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These are all my dear! How immigrants from the Russian Empire built Hollywood

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We are almost sure that every second reader of this material knows that the real name of Helen Mirren is Elena Mironova, and that Leonardo DiCaprio and Nicole Scherzinger have Russian roots. But this is just the tip of the iceberg. If you delve deeper into history, you can safely say that it was people from the Russian Empire who had a great influence on fashion, theater, art, music and cinema all over the world.

For example, many of those who immigrated to France after the 1917 revolution found themselves heading fashion houses that still exist today. “I admire the Russians. Their eternal saying “everything that is mine is yours” is intoxicating,” Coco Chanel once said. The designer indeed often collaborated with representatives of the Russian intelligentsia. Perfumer Ernest Beaux created the legendary Chanel No. 5 perfume for Coco, Dmitry Pavlovich Romanov introduced her to important clients, Princess Maria Pavlovna attracted the attention of Russian embroiderers, and Count Sergei Kutuzov became the manager of the Chanel house.

But it’s not just fashion. It turned out that those who “built” Hollywood and contributed to its development were people from the Russian Empire. Yes, there is nothing surprising here. The facts will speak for us. We have brought together ten iconic personalities who played an important role in the history of cinema in the early 20th century.


Nicholas and Joseph Shank

Nicholas and Joseph Schenk (more precisely Nikolai and Joseph Schenker) were born in Rybinsk, Russia. In 1893, when the siblings were teenagers, the family moved to the United States and settled in New York. At first Nikolai and Joseph sold newspapers, but why did they become pharmacy owners? A few years later, they became interested in the nascent film industry. Joseph went to Hollywood in 1917, became the second president of the United Artists film company in 1925, and soon became the first president of 20th Century Fox and one of the founders of the American Film Academy, which presents the Oscars. Nicholas became president of the Metro Goldwyn Mayer company. Thus, the brothers became almost the most influential people in the industry.

By the way, the house where the Schenkers were born and raised still stands in Rybinsk. And anyone can get there.


Vonskolaser Brothers

You’ll be surprised, but almost all major American film companies were founded by immigrants from the Russian Empire. For example, the famous studio Warner Bros. Founded by four Warner brothers: Harry, Albert, Sam and Jack. Their real surnames were Vonskolaser and their given names were Hirsh, Aaron, Shmul and Yitzchak. The family itself comes from Poland, which was then part of the Russian Empire.

They were involved in the origins of sound and color cinema by opening a film studio in 1918. For example, the 1929 film The Jazz Singer was one of the first films with dialogue and became a real sensation.


Maximum Factor

The name of the founder of the famous Max Factor brand was actually Maximilian Faktorovich and he also came from the Russian Empire. In 1886, when Faktorovich was only 14 years old, he moved to Moscow and joined the Bolshoi Theater as an assistant make-up artist. Soon Maximilian opened his own store in Ryazan, where he sold creams, blushes, perfumes and wigs. In the second half of the 1890s, Faktorovich moved to St. He moved to St. Petersburg and began working at the Opera House, where he trained actors who later performed for Nicholas II. Soon the make-up artist’s popularity grew so much that he was invited to work at the court of the Russian Tsar and in the imperial theaters.

In 1904, Max Factor moved to the USA, where he carried out a real beauty revolution. It was she who created an innovative foundation that did not dry out or dried the skin, unlike the makeup applied by actors. Soon Faktorovich’s invention began to be used by Hollywood makeup artists to create makeup for artists.


Mikhail Chekhov

Mikhail Chekhov is not the namesake of the famous Russian writer, but his nephew. True, he became famous not as a writer, but as an actor. He studied with Mikhail Chekhov, Konstantin Stanislavsky and served at the Moscow Art Theatre. Because of his unique talent, he was nicknamed the Mozart of the stage and the Man of a Thousand Faces. 11 years after the revolution, Chekhov went on tour in Germany but decided not to return to his homeland. He first tried to open his own theater in Czechoslovakia, but when that failed he moved to Paris and then London.

But in 1939, Mikhail Chekhov settled in the United States and opened the Actors Laboratory acting studio, which trained many famous artists. Among his students were Clint Eastwood, Ingrid Bergman, Gary Cooper, Gregory Peck and even Marilyn Monroe.


Felix Yusupov

You’ve probably heard or seen a disclaimer at least once in your life: “All names and events in the work are fictional; any resemblance to real people, living or dead, is coincidental.” Do you know what it looks like? All because of Felix Yusupov, one of the richest people in the Russian Empire and also the murderer of Grigory Rasputin.

He sued the MGM film studio, which released the film Rasputin and the Empress in 1932. The important thing, of course, is the subject of the picture. The scriptwriters completely distorted the real story and presented Felix Yusupov’s wife, Irina Romanova, as Rasputin’s mistress, an accomplice in palace intrigues. Felix Yusupov, of course, could not stand such an insult. He won the case in court and received not only reasonable moral compensation, but also a promise from the studio to withdraw the film from distribution. The company’s lawyers were unhappy with this outcome, so they very quickly developed the same disclaimer.


Varvara Karinskaya

Achieving dizzying success in Hollywood wasn’t limited to just actors, makeup artists, and producers. Among the celebrities of the Russian Empire was the costume designer Barbara Karinska, aka Varvara Karinska. She was born in 1886 in Kharkov into a very wealthy family. In 1915, Varvara moved to Moscow and began creating costumes for ballet. True, due to the revolution and rejection of the new regime, Karinskaya decided to flee the country to Europe. He spent nearly ten years there and managed to collaborate with Salvador Dali, Marc Chagall and many other artists.

But real success and recognition awaited him abroad. In Hollywood, she created costumes for Varvara Karinskaya, Marlene Dietrich and Vivien Leigh, and also won an Oscar for her outfits in the movie “Joan of Arc” starring Ingrid Bergman. And of course, we can’t help but say that it revolutionized ballet fashion. It was she who suggested the use of soft skirts that freed the dancers from the iron frame and did not hinder movements.

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Source: People Talk

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