Twisted History produced by John Kelly, researched by Saint Anne
Grigori Yefimovich Rasputin was Russian mystic and holy man who was also known as "The Mad Monk”.
He had a reputation for being a sex-crazed womanizer with terrible hygiene. He was said to be 6’4," had links to the occult, the ear of the tsar, and he may have taken down one of the most powerful Russian families in history.
He is also a very popular recurring character in pop culture:
- John Belushi played him in Saturday Night Live
- Jerry O’Connell plays him in Drunk History
He is a character in the upcoming film, The King's Man, and will be played by Welsh actor Rhys Ifans. He was Dr. Curt Connors/The Lizard in 2012’s Amazing Spider Man, and he played the derelict kicker Nigel Gruff from Wales in 2000’s football movie The Replacements starring Keanu and Gene Hackman.
In the 1997 animated film Anastasia, Rasputin is the villainous sorcerer who brought himself back to life in order to complete a curse he placed on the Romanovs, by killing the last of the royal family. He was voiced by Christopher Lloyd, who also played Jim Ignatowski on the TV show 'TAXI,' was in 'Cuckoo’s Nest,' played Uncle Fester in all the 'Adam’s Family' movies, and Doc Brown in all the 'Back To The Future' flicks. And here’s a little known fact: Christopher Lloyd is still alive.
In the Seinfeld episode "The Suicide," Jerry asks Elaine if naming a child "Rasputin" would have a negative effect on the child. At the end of the episode, George mentions that he helped a fortune teller deliver her child, and when Jerry asks what name was given to the baby, he replied, "You won't believe it …Rasputin."
In season 3, of The Sopranos, in the Pine Barrens episode Paulie Walnuts compares a Russian mob figure to Rasputin after he evades them in the Pine Barrens, despite apparently being shot in the head.
Last year, in season 5 of DC's Legends of Tomorrow, Rasputin is revealed to be one of the villainous historical figures resurrected by the demon Astra who is ultimately defeated when The Atom shrinks down, flies into his stomach, and re-enlarges, blowing apart his body:
And a couple of years back, Warner Brothers bought a pitch for an upcoming film based on Rasputin’s life starring Leonardo DiCaprio in the title role. So, even though he’s been dead for over 100 years, he’s still relevant.
LISTEN: The Twisted History of Rasputin w/ Jerry Thornton