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).
He danced with the American Ballet Theater which was at the time being run by his childhood friend and former classmate Mikhail Baryshnikov until Baryshnikov forced him out in 1982. Godunov was crushed and betrayed. He eventually bounced back and started his own dance troupe (which he danced in). But many of his closest friends said, "After that, he never put himself into ballet completely."
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.
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."
Subject of the Silver-medal winning dance documentry: "Godunov: The World to Dance In."