Mikhail Ivanovich Zharov

Zharov, Mikhail Ivanovich


Born Oct. 14 (27), 1900, in Moscow. Soviet Russian actor and director; People’s Artist of the USSR (1949). Member of the CPSU since 1950.

Zharov graduated from the drama studio attached to the Theater of the Artistic and Educational Union of Workers Organizations in 1919. He was an actor with the mobile theater at the front, the Experimental Heroic Theater, the Meierkhol’d Theater, and the Baku Workers’ Theater. Between 1931 and 1937 he acted at the Moscow Chamber Theater; his best roles there included his portrayal of Aleksei in Vishnevskii’s Optimistic Tragedy. He also began to direct there, producing Sheinin’s Confrontation in 1936. At first he was drawn to comic roles both on the stage and in film. He was especially effective in creating bright comic types, notable for their infectious folk humor, charm, color, and observation of the details of everyday life. In 1938 he began working with the Malyi Theater, where he played Kharitonov (For Those at Sea, by Lavrenev), Prokhor (Vassa Zheleznova, by Gorky), Mitrich (The Power of Darkness, by L. N. Tolstoi), Lebedev (Jvanov, by Chekhov), lagub (The Poachers, by Rannet, which he also directed), Dikii (The Storm, by Ostrovskii), and Vorontsov (So Be It, by Simonov). The breadth of Zharov’s creative range was demonstrated particularly well in his work with the Malyi Theater. In addition to comic parts, he began to take sharp character and dramatic roles in both theater and film. He combined comic lightness with psychological depth, and his talent for acute satire found brilliant expression in his portrayal of negative characters.

Zharov is one of the outstanding Soviet motion picture actors. His best parts in sound movies included Zhigan (The Road to Life, 1931), Kudriash (The Storm, 1934), Zaitsev (Three Comrades, 1935), the office worker Dymba (Maksim’s Return, 1937, and The Vyborg Region, 1939), Smirnov (The Bear, 1938), Menshikov (Peter/, 1937, 1939), Deacon Gavrila (Bogdan KhmeVnitskii, 1941), the partisan Rusov (The Raion Committee Secretary, 1942), Eropkin (The Twins, 1945), Maliuta Skuratov (Ivan the Terrible, 1945, 1958), the Minister of War (Cain XVIII, 1963), and Aniskin (The Country Detective, 1969). Zharov was awarded the State Prize of the USSR in 1941, 1942, and 1947; he has also been awarded the Order of Lenin, three other orders, and various medals.


Zhizn’, teatr, kino. [Moscow, 1967.]


Metter, L. Mikhail Zharov. Moscow, 1939.
Efimov, N. Mikhail Zharov. Leningrad, 1940.
Krasnov, P. Narodnyi artist SSSR M. /. Zharov. Moscow, 1951.
Iurenev, R. “Mikhail Zharov.” In the collection Aktery Sovetskogo kino, issue 1. Moscow, 1964.
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