Michael Chekhov

Actor, Director, Drama teacher
A distinguished actor, theater director and stage impresario of Russian and German ancestry, Michael Chekhov was the nephew of famous playwright and short story writer Anton Chekhov. He began his career in his native ... Read more »
Born: 08/29/1891 in Russia

Filmography

Actor (7)

Spellbound 1945 (Movie)

Dr Alex Brulov (Actor)

Abie's Irish Rose (Movie)

Solomon Levy (Actor)

Holiday for Sinners (Movie)

Dr. Konndorff (Actor)

In Our Time (Movie)

Uncle Leopold (Actor)

Song of Russia (Movie)

Stepanov (Actor)

Texas, Brooklyn and Heaven (Movie)

Gaboolian (Actor)

The Specter of the Rose (Movie)

Max Polikoff (Actor)

Biography

A distinguished actor, theater director and stage impresario of Russian and German ancestry, Michael Chekhov was the nephew of famous playwright and short story writer Anton Chekhov. He began his career in his native Russia and was a member of the legendary Moscow Art Theater, but his international acclaim really began to spread when he emigrated to England and set up the Michael Chekhov Theatre and an influential acting school. He later set up another famed acting school in New York and, indeed, his work in theater education may be his most important legacy. Indeed his acting students included the likes of Gregory Peck, Yul Brynner and Beatrice Straight. Nonetheless, the intense, diminutive Chekhov, most typically cast as intelligent, impassioned Middle Europeans, also made his mark as an actor, and in middle age began to work occasionally in films as well.

Relationships

Anton Chekhov

Uncle

Olga Tschechowa

Wife
born on April 26, 1897 divorced in 1918 died on March 9, 1980

Ada Tschechowa

Daughter
born on September 9, 1916 died on January 28, 1966

EDUCATION

Moscow Art Theatre

studied with Konstantin Stanislavsky and Boris Glagolin

Milestones

1954

Last film, "Rhapsody"

1944

Received Oscar nomination as Best Supporting Actor for his role in Alfred Hitchcock's suspenser, "Spellbound"

1942

Feature film acting debut, "Song of Russia"

1940

Opened Michael Checkhov Theatre Studio in NYC

1940

Mounted production of Dostoyevsky's "The Possessed" on Broadway

1940

With the advent of WWII, relocated acting studio to Ridgefield, Connecticut

1938

Established an acting studio, the Chekhov Theatre School, at Dartington Hall in Devon, England

1928

Allowed to immigrate to Germany to work with Max Reinhardt

1928

Formed troupe of "method" actors who spent seven years traveling throughout Europe

1927

Denounced by the Soviet government as a "mystic" and an "idealist"

1924

Played title role in "Hamlet" with Moscow Art Theatre

1923

Appointed as director of the Second Studio of the Moscow Art Theatre

1922

Garnered attention in title role of Gogol's "The Inspector General"

1918

Opened own acting studio in Moscow; closed for financial reasons in 1921

1915

Cast as the character Frazer in "The Deluge"

1913

Had small part in the play "The Wreck of the 'Good Hope'"

1912

Joined Konstantin Stanislavsky's Moscow Art Theatre

Visited the USA at invitation of Sol Hurok; met Beatrice Straight whom he declared "the face of destiny"

During the period of the Bolshevik Revolution (1918-1919), underwent "spiritual crisis"; began following the teachings of Rudolph Steiner

Bonus Trivia

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Among Chekhov's acting students in Hollywood were Marilyn Monroe, Jack Palance, Anthony Quinn and Akim Tamiroff.

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Chekhov and fellow Russian actor-director-coach George Shdanoff were the subjects of the 1999 documentary "From Russia to Hollywood".

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