Home name Alla Nazimova now almost nobody knows. At the beginning of the twentieth century. one was one of the ordinary theater actresses who failed to convince Stanislavsky of the originality of his talent. And after emigrating to the United States, she became one of the brightest silent film stars, receiving 13 thousand dollars per week of filming. Today she is called the first Russian Hollywood star, although this is not entirely true.
She was born in Yalta in 1879 and at birth received the name Miriam Adelaide Leventon. The "Russian" Hollywood star was born into a Jewish family, and came up with a sonorous pseudonym later. The relationship between her parents was very turbulent: they often quarreled and even fought. Soon the family left for Switzerland, and there, after another violent quarrel, the father kicked his wife out of the house, and left the children with him. Soon he returned to Yalta, where he married a second time.
Since childhood, Adele dreamed of a theatrical stage, she was artistic, played the violin and sang well, but her father forbade her to perform at concerts under her real name. He considered the profession of an artist shameful for a representative of a wealthy Jewish family. Therefore, the girl chose a pseudonym for herself - by the name of the heroine of her favorite book "Children of the Street" Nadezhda Nazimova, and the name Adele was replaced by the name Alla. And she went to conquer Moscow. She managed to enter the music and drama school under the guidance of Nemirovich-Danchenko himself.
After the death of her father, her sister's fiancé squandered the entire inheritance, and Alla was left without a livelihood. She moved into cheap furnished rooms and made a living cleaning. At one time she even tried to trade herself, but soon a rich lover took her to support. Soon, luck smiled at Nazimova, and she was admitted to the school at the Moscow Art Theater. She began to appear on stage, however, as an extra. Big roles were not offered, Stanislavsky did not see any prospects for her in the theater, and Nazimova left for the provinces. There she married an aspiring actor Sergei Golovin, but soon broke up with him. The meeting with the famous actor and impresario Pavel Orlenev became fateful for her. In his troupe, she became a leading actress, and in 1904-1905. went with him on tour in Europe and America.
The actress's life with Orlenev did not work out, but in the professional sphere she finally managed to achieve success. During the tour, Alla Nazimova decided to stay abroad and took up learning English. In 1906, she already played in English-language performances, and soon theater critics proclaimed her the queen of the stage. The newspapers wrote about her: "".
In 1912, Nazimova married her stage partner, Charles Bryant. In 1915, producer Lewis Selznick saw her on the stage of the theater, and the actress made such an impression on him that he invited her to make a film based on the play. Her film debut at the age of 37 became very successful: the actress received a fee of 30 thousand dollars and became popular and recognizable. After that, she signed a five-year contract with a large film company and began to independently choose directors and scripts and earn 13 thousand dollars a week, which many Hollywood actors could only dream of. She starred in the films Miraculous Phenomenon, Toys of Fate, Eye for an Eye, Stronger Than Death, The Lady of the Camellias, and others.In the rating of the leading American actors, according to the magazine "Photoplay", Nazimova took fourth place.
The actress rented a luxurious villa on Sunset Boulevard with a swimming pool and a huge garden and threw parties there, which brought together the entire elite of Hollywood. She was visited by Pola Negri, Fyodor Chaliapin and Charlie Chaplin, with whom, according to rumors, she had a whirlwind romance. She was incredibly popular, also for the reason that she was the only English-speaking star on Broadway and Hollywood to come from Russia.
For 10 years, Alla Nazimova acted in films with constant success, but after several failed roles she decided to leave the cinema. She continued to perform on the stage, and appeared on the screen again in the early 1940s, playing in 5 more films. She no longer had her former success, although success in the theater accompanied her until her last days.
Alla Nazimova died in 1945 in Los Angeles at the age of 66. After her death, her talent was finally recognized at home and was named the first Russian actress to conquer Hollywood and a legend of the silent film era.
The only thing that could compete with Alla Nazimova in popularity was Mary Pickford: how the silent film star became a national symbol.
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