Babochkin, Boris Andreevich
Born Jan. 5 (18), 1904, in Saratov. Soviet Russian actor and director. People’s Artist of the USSR (1963). Member of the CPSU since 1948. Studied at Moscow’s Young Masters Studio; student of I. N. Pevtsov.
Babochkin has worked in the theater since 1921 (since 1935 as a producer) and has appeared in films since 1927. From 1931 to 1935 he was an actor at the Leningrad Pushkin Academic Theater of Drama; from 1937 to 1940 he headed the M. Gorky Bol’shoi Dramatic Theater. He then worked in Moscow at the Vakhtangov Theater (from 1940), the Film Actors’ Theater-Studio, and the Malyi Theater (1948–51 and since 1955). During 1952–53 he was principal director of the Moscow Pushkin Theater. His dramatic roles have included Chatskii (Woe From Wit by Griboedov), Pseudo-Demetrius (Boris Godunov by Pushkin), Ognev (The Front by Kor-neichuk), and Klaverov (Shades by Saltykov-Shchedrin). His most important directorial work has been the staging of M. Gorky’s play Summer Residents, which was performed in 1939 at the Bol’shoi Dramatic Theater (he played the role of Vlas) and in 1964 at the Malyi Theater (he played the role of Suslov); in 1967 the play was filmed. He also produced the plays Ivanov by Chekhov (1960; with himself in the leading role) and Truth Is Good, but Happiness Is Better by Ostrovskii (1966; with himself playing the role of Groznov), as well as other works, at the Malyi Theater.
His portrayal of Chapaev in the film of the same name (1934) brought him world fame. The combination of epic scope with deep penetration into the character of the popular hero born of the revolution was Babochkin’s contribution to the gallery of typical images of socialist realism. His works were marked by diversity of coloration; popular tragedy, publicistic drama (the role of Aadam in The Poachers by Rannet), and plays of delicate, lyrical moods were within his range. Since 1944 he has taught at the All-Union State Institute of Cinematography. (Since 1966 he has been a professor.) He has received the State Prize of the USSR (1941 and 1951) and has been awarded two Orders of Lenin, the Order of the Red Banner of Labor, and medals.