Varvara Massalitinova

Varvara Osipovna Massalitinova (Russian: Варва́ра О́сиповна Массалитинова; July 29, 1878 – October 20, 1945) was a Russian and Soviet theatre and film actress.

Varvara Massalitinova

Life and careerEdit

Born at Yelets in Oryol Governorate, she began acting at an amateur theatre club in the Siberian city of Tomsk. She then moved to Moscow and studied acting under Alexander Lensky at the Moscow Theatrical school, from which she graduated in 1901 as an actress.

From 1901 to 1945 Varvara Massalitinova was a permanent member of the troupe at Maly Academic Theatre in Moscow. There she worked on stage with such actors as Maria Yermolova, Yelena Gogoleva, Aleksandra Yablochkina, Vera Pashennaya, Aleksandr Yuzhin, Aleksandr Ostuzhev, Vladimir Davydov, Konstantin Zubov, Stepan Kuznetsov, Nikolai Annenkov, Mikhail Tsaryov, Igor Ilyinsky and many other notable Russian actors. She became famous in 1902 after her powerful stage performances as Korobochka in Nikolai Gogol's classic drama Dead Souls. Among her best-known stage roles were such classic parts as the officer's widow in the 1903 staging of Revizor (The Government Inspector), Merchutkina in Jubiley (1904), based on a play by Anton Chekhov, and Kukushkina in the 1911 staging of A Profitable Position. Over the course of her stage career Massalitinova established herself as one of the best performers in the classic plays by Aleksandr Ostrovsky.

In 1922 Massalitinova made her film debut in a small role in a silent movie Polikushka. Then she worked with director Yakov Protazanov in the first Russian Sci-Fi experiment, Aelita (1924), where she appeared alongside Mikhail Zharov and Igor Ilyinsky among other fellow actors from the Maly Theatre. In 1939 Massalitinova received a state award for her portrayal of the grandmother of writer Maxim Gorky in the 1938 classic film trilogy by director Mark Donskoy based on Gorky's autobiographical books. Her best-known role was the mother of the Russian folk hero Buslai in the acclaimed film Aleksandr Nevskiy (1938) by director Sergei Eisenstein, starring Nikolai Cherkasov and Nikolai Okhlopkov.

Varvara Massalitinova was designated as a People's Artist of Russia and was awarded for her performances on stage and in film (Stalin Prize, 1941). She died on October 20, 1945, in Moscow and was laid to rest in the Novodevichy Cemetery in Moscow.


... aka Gorky Trilogy II
... aka My Apprenticeship
... aka On His Own (USA)
... aka Out in the World

... aka Гроза (Soviet Union: Russian title)
... aka The Storm

External linksEdit