Simonov, Ruben was born on April 1, 1899 in Moscow.
- Studied law at Moscow University.
In 1919, entered the Chaliapin Drama Studio. In 1920, moved to the 3rd MKHAT Studio. From 1922, actor at the Vakhtangov Theatre.
From 1924, stage director at the same theatre. From 1939, chief director at the Vakhtangov Theatre. Notable productions: Princess Turandot (with a remarkable score by the composer Sizov), and The Marriage (after Chekhov).
During the 1930s, forced to stage propaganda plays. Forbidden to stage the best foreign playwrights. Staged a few operas for the Bolshoi (Abessalom I Eteri and Carmen).
After the war, headed the Armenian and Uzbek studios. From 1946, professor at the Shchukin Theatre School. Most remembered for his portrayal of Stalin in Chelovek s Ruzh'em (Man with a Rifle) in front of Stalin himself on 21 January 1938 at the Bolshoi on the occasion of the anniversary of Lenin’s death.
According to his contemporaries, he was frozen by Stalin’s gaze and lost his voice.
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