Armen DzhigarkhanyanThursday, March 12, 2020
Armen Dzhigarkhanyan (born 3 October 1935) is a Soviet, Armenian and Russian actor.
Born and raised in Yerevan, Dzhigarkhanyan started acting in the academic and Russian theaters of the city, before moving to Moscow to continue stage acting. Since 1960, he appeared in a number of Armenian films. He became popular in the 1970s with the various roles he portrayed in Soviet films like The New Adventures of the Elusive Avengers (1968), its sequel The Crown of the Russian Empire, or Once Again the Elusive Avengers (1971) and The Meeting Place Cannot Be Changed (1979). After almost 30 years on the stage of the Mayakovsky Theatre, Dzhigarkhanyan taught at VGIK and in 1996 he founded his own drama theater in Moscow.
Dzhigarkhanyan, one of the most renowned living film and stage Armenian and Russian actors, has appeared in more films than any other Russian actor with more than 250 appearances.
Armen Dzhigarkhanyan was born in Yerevan, Armenian SSR, Soviet Union on 3 October 1935. His paternal grandfather, a "professional tamada", came from an Armenian family from Tbilisi, Georgia's capital. He graduated from a Russian high school named after Anton Chekhov. Between 1953 and 1954, he worked as camera operator's assistant at the state-run Hayfilm studio.
In 1955, Dzhigarkhanyan was admitted to the Sundukyan State Academic Theatre of Yerevan. He studied in director Armen Gulakyan's (hy, ru) class until 1958. Beginning in his first year at the Sundukyan Theatre, he started acting at the Stanislavski Russian Theatre of Yerevan. He remained there for over 10 years, until 1967. At Armenia's only Russian theater, he played around 30 roles, most notably as Vanya Kudryash in The Storm by Alexander Ostrovsky, Sergey in An Irkutsk Story by Aleksei Arbuzov, Actor in The Lower Depths by Maxim Gorky. "From the beginning of his stage career, Dzhigarkhanyan has demonstrated an awesome versatility, succeeding in a wide variety of roles in the classical and contemporary repertory, including Shakespeare, Tennessee Williams, and modern Russian authors.
In 1967, Dzhigarkhanyan moved to Moscow to make a career at the Lenkom Theatre. He started acting under directorship of Anatoly Efros, however, they worked together for a brief period. Dzhigarkhanyan portrayed Molière in Mikhail Bulgakov's The Cabal of Hypocrites. Following Efros's departure, Dzhigarkhanyan was given more roles, but he didn't wish to continue acting in a theater without the director he came for in the first place.
In 1969, Dzhigarkhanyan joined Moscow's Mayakovsky Theatre by Andrey Goncharov's recommendation. He worked there until 1996 and for almost 30 years, he was "its leading actor". He first appeared in the role of Levinson in The Rout by Alexander Fadeyev. His later roles include Stanley Kowalski in Tennessee Williams's A Streetcar Named Desire. Since most of his roles were protagonistic, he moved to portray several antagonistic roles.
Dzhigarkhanyan's portrayal of Socrates in Edvard Radzinsky's Conversations with Socrates in 1975 was acclaimed by critics and made him one of the "most interesting and strongest actors of the contemporary scene." During the 1970s and 1980s, Dzhigarkhanyan appeared less frequently on stage and more frequently in films and became known to the wider Soviet public. Even with decreased number of appearances on stage, Dzhigarkhanyan's every role became an object of discussion. The finest roles from this period include Big Daddy in Cat on a Hot Tin Roof by Tennessee Williams, Lord Bothwell in Robert Bolt's Vivat! Vivat Regina!, Nero in Edvard Radzinsky's Theater in the Time of Nero and Seneca and others.
Dzhigarkhanyan has married thrice. In the early 1960s, he secretly married Alla Vanovskaya, an actress at the Stanislavski Russian Theatre of Yerevan. Their daughter, Yelena, was born in 1964 and died at age 23 in 1987 of suffocation at sleep, because she left the car engine running. His second wife Tatyana Vlasova, was also an actress at the Stanislavski Theatre in Yerevan. They never officially married, but they started living together in 1967, when they moved to Moscow together. Tatyana now resides in Dallas, Texas and works as a Russian language teacher at a university. Dzhigarkhanyan often visits her. His third wife is 43 years younger than him.