Die Hard’ (1988). Two years later he drifted into genre work turning up as Sigvaldson, The Clockmaker in the Nordic-creature-on-an- urban-rampage feature ‘The Runestone’ (with Joan Severance) and in 1992 as Scarabis in ‘Waxwork II: Lost in Time’, guardian of the kingdom of perversion. Only two film roles followed 1994’s ‘North’ and his final part as Lothar Krasna in ‘The Zone’ aka ‘The Dogfighters’ which he had been filming in Budapest only a few short weeks prior to his death.

Somewhere along the line Godunov developed a great love of drink, which was to be his eventual undoing. His liquor store of choice was right on Sunset Blvd. next door to Johnny Depp’s infamous Viper Room. On May 18th 1995 friends were disturbed at not hearing from him. Likewise, his business manager could not reach him for several days. As a result a nurse was sent to his West Hollywood home at Shoreham Towers (Diane Linkletter’s notorious residence) where the nurse found him that Thursday dead at the age of 45. He had collapsed from heart failure due to acute alcohol syndrome and hepatitis complications. He had been dead for a least a couple of days. Following a quiet service the onetime “future of Russian dance” had his ashes were spread onto The Pacific.