Born in Baku, Russia in 1899 and educated at Moscow University and the Moscow Art Theatre School of Acting, Akim Tamiroff went on tour with the Art Theatre in 1923. Once they reached New York Akim stayed behind – joining Nikita Balieff’s Chauve-Souris rep company before heading to Hollywood.
Short and dark Tamiroff turned his slightly sinister appearance and heavy accent to good advantage, developing into a leading Hollywood character actor. A position he maintained for almost twenty years.
Outstanding performances included the title role in The General Died at Dawn and the Spanish Resistance leader in For Whom The Bells Toll, both of which earned him Oscar nominations.
In the fifties he returned to Europe and appeared in a number of pictures with Orson Welles – most notably Mr Arkadin (1954 as seen in our main picture above), Touch of Evil (1958) and The Trial (in 1962). He also played Sancho Panzo in Welles’ never finished Don Quixote (1955).
He died in 1972.