Alla Nazimova (4 June 1879 – July 13, 1945) was a Russian-American film and theater actress, screenwriter and film producer. She is perhaps best known as simply Nazimova, but also went under the name Alia Nasimoff. She emigrated to the United States from the Russian Empire. In 1927, Nazimova became a naturalized citizen of the United States. She was considered the great exponent of Ibsen on Broadway. She was also influential in the film industry in the silent era and continued to play character roles until the end of her life.
She was born Miriam Edez Adelaida Leventon, one of three children of Yakov Leventon and Sonya Horowitz; the Jewish family lived in Yalta, Crimea (then a part of the Russian Empire). She grew up in a dysfunctional family. After her parents separated, she was shuffled among boarding schools, foster homes and relatives. A precocious child, she was playing the violin by age seven.
As a teenager Miriam began to pursue an interest in the theatre and took acting lessons at the Academy of Acting in Moscow. She joined Constantin Stanislavski's Moscow Art Theatre using the name of "Alla Nazimova," and later just "Nazimova". (Her stage name was a combination of her middle name Adelaida—shortened to Alla, usually a distinct Russian first name in its own right—and the surname of Nadezhda Nazimova, the heroine of the Russian novel Children of the Streets)...
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