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Yakov Brand: Soviet and Russian cardiac surgeon and TV anchor

BMJ 2018; 362 doi: (Published 07 August 2018) Cite this as: BMJ 2018;362:k3423
  1. Boleslav Lichterman
  1. Moscow
  1. lichterman{at}

Yakov Beniaminovich Brand was born into a Jewish family. His father was a military dermatologist and his mother a surgeon. “When I was 3 years old, my mother started taking me to her hospital since there was nobody to stay at home with me,” he recalled. “I am convinced that growing up in a surgical department is as romantic as growing up backstage or on a film set. My mother’s patients loved me. They taught me not only grammar but also how to play the guitar.” Brand grew up in Odessa, a vibrant cosmopolitan city on the Black Sea in Ukraine.

Acting ambitions

During his school years, Brand worked in a studio theatre as a puppet mover. His acting abilities came to the fore at a summer camp of the factory where his uncle was employed. Only the children of factory employees were allowed to go, and Brand played the part of his uncle’s son every summer. He viewed himself as a spy in another country and never revealed his real name to the others. He aspired to be a film actor, but he failed his entrance exams at the …

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