Cherkasov, Nikolai Konstantinovich

The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Cherkasov, Nikolai Konstantinovich


Born July 14 (27), 1903, in St. Petersburg; died Sept. 14, 1966, in Leningrad. Soviet Russian actor. People’s Artist of the USSR (1947). Member of the CPSU from 1940.

From 1923 to 1926, Cherkasov studied at the Leningrad Institute of Stage Arts. He appeared with the Leningrad Theater for Young Audiences and in 1933 joined the A. S. Pushkin Drama Theater in Leningrad. He also performed in the estrada (variety stage) trio Pat, Patashon, and Charley Chaplin. Cherkasov, an actor of extraordinary versatility, expressed great socialist optimism and profound devotion to the Communist Party in his roles. He masterfully portrayed a number of famous historical figures. He became famous for his performance of Professor Polezhaev in the film Baltic Deputy (1937), a turning point in the development of the Soviet cinema.

Cherkasov subsequently played a number of roles on the stage, including the title role in A. N. Tolstoy’s Peter the Great, M. Gorky in Kapler and Zlatogorova’s Stormy Year, Ivan the Terrible in Solov’ev’s His Supreme Majesty, I. V. Michurin in Dov-zhenko’s Life in Blossom, and V. V. Mayakovsky in Katanian’s They Knew Mayakovsky. Cherkasov earned a place in motion-picture history for his performances of Tsarevich Aleksei in Peter the Great (1937–39) and the title roles in Alexander Nevsky (1938) and Ivan the Terrible (parts I and II, 1945 and 1958).

Cherkasov was also an outstanding comedian, occasionally tending toward the grotesque. In 1929 he performed in the Moscow and Leningrad music halls and then in the Leningrad Komediia Theater. He gave distinct interpretations of the role of Don Quixote—in the play of that name (1957) and in a film verson of Cervantes’ novel. Cherkasov was very successful in his film role of Paganelle in Captain Grant’s Children (1936). His rendering of the role of Dronov in Aleshin’s Everything Is Left to the People, both on the stage and in the film of 1963, was one of his most outstanding dramatic successes. He was also highly successful as General Khludov in Bulgakov’s play Flight.

Cherkasov was a member of the Soviet Committee for the Defense of Peace. He was the author of the books In India (1952), Notes of a Soviet Actor (1953), The Fourth Don Quixote (1958), and In the Theater and The Cinema (1961). He was a deputy to the first and second convocations of the Supreme Soviet of the RSFSR and the third and fourth convocations of the Supreme Soviet of the USSR. He was awarded the Lenin Prize (1964), the State Prize of the USSR (1941, 1946, 1950, and twice in 1951), two Orders of Lenin, three other orders, and various medals.


Dreiden, S. Nikolai Cherkasov, 2nd ed. Moscow, 1939.
Ben’iash, R. Nikolai Konstantinovich Cherkasov. Moscow, 1952.
Beilin, A. Nikolai Cherkasov. Moscow, 1963.
Zubkov, Iu. Tvorchestvo N. K. Cherkasova. Moscow, 1964.
Gerasimov, Iu. K., and Zh. G. Skverchinskaia. Cherkasov. Moscow, 1976.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.