Oleg Tabakov is one of the most famous and prolific figures of Russian cinematography.
Oleg Pavlovich Tabakov was born on August 17, 1935 into a doctors` family in Saratov city.
A year before finishing school Oleg started preparing for entering a theatre institute. On his arrival in Moscow he chose the studio of MXAT (Moscow Art Academic Theatre), which he saw as "the pinnacle of drama teaching". The role of Khlestakov played by Oleg Tabakov in his third year was his first professional success.
Upon graduating from the studio the promising actor was assigned to the Stanislavsky Drama Theatre, however, he was destined to settle at the newly opened theatre of Oleg Yefremov, the Studio of Young Actors, which later developed into the famous Sovremennik theatre. The first roles of Oleg Tabakov in Sovremennik were those depicting young men just taking the stage of life and eager to find their own place in it. The very first stage plays of Sovrememnnik, such as "Nobody" after Eduardo De Filippo and "The Naked King" after Yevgeny Shvarts, revealed Tabakov`s ability to play a number of roles in one production. Within the first three years of work in the theatre Oleg Tabakov was engaged in over fifteen roles.
He played his first cinema role in 1957, the year of his graduation from MXAT studio and the beginning of work at Sovremennik. The film "Sasha vstupayet v zhizn" (1956) (Sasha Enters Life) remained unknown to general public: it was "shelved" by censors till the mid 1980s, that is the beginning of perestroika.
In 1968 Oleg Tabakov was invited by Club Chinogerni Theater in Prague to play Khlestsakov in Gogol`s "The Inspector-Genera"l. The actor gave over thirty performances in Prague, which were a great success with the audience and earned praises of both Czechoslovakian and West European critics.
The same year saw Oleg Tabakov`s debut in stage directing: he produced the graduation project "Marriage" after the same name play by Gogol. The production did not fit into the repertoire of Sovremennik, but successfully toured in Siberia, where it received enthusiastic welcome. In 1970 Oleg Yefremov left Sovremennik for MXAT and Oleg Tabakov replaced him, becoming the theatre`s artistic director for six and a half years. During this period Sovremennik experienced renewal with a range of young masters joining in.
In 1976 Oleg Tabakov resigned his position and turned to fruitful work on radio and in film production. His major efforts however were directed to teaching. From 1983 he worked as an actor and stage director in MXAT.
December 1986 saw the issue of the order about establishment of three new theatres in Moscow, among them the Theatre Studio of Oleg Tabakov. The stage director`s longstanding dream of his own theatre came true. The theatre was soon lovingly named Tabakerka (playing up the director`s surname and translated as ?a snuff-box?) by its admirers. According to Oleg Tabakov, the theatre for him is first of all "a big family, where there are lots of children and everything is in all fairness".
Oleg Tabakov is the Laureate of the USSR State Award (1967, for theatrical work) and the People`s Artist of the USSR (1987). A versatile actor, who has played in more than 150 films, Oleg Tabakov has also taken part in a number of radio plays and voiced several animated cartoon films.