Cultural institutions, officials send tributes after acclaimed film actor, singer Buba Kikabidze dies at 84

Kikabidze earned the state titles of People’s Artist of Georgia, Honorary Citizen of Tbilisi and Honorary Artist of Ukraine, in addition to prizes for his performances. Photo via Culture Ministry, 15 Jan 2023 - 17:31, Tbilisi,Georgia

Georgian cultural institutions, industry professionals and officials on Sunday sent their tributes after the passing away of the popular film actor and singer Vakhtang Kikabidze at the age of 84.

Kikabidze, recognised for his cinema roles across the 20th century and known affectionately among the public as "Buba", died in Tbilisi, with the Culture Ministry paying homage to the “diverse career" of the artist.

Its release said the late performer has become “everyone’s favourite singer, actor, director and screenwriter”, and noted “deep sorrow” over his death.

Beside his cinema appearances, Kikabidze's vocal performances also earned popularity from domestic audiences. Photo via Government Administration/Facebook

Prime Minister Irakli Garibashvili sent his condolences to the family and friends of Kikabidze, pointing out "[f]or many generations of our country, his name as an actor is associated with many favourite characters that have withstood the test of time and will delight the audience for a long time”.

Kikabidze earned recognition in his cinema career since the 1960s, through roles that became iconic in the Soviet film industry. His appearance in the 1977 Mimino, and a range of other Georgian and Russian films, was followed by selections for casts as late as 2000, when director Giorgi Danelia selected him for his feature Fortune

Joining the Tbilisi Philharmonic in 1959 and becoming a soloist at the vocal quartet Orera in 1967, he also became a recognised vocal performer across the USSR by the 1980s.

A recipient of several titles including the People’s Artist of Georgia, Lifetime Achievement Award and Shota Rustaveli State Prize, he was also named Honorary Citizen of Tbilisi and Honorary Artist of Ukraine.