The following people are considered by Pantheon to be the top 10 most legendary Russian Actors of all time. This list of famous Russian Actors is sorted by HPI (Historical Popularity Index), a metric that aggregates information on a biography’s online popularity. Visit the rankings page to view the entire list of Russian Actors.
With an HPI of 83.03, Yul Brynner is the most famous Russian Actor. His biography has been translated into 65 different languages on wikipedia.
Yuliy Borisovich Briner (Russian: Юлий Борисович Бринер; July 11, 1920 – October 10, 1985), better known as Yul Brynner, was a Russian-American actor, singer, and director, best known for his portrayal of King Mongkut in the Rodgers and Hammerstein stage musical The King and I, for which he won two Tony Awards, and later an Academy Award for Best Actor for the film adaptation. He played the role 4,625 times on stage and became known for his shaved head, which he maintained as a personal trademark long after adopting it for The King and I. Considered one of the first Russian-American film stars, he was honored with a ceremony to put his handprints in front of Grauman's Chinese Theatre in Hollywood in 1956, and also received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 1960. He received the National Board of Review Award for Best Actor for his portrayal of Ramesses II in the Cecil B. DeMille epic The Ten Commandments (1956) and General Bounine in the film Anastasia (also 1956). He was also well known as the gunman Chris Adams in The Magnificent Seven (1960) and its first sequel Return of the Seven (1966), along with roles as the android "The Gunslinger" in Westworld (1973), and its sequel, Futureworld (1976). In addition to his film credits, he also worked as a model and photographer and was the author of several books.
With an HPI of 72.00, Armin Mueller-Stahl is the 2nd most famous Russian Actor. His biography has been translated into 39 different languages.
Armin Mueller-Stahl (born 17 December 1930) is a retired German film actor, painter and author. He was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor for his role in Shine.
With an HPI of 70.39, Michael Chekhov is the 3rd most famous Russian Actor. His biography has been translated into 34 different languages.
Mikhail Aleksandrovich "Michael" Chekhov (Russian: Михаил Александрович Чехов, 29 August 1891 – 30 September 1955) was a Russian-American actor, director, author and theatre practitioner. He was a nephew of the playwright Anton Chekhov and a student of Konstantin Stanislavski. Stanislavski referred to him as his most brilliant student. Although mainly a stage actor, he made a few notable appearances on film, perhaps most memorably as the Freudian analyst in Alfred Hitchcock's Spellbound (1945), for which he received his only Academy Award nomination.
With an HPI of 69.81, Lila Kedrova is the 4th most famous Russian Actor. Her biography has been translated into 33 different languages.
Elizaveta (Lila) Nikolaevna Kedrova (Russian: Елизавета (Лиля) Николаевна Кедрова; 9 October 1909– 16 February 2000) was a Russian-born French actress. She won the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress for Zorba the Greek (1964), and the Tony Award for Best Performance by a Featured Actress in a Musical for the same role in the musical version of the film.
With an HPI of 68.44, Olga Knipper is the 5th most famous Russian Actor. Her biography has been translated into 28 different languages.
Olga Leonardovna Knipper-Chekhova (Russian: Ольга Леонардовна Книппер-Чехова; 21 September [O.S. 9 September] 1868 – 22 March 1959) was a Russian and Soviet stage actress. She was married to Anton Chekhov.Knipper was among the 39 original members of the Moscow Art Theatre when it was formed by Konstantin Stanislavski in 1898. She played Arkadina in The Seagull (1898), played Elena in the Moscow premiere of Uncle Vanya (1899), and was the first to play Masha in Three Sisters (1901) and Madame Ranevskaya in The Cherry Orchard (1904). Knipper married Anton Chekhov, the author of these plays, in 1901. Knipper-Chekhova played Ranevskaya again in 1943, when the theatre marked the 300th performance of The Cherry Orchard.
With an HPI of 68.25, Yuri Nikulin is the 6th most famous Russian Actor. His biography has been translated into 49 different languages.
Yuri Vladimirovich Nikulin (Russian: Юрий Владимирович Никулин; 18 December 1921 – 21 August 1997) was a Soviet and Russian actor and clown who starred in many popular films. He is best known for his roles in Leonid Gaidai's comedies, such as The Diamond Arm and Kidnapping, Caucasian Style, although he occasionally starred in dramatic roles and performed in Moscow Circus. He was awarded the title of People's Artist of the USSR in 1973 and Hero of Socialist Labour in 1990. He also received a number of state awards, including the prestigious Order of Lenin, which he received twice in his lifetime.
With an HPI of 67.92, Sacha Guitry is the 7th most famous Russian Actor. His biography has been translated into 37 different languages.
Alexandre-Pierre Georges "Sacha" Guitry (French: [gitʁi]; 21 February 1885 – 24 July 1957) was a French stage actor, film actor, director, screenwriter, and playwright of the boulevard theatre. He was the son of a leading French actor, Lucien Guitry, and followed his father into the theatrical profession. He became known for his stage performances, particularly in boulevardier roles. He was also a prolific playwright, writing 115 plays throughout his career. He was married five times, always to rising actresses whose careers he furthered. Probably his best-known wife was Yvonne Printemps to whom he was married between 1919 and 1932. Guitry's plays range from historical dramas to contemporary light comedies. Some have musical scores, by composers including André Messager and Reynaldo Hahn. When silent films became popular Guitry avoided them, finding the lack of spoken dialogue fatal to dramatic impact. From the 1930s to the end of his life he enthusiastically embraced the cinema, making as many as five films in a single year. The later years of Guitry's career were overshadowed by accusations of collaborating with the occupying Germans after the capitulation of France in the Second World War. The charges were dismissed, but Guitry, a strongly patriotic man, was disillusioned by the vilification by some of his compatriots. By the time of his death, his popular esteem had been restored to the extent that 12,000 people filed past his coffin before his burial in Paris.
With an HPI of 67.35, Vyacheslav Tikhonov is the 8th most famous Russian Actor. His biography has been translated into 39 different languages.
Vyacheslav Vasilyevich Tikhonov (Russian: Вячесла́в Васи́льевич Ти́хонов; 8 February 1928, in Pavlovsky Posad – 4 December 2009, in Moscow) was a Soviet and Russian actor whose best known role was as Soviet spy, Stierlitz in the television series Seventeen Moments of Spring. He was a recipient of numerous state awards, including the titles of People's Artist of the USSR (1974) and Hero of Socialist Labour (1982).
With an HPI of 66.25, Oleg Popov is the 9th most famous Russian Actor. His biography has been translated into 26 different languages.
Oleg Konstantinovich Popov (Russian: Олег Константинович Попoв, 31 July 1930 – 2 November 2016) was a Soviet and Russian clown and circus artist. He won the People's Artist of the USSR (1969).
With an HPI of 66.07, George Sanders is the 10th most famous Russian Actor. His biography has been translated into 37 different languages.
George Henry Sanders (3 July 1906 – 25 April 1972) was a British actor. His career as an actor spanned over 40 years. His heavy, upper-class English accent and smooth, bass voice often led him to be cast as sophisticated but villainous characters. He is perhaps best known as Jack Favell in Rebecca (1940), Scott ffolliott in Foreign Correspondent (1940, a rare heroic part), The Saran of Gaza in Samson and Delilah (1949), the most popular film of the year, Addison DeWitt in All About Eve (1950, for which he won an Oscar), Sir Brian De Bois-Guilbert in Ivanhoe (1952), King Richard the Lionheart in King Richard and the Crusaders (1954), Mr. Freeze in a two-parter episode of Batman (1966), the voice of Shere Khan in Disney's The Jungle Book (1967), the suave crimefighter The Falcon during the 1940s (a role eventually bequeathed to his elder brother, Tom Conway), and Simon Templar, The Saint, in five films made in the 1930s and 1940s.
Pantheon has 102 people classified as actors born between 1868 and 1989. Of these 102, 42 (41.18%) of them are still alive today. The most famous living actors include Armin Mueller-Stahl, Alisa Freindlich, and Vasily Livanov. The most famous deceased actors include Yul Brynner, Michael Chekhov, and Lila Kedrova. As of October 2020, 16 new actors have been added to Pantheon including Olga Baclanova, Yuliya Solntseva, and Ludmila Savelyeva.
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Which Actors were alive at the same time? This visualization shows the lifespans of the 25 most globally memorable Actors since 1700.