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Vladimir Sokoloff

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Vladimir Sokoloff
Владимир Соколов
Vladimir Sokoloff.jpg
Vladimir Sokoloff in Scarlet Street (1945)
Vladimir Aleksandrovich Sokoloff

(1889-12-26)December 26, 1889
DiedFebruary 15, 1962(1962-02-15) (aged 72)
Other namesWladimir Sokoloff
Waldemar Sokoloff
Wladimir Sokolow
Years active1926–1962
Elizabeth Alexanderoff
(m. 1922; died 1948)

Vladimir Aleksandrovich Sokoloff (Russian: Влади́мир Алекса́ндрович Соколо́в; December 26, 1889 – February 15, 1962) was a Russian-American character actor of stage and screen.[1] After studying theatre in Moscow, he began his professional film career in Germany and France during the Silent era, before emigrating to the United States in the 1930s. He appeared in over 100 films and television series, often playing supporting characters of various nationalities and ethnicities.

Early life and education

Sokoloff was born in Moscow, Russian Empire, to a German Jewish family[citation needed]. He was raised bilingual, speaking both Russian and German. He studied theatre in Moscow, first at the Moscow State University and later at the Russian Academy of Theatre Arts, graduating in 1913. At one point a pupil of Constantin Stanislavski, he would later reject Method acting (as well as all other acting theories).[2]


Upon graduation, he joined the Moscow Art Theatre as an actor and assistant director.[1] Later in the decade, he joined the Kamerny Theatre. In the early 1923, he toured with his troupe in Germany, where he met theatre director and producer Max Reinhardt, who invited him to stay in Berlin. He appeared in numerous stage productions, and began acting in German and Austrian films, including The Love of Jeanne Ney (1927), The Ship of Lost Souls (1929), Farewell (1930), and Darling of the Gods (1930).

With the rise of Nazism, the Jewish Sokoloff moved first to Paris in 1932, where he continued to act on stage and screen. In 1937, he emigrated to the United States.[3] Although he spoke very little English at the time of his arrival, his first stage role there was a lead in Georg Büchner's play Danton's Death, under the direction of Orson Welles. Welles insisted that it would be demeaning for an actor of Sokoloff's reputation to play a small role and personally coached him in his English for the role, which he did phonetically. It was said that Welles was in awe of him[citation needed] and frequently asked him about his career in the Moscow Arts Theatre.

That same year, he had his English-language breakthrough starring in fellow expat William Dieterle's The Life of Emile Zola, portraying Paul Cézanne. He appeared in a number of Broadway plays from 1937 to 1950.[4] He also quickly found work in American films, playing characters of a wide variety of nationalities (he himself once estimated 35[1]), for example, Filipino (Back to Bataan), French (Passage to Marseille), Greek (Mr. Lucky), Arab (Road to Morocco), Romanian (I Was a Teenage Werewolf), and Chinese (Macao). Among his better known parts are the Spanish guerrilla Anselmo in For Whom the Bell Tolls (1943) and the Mexican Old Man in The Magnificent Seven.

In the late 1950s and early 1960s, he also appeared on a number of television series, including three episodes of CBS's The Twilight Zone ("Dust", "The Gift" and "The Mirror"). On January 1, 1961, Sokoloff guest starred as "Old Stefano", a wise shepherd, in the ABC/Warner Brothers western series Lawman, with John Russell and Peter Brown. He also appeared on one episode of The Untouchables entitled "Troubleshooter".

His final roles were in Escape from Zahrain and Taras Bulba, both of which starred Yul Brynner. Both films were released posthumously.


After a long career, he died of a stroke in 1962 in Hollywood, California.[1]

Partial stage credits

Run Title Role Theatre Refs.
12/07/27 - 12/31/27 Jedermann Death / The Devil Century Theatre [5][6]
12/20/27 - 01/01/27 Dantons Tod Maximilien Robespierre [7][8]
01/02/28 - 01/31/28 Peripherie Judge Cosmopolitan Theatre [9][10]
11/02/38 - 11/19/38 Danton's Death Maximilien Robespierre Mercury Theatre [11][12]
02/05/42 - 02/07/42 The Flowers of Virtue Gen. Orijas Royale Theatre [13][14]
12/22/47 - 01/24/48 Crime and Punishment Porfiry Petrovitch National Theatre [15][16]
12/27/48 - 01/07/50 The Madwoman of Chaillot The Prospector Royale Theatre [17][18]


Year Title Role Notes
1926 Uneasy Money Rag Collector
1927 Out of the Mist Poleto
The Love of Jeanne Ney Zacharkiewicz
1928 The White Sonata Dinas Vater
1929 Sensation im Wintergarten Berry
The Ship of Lost Souls Grischa
Katharina Knie Julius
1930 Westfront 1918 Meal Orderly Uncredited
Morals at Midnight The Overseer
Farewell The Baron
Darling of the Gods Boris Jussupoff
The Flute Concert of Sanssouci Russian Envoy
1931 Kismet
The Threepenny Opera Smith, the Jailer
L'opéra de quat'sous
The Sacred Flame
Hell on Earth Lewin
1932 L'Atlantide Graf Bielowski
Teilnehmer antwortet nicht Zeichner Body
Strafsache von Geldern
Haunted People
1933 Don Quichotte Gypsy King
Don Quixote Servant Uncredited
On the Streets Father Schlamp
High and Low Monsieur Berger
1934 Lake of Ladies Baron Dobbersberg
Count Woronzeff Petroff
1935 Le secret des Woronzeff
Napoléon Bonaparte Trista Fleuri
1936 Mayerling The Chief of Police
Under Western Eyes Rector
Compliments of Mister Flow Merlow
The Lower Depths Kostylev
1937 The Life of Emile Zola Paul Cézanne
Alcatraz Island The Flying Dutchman
Conquest Dying Soldier
West of Shanghai Chow Fu-Shan
Expensive Husbands Andrew Brenner
Beg, Borrow or Steal Sascha
Tovarich Scenes deleted
1938 Arsène Lupin Returns Ivan Pavloff
Blockade Basil
The Amazing Dr. Clitterhouse Popus
Spawn of the North Dimitri
Ride a Crooked Mile Glinka
1939 Juarez Camilo
Sons of Liberty Jacob Short; uncredited
The Real Glory The Datu
1940 Comrade X Michael Bastakoff
1941 Love Crazy Dr. Klugle
1942 Crossroads Carlos Le Duc Uncredited
Road to Morocco Hyder Khan
1943 Mission to Moscow President Mikhail Kalinin
Mr. Lucky Greek Priest Uncredited
For Whom the Bell Tolls Anselmo
1944 Song of Russia Alexander Meschkov
Passage to Marseille Grandpère
Till We Meet Again Cabeau
The Conspirators Miguel
1945 A Royal Scandal Malakoff
Back to Bataan Señor Buenaventura J. Bello
Paris Underground Undertaker
Scarlet Street Pop LeJon
1946 Two Smart People Monsieur Jacques Dufour
A Scandal in Paris Uncle Hugo
Cloak and Dagger Polda
1948 To the Ends of the Earth Commissioner Lum Chi Chow
1950 The Baron of Arizona Pepito
1952 Macao Kwan Sum Tang
1956 While the City Sleeps George "Pop" Pilski
1957 Istanbul Aziz Rakim
Monster from Green Hell Dr. Lorentz
I Was a Teenage Werewolf Pepe the Janitor
Sabu and the Magic Ring Old Fakir
1958 Twilight for the Gods Feodor Morris
1960 Man on a String Sergei Mitrov
Beyond the Time Barrier The Supreme
The Magnificent Seven The Old Man
Cimarron Jacob Krubeckoff
1961 Mr. Sardonicus Henryk Toleslawski
1962 Escape from Zahrain Abdul Uncredited; posthumous release
Taras Bulba Old Stepan Posthumous release

Television credits

Year Title Role Episodes
1955 Crusader Grandfather "The Bargain"
1956 The Millionaire Uncle Jacques Monet "The Story of Lucky Swanson"
1957 Wire Service Prime Minister "No Peace in Lo Dao" / "A Matter of Conscience"
Cavalcade of America Jake Bartosh "The Last Signer"
Suspicion Enrique Bartolo "The Flight"
Have Gun – Will Travel Gourken "Helen of Abajinian"
1957-1959 Playhouse 90 Bartok / Anselmo "For I Have Loved Strangers" / "For Whom the Bell Tolls", parts 1 and 2
1958 Alfred Hitchcock Presents Uncle Fernaud "The Return of the Hero"
Father Knows Best Man "The Great Experiment"
1959 Peter Gunn Victor Majeski "Edge of the Night"
Johnny Staccato Father Keeley "Nature of the Night"
Sunday Showcase Dr. Alexis Rostov "Murder and the Android"
1960 Five Fingers Peter Vestos "The Judas Goat"
Tightrope! Emile Kovacs "Cold Ice"
The Alaskans Chanook "Peril at Caribou Crossing"
Dick Powell's Zane Grey Theatre Alf "Knife of Hate"
Lawman Old Stefano "Old Stefano"
1960-1961 The Untouchables Stanley Tannenbaum / Sam "The Tommy Karpeles Story" / "The Troubleshooter"
1961 The Law and Mr. Jones Dr. Harding "Lethal Weapons"
Hennesey Papa Bronsky "Max Remembers Papa"
Maverick Pedro Rubio "The Forbidden City"
The Donna Reed Show Dr. Steinhaus "Donna's Helping Hand"
Death Valley Days Tarabal "The Stolen City"
Adventures in Paradise Sada "Adam San"
Harrigan and Son Kowalski "The Legacy"
Wagon Train Felipe "The Don Alvarado Story"
The Rifleman Abuelito "The Vaqueros"
Whispering Smith Father Antonio "Prayer of a Chance"
Checkmate Pedro Moreno "Juan Moreno's Body"
1961-1962 Thriller Papa Glockstein / The Janitor "The Terror in Teakwood" / "Flowers of Evil"
The Twilight Zone Gallegos / Father Tomas / Guitarist "Dust" / "The Mirror" / "The Gift"
1962 The Dick Powell Show Marco "Death in a Village"
Hawaiian Eye Dr. Anton Miklos "The Missile Rogues"


  1. ^ a b c d "Vladimir Sokoloff, 71, Character Actor, Dies". Modesto Bee. Associated Press. February 16, 1962 – via open access
  2. ^ Erskine Johnson (April 20, 1960). "Hollywood Glances!". Miami (Oklahoma) Daily News-Record – via open access
  3. ^ Finler, Joel (August 2014). "The remarkable story of the Jewish film-makers in Germany during the early sound years, 1929-33". AJR Journal.
  4. ^ Vladimir Sokoloff at the Internet Broadway Database
  5. ^ "Jederman - 1927 Broadway Tickets, News, Info, Photos, Videos". Retrieved 2020-01-25.
  6. ^ "Jederman Broadway @ Century Theatre - Tickets and Discounts". Playbill. Retrieved 2020-01-25.
  7. ^ "Danton's Tod - 1927 Broadway Tickets, News, Info, Photos, Videos". Retrieved 2020-01-25.
  8. ^ "Danton's Tod Broadway @ Century Theatre - Tickets and Discounts". Playbill. Retrieved 2020-01-25.
  9. ^ "Peripherie - 1928 Broadway Tickets, News, Info, Photos, Videos". Retrieved 2020-01-25.
  10. ^ "Peripherie Broadway @ Cosmopolitan Theatre - Tickets and Discounts". Playbill. Retrieved 2020-01-25.
  11. ^ "Danton's Death". Internet Broadway Database.
  12. ^ "Danton's Death". Retrieved 2020-01-25.
  13. ^ "The Flowers of Virtue - 1942 Broadway Tickets, News, Info, Photos, Videos". Retrieved 2020-01-25.
  14. ^ "The Flowers of Virtue Broadway @ Royale Theatre - Tickets and Discounts". Playbill. Retrieved 2020-01-25.
  15. ^ "Crime and Punishment - 1947 Broadway Tickets, News, Info, Photos, Videos". Retrieved 2020-01-25.
  16. ^ "Crime and Punishment Broadway @ National Theatre - Tickets and Discounts". Playbill. Retrieved 2020-01-25.
  17. ^ "The Madwoman of Chaillot - 1948 Broadway Tickets, News, Info, Photos, Videos". Retrieved 2020-01-25.
  18. ^ "The Madwoman of Chaillot Broadway @ Belasco Theatre - Tickets and Discounts". Playbill. Retrieved 2020-01-25.

External links

This page was last edited on 22 August 2022, at 15:26
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