Born on 2 May, 1939 in Kiev.
From age eleven, he wanted to become an actor, and when he turned seventeen, he left for Moscow. He applied to the Shchukin Theatre College, where he studied under Vera Lvovaya. From 1961 he worked in the Lenkom Theatre where, in 1963, Anatoly Efros became the chief director. The actor came to see Efros as “his” teacher.
From 1967, he worked in the Theatre on Malaya Bronnaya. In 1991, he emigrated to Israel where he created the Gesher Drama Theatre in Tel Aviv, together with the director Evgeniy Aryeh (“Gesher," in Hebrew, means “bridge”). The company is made up of actors who formerly played in the theatres of Moscow and Leningrad.
Starting in 2006, he narrated a Russian documentary program, “Sledstvie veli...”, on the NTV network.
He is an actor with the “Amethyst" production company. He is married to the daughter of the famous “Shtepsel” (Efim Berezin), Anna Berezina. His brother is the writer and satirist Aleksandr Kanevskiy.