• 27 July 1903
  •  St. Petersburg, Russian Empire [now Russia]

Nikolay Cherkasov


The preeminent Russian actor, at least in Western eyes, of the first half of the twentieth century. He became interested in the theatre as a teenager and joined the Teatr Mariinskij as a stagehand in 1918. He apprenticed with various traveling companies and therein learned ballet, pantomime, and acrobatics. He studied at the St. Petersburg (Leningrad) Theater Institute and made his stage debut in 1926. The following year, he entered films and his commanding presence soon brought him leading roles and enormous acclaim, as well as the approbation of the Soviet leadership, which elected him a deputy of the Supreme Soviet. His greatest fame world-wide came with his work in the films of Sergei M. Eisenstein. Following the masterpieces _Aleksandr Nevsky (1938)_ and _Ivan Groznyj I (1945)_ he was named to the Order of Lenin and made People's Artist of the USSR, respectively. He died in 1966. He should not be confused with the actor Nikolay P. Cherkasov who starred in many Russian films.