Moved to Paris to study ballet, 1923. Became instead a famous cabaret singer of Russian gypsy songs in the 1920-1930s. Gained immense popularity among Russians abroad (who knew him by his personal appearances all over the world and by his records), as well as inside the Soviet Union (where his records were highly priced on the black market).
His only rival in popularity between the wars was Aleksandr Vertinskii. From 1935, lived in Bucharest, where he had his own restaurant and cabaret. After World War II, toured Rumania.
Very popular with Red Army soldiers, but treated with the utmost suspicion by SMERSH. In 1951, arrested on stage in the middle of a concert in Brasov. Disappeared in the Rumanian Gulag. According to some sources was seen among convicts digging a Danube canal.
Born July 3, 1898