Varlamov, Konstantin Aleksandrovich

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 It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Varlamov, Konstantin Aleksandrovich


Born May 11 (23), 1849, in St. Petersburg; died there Aug. 2 (15), 1915. Russian actor. Son of the composer A. E. Varlamov.

As a youth, Varlamov took part in amateur theatrical presentations. In 1867 he joined the theater of A. M. Chitau-Ogareva in Kronstadt. Chitau-Ogareva and the actress A. I. Schubert, a pupil of M. S. Shchepkin, strongly influenced the creative development of the young actor. For eight years he worked in the provinces, appearing in dramas, comedies, vaudeville, and operettas. In 1875 he became an actor at the Alexandrinskii Theater. He received general acclaim as a vaudeville actor. His acting expressed inexhaustible optimism and joy in life.

Further developing the tradition of la. D. Shumskii, A. G. Ozhogin, V. I. Zhivokini, and others, Varlamov resorted to improvisation and topical jokes. His art united daring buffoonery with psychologically penetrating character development, mastery of speech characteristics, and refined lyricism. He also enjoyed great success in Russian satiric comedy. Among his greatest roles were Varravin (in Sukhovo-Kobylin’s The Affair), Iaichnitsa (in Gogol’s The Marriage), Bol’shov (in Ostrovskii’s It’s a Family Affair, We’ll Settle It Among Ourselves) and Iusov (in Ostrovskii’s A Profitable Post). In the 1880’s, Varlamov became seriously ill with elephantiasis. Unable to move freely on stage, he acted mostly while seated. Until the end of his life Varlamov was a favorite of the public.


Stark, E. Tsar’ russkogo smekha. Petrograd, 1910.
Kryzhitskii, G. Konstantin Alexandrovich Varlamov. Moscow-Leningrad, 1946.
Kara, S. Varlamov. [Leningrad, 1969.]
The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.