Despite his tall giant stature, piercing stare and adonis presence, he was quite a shy and insecure man.
He danced as a principal with the ABT for almost three years until longtime friend and rival Mikhail Baryshnikov booted him out. He was making $5,500 a week at the time. After that, their relationship was pretty much severed. He remarked that it reminded him "of Russian behavior. Nobody prepared me...it smells like Russia."
After having two supporting roles in big blockbuster hits "Witness" and "Die Hard," Godunov seemed destined for stardom. But he turned down just about every other role that came his way. Most of the work either pigeonholed him as a ballet dancer or as a villain like in "Die Hard." He mostly was reduced to appearing in direct-to-video clunkers. He seemed to be making something of a comeback up until the time of his death.
Godunov's ashes were released into the Pacific. His mother, brother, niece and nephew, who still live in Latvia, did not attend his service.
Godunov died shortly before the theatrical release of "Die Hard with a Vengeance" (1995), the second sequel to his most well-known film, "Die Hard" (1988).