Donatas Banionis is a Lithuanian and Soviet actor. He is best known in the West for his performance in the lead role of Tarkovsky's Solaris as Kris Kelvin. Banionis began his career with some films in Lithuanian, but he would later play mainly in Russian language films. He has also worked outside the USSR like in the title role Francisco Goya of the USSR-GDR coproduction Goya or the Hard Way to Enlightenment, directed by Konrad Wolf and in the title role as Ludwig van Beethoven in the 1976 DEFA-production Beethoven - Tage aus einem Leben. In addition to films, he is a popular actor in the theatre of Panevėžys, where he has been acting since the age of 17, and which was frequented by Donatas' fans from all over the former Soviet Union. His first teacher was Juozas Miltinis. He also acts in Vilnius, in the Lithuanian National Drama Theatre.