- Independent Journalism From Today's Armenia
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 August 1, 2003 

Remembered for Smiles: Acting community and fans pay tribute to Khostikyan

Actor Armen Khostikyan was beloved for his television and stage performances.

The actors' community of Yerevan gathered with fans of their work last weekend at the Paronyan Theater to mourn the loss of popular actor Armen Khostikyan.

The 74-year old actor died July 22 of complications from diabetes.

Known for film and stage performances (especially as part of the Sundukyan Theater), Khostikyan was beloved for his satirical sketches, inexpressible scenic charm and his inherent deep sense of humor. Many who mourn his loss remember the impact his entertainment had during the bleak years of the early 1990s. Others remember how his appearance on television enlivened any New Year's party.

"We are in debt to him as he made all of us smile, and the smile is a very valuable thing. The laughter has diminished in our city," said associate of the actor Ashot Ghazaryan.

In an interview a few years ago, Khostikyan recalled with typical charm how he became a comedic actor.

"My father was 50 years old when I was born. Can you imagine his happiness. He rented a carriage and came to hospital for taking home his long-expected son. On the way back my father picked up his child in his arms and, as he was disconcerted and excited, he turned the blankets upside down. At home when the blankets were opened they saw two small feet instead of head.

"Later it became clear that when my father up-ended napkins he forgot to turn them back again and brought me home in that position. So, I saw the world upside down for the first time in my life and I was destined to become a comedian and nothing else," he was telling with his kind smile on his face.

The road to becoming an actor became crucial for Khostikyan when he was studying his first year in Yerevan Medical University.

"My mother was a teacher of Russian language in the Medical University and she wanted me to become a doctor very much and I entered the University. Once, during practical training the tutor told me to take a bone and start telling about it and describing it. The smell of formaldehyde made me feel bad and the tutor told me that I would never become a doctor. At that very moment one of the students shouted out, 'he is an actor! Read something for us'."

Armen Khostikyan read a monologue in the lecture hall and put an end to his medical career.

In 1947 Khostikyan entered the acting department of Yerevan Theatrical Institute and got his destined profession under the guidance of the professor Armen Gulakyan.

During the last year of his study in the Institute he had already been an actor of Sundukyan Theatre and was appearing on the scene with such great actors as Vahram Papazyan, Hrachia Nersisyan, Vagharsh Vagharshyan, Avet Avetisyan and others.

During those years art director of the theatre and famous director Vardan Atchemyan called Khostikyan "an actor who has a charm with a radius of four meters". And before entering the stage he often used to say, "Armen, do whatever you can so that people won't recognize you, because the audience applauds you more than the leading actors. They will take offence."

The turning point of Khostikyan's acting career was after such movies as "Orchestra Boys", "Golden Bull" and "Lipstick No. 4", where his characters became popular and their expressions turned into winged words that are repeated still.

In 1990, when cold and hunger were reigning in the republic, Khostikyan created a troupe which gave numerous performances, bringing humor and laughter to countrymen who had little to smile about.

Khostikyan will be remembered as a serious satirist and as a working and thinking actor.

"Khostikyan was the salt of our theater. If he was performing in any performances then success was assured," says Varduhi Varderesyan, Honored Artist.

His associates praised Khostikyan's professional and personal life. At his memorial, his wife's weeping was alternating with her calming voice to their grandchild: "He didn't leave. He is with us. See, how many people came here, how many flowers there are? People die only when they are forgotten."

According to Agnes
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About 10 to 15 students sat outside the Presidential Residence in Yerevan Thursday to protest the closing of student hostels. They held banners saying "Think about future students" and "Mr. President are you with us?" The government is dismantling the student hostels, forcing non-resident students to find other housing.



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