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Erast Pavlovich Garin

actor , screenwriter , film director , theatre director

Erast Pavlovich Garin was, together with Igor Ilyinsky and Sergey Martinson, one of the leading comic actors of Vsevolod Meyerhold's company and of the Soviet cinema.


Garin was born in Ryazan as Erast Gerasimov.


In 1926 he finished his education in the experimental theatrical workshops of the People's Commissariat for Education.


He started his acting career in 1919 in an amateur theatre of the Ryazan military district. He always looked up upon Meyerhold and Mikhail Chekhov as his mentors, rejecting naturalistic acting techniques propagated by Stanislavsky and paying utmost importance to voice and gesture. Garin worked with Meyerhold in his theatre until its dissolution in 1936.

Among his triumphs was the part of Khlestakov in the 1926 production of The Government Inspector. The trance-like quality of his "grotesquely anxious" performances in Meyerhold's productions could be attributed to an expressionistic acting style. Nikolay Akimov's Theatre of Comedy was the next theatre he worked in.

In 1946 he gave up stage performances and concentrated on film acting. In 1941 he was awarded the Stalin Prize for the role of Tarakanov in the film Musical Story. Half-blindness prevented him from playing any major roles in the 1960s and 1970s.

They adapted Mikhail Zoshchenko's novel Respected Comrade in 1930. Garin's memoirs, entitled With Meyerhold, appeared in 1974.


  • He was named People's Artist of the USSR in 1977.