Actor in various provincial theatres, also worked at the Vvedenskii Peoples’ House. Entered the film industry, 1908. In 1911, appeared in Kreitserova Sonata, which made him famous.
Played in every important prerevolutionary film, and is regarded as a major actor of the Russian silent cinema. Appeared in Domik vKolomne, 1913, Nikolai Stravrogin, 1915, and Pi к ova i a Dama, 1916. In 1918, experienced his biggest success playing in Father Sergius.
Emigrated in 1920. Still remained in demand in Berlin and Paris, but after the arrival of the ‘talkies’, experienced serious difficulties in adapting to new demands. His final success was the 1926 film Michel Strogov. After that, found himself out of work and became very depressed.
His death in Paris was seen as a great loss by the Russian emigre community. The Parisian magazine Illiustrirovannaia Rossiia dedicated a whole issue to him.