Photo courtesy of Yakov Smirnoff official website
Yakov Smirnoff started his entertainment career as a bartender and standup comic after emigrating from the former USSR. He has had a long and varied career, appearing in films, on stage, and on television. His sitcom What a Country! often portrayed the perspective of a new Russian immigrant marveling at the ways of America. In 1992, Smirnoff began a 20-year run performing at his own theater in Branson, Missouri. He is also a painter, known for works such as “America’s Heart,” a 9/11 memorial mural.