Born June 4, 1879, Yalta, Crimea. Nazimova's parents
separated when she was young, and she spent most of her childhood
in boarding schools, foster homes or with unwilling relatives.
She eventually joined the Academy of Acting in Moscow and Stanislavsky's
Moscow Art Theater. She was married briefly to Sergei Golovin
in 1899. By 1903, she was a star of the stage and went on tour
to Berlin, London and, in 1905, to New York where she stayed after
the company returned to Russia. She continued her stage success
in the United States with some of the biggest plays of the time
- "A Doll's House," "Bella Donna," "War
Brides" and others. Herbert Brenon bought the rights to "War
Brides" and secured Nazimova for the lead in the film version.
The 1916 movie made a film star out of her. By 1918, she had signed
a contract with Metro and continued to make 11 films for them
over the next three years. Nazimova lived with actor Charles Bryant
during this period, although the two never married. It was well-known
that Nazimova was bisexual. Her first real artistic triumph came
with the filming of "Camille" in 1921 which had sets
designed by Natacha Rambova and co-starred Rudolph Valentino.
This marked the beginning of the Rambova-Valentino love affair.
"Camille" succeeded for her, but her next two pictures,
filmed for United Artists, did not. Although "A Doll's House"
and "Salome" were "artsy" and got praise from
the critics, the movie-going public was not interested. Because
Nazimova was providing financing for her films, their failure
to turn a profit hurt her deeply. After "Salome" in
1923, she only made three more silent films. She returned successfully
to the stage over the next 15 years, then made a return to the
movies in 1940 in the Norma Shearer-Robert Taylor war thriller
"Escape." She made four more films from 1941-1944, all
very respectable appearances. Her death on July 13, 1945 was attributed
to coronary thrombosis.
Selected films of this star available for viewing:
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