Leo Feodoroff

Leo Feodoroff (1867 - November 23, 1949) was a Russian opera impresario, singer and silent film actor.[1][2][3]

Leo Feodoroff advises Lon Chaney in the 1929 film Laugh Clown Laugh

Feodoroff was born in Odessa in the Russian Empire in 1867.[4] At a young age, he left home to travel with an opera company. He sang bass in various groups until 1917.[5] In March, 1917, a group of Russian opera stars met at Feodoroff's home in Ekaterinberg following the start of the Russian Revolution. The Revolution had caused many in the group to lose their jobs, and some were there to escape bombings, starvation, or threats. The group, led by Feodoroff, formed a new opera company called the Russian Grand Opera.[6]

As owner[7] and director of the Russian Grand Opera he led the company's tour of Russia and the Far East until the early 1920s. The company traveled to the United States in 1922, first landing in Seattle.[8][1] During a tour in Mexico, a revolution caused the group to lose their money and equipment. When the company returned from the tour to the United States, it disbanded from a lack of funds around 1923.[7][9] Afterwards, Feodoroff began acting in films in New York. Around 1926, he went to Hollywood to continue acting.[9] Feodoroff became a character actor in silent films, notably, God Gave Me Twenty Cents (1926), The Music Master (1927),[10] and Laugh Clown Laugh (1929) (with Lon Chaney and Loretta Young). He retired from acting in 1935.

On November 12, 1949, Feodoroff was involved in a car accident. Eleven days later, he died from injuries caused by the accident at Long Beach Hospital, at age 82. At the time of his death, he had one surviving daughter: Anastasia Pressman.[5]

In an interview he recounted his long career in theater, touring outside of Russia, and arriving in the U.S. while Russia was war torn. He said that while the world's operas were translated into Russia and known to him, Russian operas were not well known elsewhere.[8]



  1. ^ a b "Hold Rites for Feodoroff, Opera Impresario". Newsday (Suffolk Edition). 25 November 1949. p. 17. Retrieved 30 July 2021.
  2. ^ Vazzana, Eugene Michael (2001). Silent Film Necrology. McFarland. p. 167. ISBN 978-0-7864-1059-0. Retrieved 30 July 2021.
  3. ^ Zietz, Karyl Lynn; Lynn, Karyl Charna (July 24, 1995). Opera Companies and Houses of the United States: A Comprehensive, Illustrated Reference. McFarland. ISBN 9780899509556 – via Google Books.
  4. ^ Truitt, Evelyn Mack (1977). Who was who on screen. Bowker. p. 151. ISBN 978-0-8352-0914-4. Retrieved 30 July 2021 – via Archive.org.
  5. ^ a b "Leo Feodoroff, 82, Actor and Singer; Brought Russian Opera Troupe, Including Chaliapin, Here - Dies After Car Mishap". The New York Times. November 25, 1949. p. 31.
  6. ^ Forbes, Genevieve (9 February 1923). "Russians Tell Art's Kicks and Cuffs in Red '17". Chicago Tribune. p. 12. Retrieved 30 July 2021.
  7. ^ a b Freeman, Stephen A (1975). The Middlebury College foreign language schools, 1915-1970: the story of a unique idea. Middlebury College Press. pp. 142–143. Retrieved 30 July 2021 – via Archive.org.
  8. ^ a b "Russian Opera From The West". The Literary Digest. Vol. 72, no. 5. 4 February 1922. pp. 28–29. Retrieved 30 July 2021 – via Archive.org.
  9. ^ a b "Feodoroff Was An Opera Director, Now He's An Extra". The Standard Union. 30 August 1928. p. 9. Retrieved 30 July 2021.
  10. ^ "Amusements". Bay of Plenty Times. Vol. LVI, no. 9646. 29 November 1927. p. 2. Retrieved 30 July 2021 – via Papers Past.
  11. ^ Institute, American Film (July 24, 1997). The American Film Institute Catalog of Motion Pictures Produced in the United States. University of California Press. ISBN 9780520209695 – via Google Books.

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