Alexey Gribov

Alexey Nikolayevich Gribov (Russian: Алексей Николаевич Грибов; 31 January [O.S. 18 January] 1902 — 26 November 1977) was a Soviet and Russian actor, "master of all types of Russian national character"[1] mostly remembered for his comedy roles, as well as a pedagogue at the Moscow Art Theatre. He starred in over 60 movies and was named People's Artist of the USSR in 1948, Hero of Socialist Labour in 1972 and awarded four Stalin Prizes (1942, 1946, 1951 and 1952).[2][3]

Alexey Gribov
Alexey Gribov.jpg
Alexey Nikolayevich Gribov

(1902-01-31)31 January 1902
Died26 November 1977(1977-11-26) (aged 76)
Moscow, Soviet Union
OccupationActor, theatre pedagogue
Years active1924—1977
Spouse(s)Elena Baranovskaya
Izolda Apin
Natalia Valandina
AwardsStalin Prize (1942, 1946, 1951, 1952)
Hero of Socialist Labour (1972)


Alexey and his sister were born in Moscow into a working-class family.[4] His mother worked at the tobacco manufacturing company; she died from tuberculosis when he was four years old.[5] His paternal grandfather was a serf who moved to Moscow from the Lotoshino volost following the Emancipation reform of 1861 and became a machinist. His father Nikolai Mikhailovich Gribov was a driver who escorted Moscow elite such as Nikolai von Meck; after his wife's death he married another woman who gave birth to three children, and in 1916 left for the frontline. Alexey had to become a factory worker to feed the family.[4][6]

In 1919 he entered an evening school, and in 1921 — the 3rd Moscow Art Theatre studio (modern-day Vakhtangov Theatre). Upon graduation in 1924 he joined the theatre troupe where he had served for the rest 50 years.[2] His acting skills were highly regarded by Konstantin Stanislavski.[6]

Among his notable stage performances were Sobakevich from the 1934 play Dead Souls, Khlynov from An Ardent Heart (1938), Ivan Chebutykin from Three Sisters (1940), Globa from Konstantin Simonov's Russian People (1943), Yepikhodov and Firs from the two different adaptations of The Cherry Orchard (1944 and 1958), Luka from The Lower Depths (1948) and Foma Opiskin from The Village of Stepanchikovo (1970). He was also the first MAT actor to portray Vladimir Lenin in Nikolai Pogodin's play The Kremlin Chimes for which he received his first Stalin Prize.[1][2]

From 1935 on he also appeared in movies. His famous performances include mostly character comedy roles such as the bride's father from The Wedding (1944), the horse trainer from Brave People (1950) which gained him another Stalin Prize, a bureaucrat Nekhoda from True Friends (1954), a sea captain from Striped Trip (1961), the father-in-law from Adult Children (1961), an old customs official from The Head of Chukotka (1966) and the head of the photo studio from Zigzag of Success (1968).[7] He also did a lot of voice acting at Soyuzmultfilm.

During the Great Patriotic War Gribov and other actors regularly visited the frontline with performances for which he was awarded the Medal "For Valiant Labour in the Great Patriotic War 1941–1945". In 1944 he joined the Communist Party.[7] He taught acting at the Moscow Art Theatre School, gaining a title of professor in 1970.[8]

In 1974 he survived a massive stroke while performing in Three Sisters which became his last stage appearance. He had to learn to talk and walk again and finally started teaching students, but his health declined.[6] Alexey Gribov died in 1977 and was buried at the Novodevichy Cemetery.[9]

Personal lifeEdit

Gribov was married three times. His first wife, Elena Vladimirovna Baranovskaya, was 10 years older and had been previously married to a theatre pedagogue Alexei Nikolaevich Baranovsky who taught Gribov at the start of his career. Their relationships were said not to be based on love: he wanted to support Baranovskaya when she became a widow at the start of the war. While still married he started dating Izolda Fyodorovna Apin, a director and administrator at the Moscow Art Theatre, and in 1947 she gave birth to their son Alexey Gribov. In five years he divorced and married her. His last wife Natalia Iosifovna Valandina was a director's assistant at Mosfilm, 26 years younger than him. He also started dating her while still married to Apin. He later adopted her two daughters from two previous husbands.[6][10]

Among Gribov's closest friends were Anatoli Ktorov and Mikhail Yanshin. As young men he and Yanshin professionally took part in dressage and horse racing and became hippodrome regulars during later years. In the 1950 movie Brave People Gribov performed as a horse trainer and chose to ride the horse himself, and at one point they nearly fell off a cliff.[6]

Selected filmographyEdit


  1. ^ a b Inna Solovyova. Alexey Nikolayevich Gribov article at the Moscow Art Theatre website (in Russian)
  2. ^ a b c Gribov, Aleksei Nikolaevich article from the Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 1979
  3. ^ Heroes of Country. Alexey Nikolayevich Gribov
  4. ^ a b Alexey Gribov. The Great Simplicity documentary at Russia-K, 2002 (in Russian)
  5. ^ Svetlana Novikova-Ganelina. National character of Alexey Gribov article from Argumenty i Fakty № 5, 4 March 2004 (in Russian)
  6. ^ a b c d e Dmitry Scheglov. Solo for an uncomfortable man article at the Top Secret newspaper, 1 July 2004 (in Russian)
  7. ^ a b Cinema: Encyclopedia Dictionary, main ed. Sergei Yutkevich (1987). — Moscow: Soviet Encyclopedia, p. 103
  8. ^ Gribov Alexey Nikolaevich article from the Great Russian Encyclopedia, official website (in Russian)
  9. ^ Alexei Gribov's tomb
  10. ^ Maria Ivanova about her adoptive father Alexei Gribov, his wives and his last love at Story Caravan, December 2014 (in Russian)

External linksEdit