- Birth name:
- Vladimir Nikolaevich Sokoloff
- Date of Birth:
- 15 February 1889 Moscow, Russian Empire [now Russia]
Familiar character actor of Russian heritage who played in scores of films, mostly in the U.S. He studied at the University of Moscow but left there to attend the Moscow Academy of Dramatic Art. He joined the world- renowned Moscow Art Theatre, where he worked for the next decade as an actor and assistant director, eventually directing plays himself. In 1923, he emigrated to Berlin and spent most of the next decade acting in films there and in Austria. With the coming of the Nazis, he relocated first to Paris, in 1932, and then to the United States in 1937. He immediately found himself very busy with dozens of roles in many popular American films, ranging from Russian to Chinese, Mexican, and Italian characters. Although his specialty was gentle, beatific characters, he could and did on occasion play less noble types. Among his most memorable characterizations were Anselmo, the gentle rebel in For Whom the Bell Tolls (1943), and the wise peasant in The Magnificent Seven (1960). He died in West Hollywood, California in 1962.