Vagarshian, Vagarsh Bogdanovich
Born Feb. 2 (14), 1894, in Shusha; died May 6, 1959, in Moscow. Soviet Armenian actor, director, playwright, and theater figure. People’s Artist of the USSR (1954). Member of the CPSU from 1944.
Vagarshian began his theatrical activity in 1915; he worked in Tiflis, Baku, Krasnodar, and Rostov-on-Don. He joined the Sundukian Theater in Yerevan in 1923 as an actor and during the years 1941-44 was its artistic director. Vagarshian’s best roles were Suren (For the Sake of Honor by Shirvanzade), Gagik (Native Land by Demirchian), Asianami (In the Ring and Monastery Gorge by Vagarshian), Khlestakov (The Inspector General by Gogol), Arbenin (Masquerade by Lermontov), Protasov (The Living Corpse by L. N. Tolstoy), Hamlet (in Shakespeare’s play of that name), Tikhon (The Thunderstorm by Ostrovskii), and Miron Gorlov (The Front by Korneichuk). Vagarshian’s greatest creative achievement was the character of Egor Bulychov (in Gorky’s Egor Bulychov and the Others). Vagarshian was the first actor to create the character of V. I. Lenin on the stage of an Armenian theater (in a production of Pogodin’s Man With a Rifle).
Vagarshian was an actor with a high degree of stage culture and mastery. He created characters that were marked by depth of thought and breadth of social generalization. The productions Vagarshian staged at the Sundukian Theater included Fiery Bridge by Romashov (1929) and Dostigaev and the Others (1934) and Vassa Zheleznova (1937) by Gorky. He wrote the plays In the Ring (1930), Petroleum (1932), Monastery Gorge (1945), and others. Vagarshian began teaching at the Yerevan Theater Institute in 1944 (as a professor in 1946). He was a deputy to the First Convocation of the Supreme Soviet of the USSR. In 1927 he began a motion picture career. Vagarshian won the State Prize of the USSR in 1941 and in 1952. He was awarded the Order of Lenin, the Order of the Red Banner of Labor, and medals.
B. B. ARUTIUNIAN