Soviet actor Vladimir Ivashov is best known in the West for his work in Ballad of a Soldier (1960). His film debut, he won the role while studying under Mikhail Romm at Moscow's prestigious VGIK. He graduated from the institute in 1963, but despite the acclaim he received for his first film and the respect offered by his peers, Ivashov's subsequent film roles, in such efforts as When September Comes(1976) and Diamonds for the Proletariat Dictatorship (1976), stardom eluded him. Towards the end of his life, Ivashov found it so difficult to find acting jobs that he worked in a railroad yard as loading and unloading freight cars. According to his wife, actress Svetlana Svetlichnaya, Ivashov suffered from a weak heart and the labor-intensive railroad work was presumed responsible for his death at the age of 55.