Olga Baklanova

Picture of Olga Baklanova

Date of Birth: 08/19/1896

Age: 78

Place of birth: Moscow

Citizenship: Russia


Olga was born on August 19, 1896 in Moscow to a wealthy family of Vladimir and Alexandra Baklanov. Her mother, a former well-known theater actress, has left the stage and devoted herself to raising six children. Olga received a classical education at the age of sixteen years of age took part in the competitive set in the Moscow Art Theatre. Despite strong competition - for three vacancies claimed 400 girls - she was admitted to the company under the guidance of the famous KS Stanislavsky started to comprehend the basics of acting craft.

Start a career

Olga Summer is often spent in the Crimea and, like many other students, without the knowledge of their teachers tried their hand at the movies, having appeared in several silent short films. The exact amount of her early paintings is unknown, but judging by the colorful names - "Symphony of Love and Death" (1914), "Afterlife skitalitsa" (1915), "Female Vampire" (1915), "Loop of Death" (1915) and others - many of them were thrillers.

In addition, Olga successfully started performing on stage, taking part in productions based on the works of Pushkin, Chekhov, Turgenev, Shakespeare and Dickens, but the smooth development of her career cut short by the October Revolution of 1917. After the coup, during which was killed by her father, the whole big family Baklanov moved into one room in their former mansion.

Realizing that her existence and careers depend on how it will be loyal to the new regime, Olga appeared in a propaganda film in 1918 titled "Bread". Once in 1919 on the initiative of Nemirovich-Danchenko Music Studio was founded, designed to give the classic plays of the new avant-garde sound, Olga began taking singing and dancing lessons and between 1920 and 1925 with glitter participated in five big productions. Around 1922 she married lawyer Vladimir Tsoppi, and in 1923 gave birth to a son.

Baklanov and Conrad Veidt in the film "The Man Who Laughs" (1928)


For high skill Baklanov execution in 1925 received the title of Honored Artist of the Republic and in the same year, the troupe went on tour abroad - first in Europe and then overseas. Soviet artists who took the famous impresario Morris gesture of those years, presented to American audiences much of his repertoire and in the middle of 1926 returned to Russia. Baklanov took advantage of this opportunity and remained in the United States.

In 1927, the actress was offered a cameo role in the film "Dove" - ??melodrama about love canary, and a young Mexican caballero, where the main roles were played by Norma Talmadge and Gilbert Roland - and she agreed. Then it drew the attention of the popular German actor Conrad Veidt those years, behind which was about eighty films in Germany and the United States, and invited Olga in her new film "The Man Who Laughs" on the novel by Victor Hugo. The film was released in 1928, and after an impressive performance of the role of the Duchess Dzhoziany, Olga Hollywood career began to develop rapidly.


1928 was the most fruitful in the film career of Olga. After the short film "The Secret of Queen", she starred in the drama "Scarlet Street" Swedish director Mauritz Stiller. In those years, Stiller worked in Hollywood and went down in history as the discoverer of talent Greta Garbo. For him, this picture was the final chord in his career - in 1928 he was fired, he returned to his homeland and in the same year he died in Stockholm - Baklanov after the film with Paramount Pictures has signed a contract for five years.

What followed were no less successful works - crime drama "The Docks of New York", where the actress played the role of a prostitute Lou Western "Avalanche" melodrama "The Forgotten Face" and "Three sinner", in which the leading role belonged to the star of silent movies Golf Negri. In all these pictures Baklanov sang supporting roles.

In the same year she starred in a pair with George Bancroft in the film "The Wolf of Wall Street", one of the first projects sukow Paramount Pictures. Iz-za fire at the newly constructed recording studio, he was voiced by quite mediocre, but nevertheless, in those years, any talkie consistently attracted the attention of the audience, and after the premiere in January 1929, the picture was a great success in theaters. Since Olga spoke with a strong accent - criticism, however, we found it charming - after the beginning of the sound era, she played only Russian or foreign women.

In 1929 there has been a decline in the career of the actress. Two of her paintings - a melodrama "A Dangerous Woman" and the comedy "My favorite man" with Richard Arlen - were perceived by critics cool enough. In addition, Baklanov was involved in a scandal when, wanting to cancel the contract, sued his manager Al Rosen. Baklanov claimed if iz-za poor knowledge of the language of thought that has entered into a contract for only one year, not five years. The judge believed the actress and granted her claim.

Ending film career

Having obtained a divorce in February of Tsoppi, Baklanov March 5, 1929 she married not too lucky Russian actor Nicolas Susanin, such as expat, like herself. In summer it has renewed a contract with Paramount Pictures, but the film company was in no hurry to offer new roles the actress, and in November and did fire her.

Then Olga and Nicholas received from the producer Herbert Wilcox`s invitation to come to the UK to take part in the biopic "The Life of Beethoven", but the project was shelved and the couple with nothing returned. In December, Olga again lucky - Fox Films studio signed her contract, and in 1930 has involved the actress on supporting roles in two musical comedies, "Do not be sad and smile" and "Are you there?".

In the early 30`s Baklanov I worked for MGM and took part in the three paintings. The first was the 1930 melodrama "The Great Lover", where starring Adolphe Menjou and future star Irene Dunne. Critics criticized for painting a weak script, but noted that some of the scenes involving Baklanova looked quite decent. Then in 1932, followed by the drama "Down the stairs" written by John Gilbert, the hapless groom Greta Garbo.

Finally, the third film - and the final success of the actress - was the horror film "Freaks" in which Baklanov after Myrna Loy refused the role played Tsirkachka Cleopatra. The film was so provocative that was officially banned in several states and many years spent on the shelf, but was later recognized as a national treasure and in 1994 included in the National Library of Congress kinoregistr.

Realizing that the top of fame in Hollywood, she did not break, the actress starred in last crime drama "Scandal billion dollars" (1933) and the short musical "Blues on the phone" (1935) and left the cinema.


After completing the film career, Baklanov again focused his attention on the theater began to play "Silent Witness", which premiered in October 1931. Shortly before 21 September 1931, she received US citizenship. In 1932, the actress was seen in three productions - "Grand Hotel", where she played the role of Grushinskiy (in the same year the play was filmed in this movie Grushinskiy played Greta Garbo), "Twentieth Century" and "The Cat and the fiddle ".

In early 1933, Olga moved to New York and stayed Susanin in Hollywood. The relationship between the spouses by that time deteriorated, but they only officially divorced in 1939. Theatrical career Olga continued with varying success until the beginning of the 40s - she visited with a tour to London, went on tour in America, she sang in nightclubs and the famous New York restaurant Russian Tea Room (Russian tea).

In 1940, the actress was last tasted glory, brilliantly performing the role of opera prima Madame Darushki in the production of "Claudia" on the novel by Rose Franken. After the incredible success of the play on Broadway, it was decided to film, and thus had the opportunity to Baklanov last to appear on the silver screen. In the early 40`s Olga married Richard Davis, owner of the New York Theatre Fine Arts Theatre. Davis insisted that his wife had left the scene, but she still continued to play for several years and retired only in 1947.

The last years of his life

In the mid-60s was recovered from oblivion the film "Freaks" and Baklanova again spoke. The actress, who was almost 70 years old, gave several interviews, including the well-known British kinoistoriku Kevin Brownlow, who shot several documentaries about the stars of silent movies, and John Kobalia, the author of a series of books about the actors of the past years. At the end of his life Olga moved to the city of Vevey (Switzerland), where he died on September 6, 1974 at the age of seventy-eight years.

Interesting facts

In 1928, Baklanov qualify for Ludwig Berger film "Sins of the Fathers", but the role of the departed debutante Ruth Chatterton.

In the detective thriller, 2006 "The Black Dahlia" Kay Lake, Bucky Blichert and Lee Blanchard - characters Scarlett Johansson, Josh Harnett and Aron Eckhart - watching in the cinema film "The Man Who Laughs", in particular the scene where the heroine Baklanova removes the bandage from his face Gwynplaine.