Alla Nazimova (in Russian: Russian Назимова), (May 22, 1879 – July 13 , 1945) was an actress and film producer and theatrical Russian – American, apart from writer. Often only known as Nazimova, and was also named Alia Nasimoff.


His real name was Mariam Edez Adelaide Leventon (Мириам Эдес Аделаида Левентон), and daughter of Yakov Leventon and Sonya Horowitz, Jewish family, who lived in Yalta, Crimea, then part of the Russian Empire (and part of Ukraine since 1954). His parents separated, and as a result, time passed between school, outside households, and relatives. This produced an emotional disorder which rebelled it against the authority as a means to gain attention. It was a precocious child, and at age seven played the violin. As a teenager became interested in theater and followed classes at the Academy of Moscow, interpretation before entering in the Moscow art theatre of Constantin Stanislavski, named “Alla Nazimova,” and then “Nazimova” only. His stage name derived from the combination of Adelaide with Nadezhda Nazimova (the heroine of the Russian novel children of the streets), whom she admired.[ 2 ] She married Sergei Golovin, a fellow actor, in 1899; the marriage was “only nominal”, and the two never came to legally divorced.

Nazimova in 1911 Broadway play The Marionettes.

The theatrical career of Nazimova soon flourished, and in 1903 was a star in Moscow and St. Petersburg. Toured Europe, performing in London and Berlin, together with his friend Pavel Orlenev [ 2 ] an actor and producer. In 1905, both moved to New York City, and founded a theatre language laughter on the Lower East Side. The adventure was not successful and Orlenev returned to Russia, although Nazimova stayed in New York.

Signed contract with producer Henry Miller and she debuted on Broadway in 1906 with both public and critical success. Became extremely popular quickly (a theatre was named), and continued shining on Broadway for years, often performing in Henrik Ibsen and Anton Chekhov.

Nazimova debuted in film in 1916, thanks to the achieved notoriety in a 35-minute of 1915 titled play War Brides. This caught the attention of Lewis j. Selznick. In subsequent years made a large number of highly successful films who provided considerable income. In 1917, earned $30,000 per film, with a prize of $1,000 per filmed everyday. This achieves $13,000 per week. At that time, actress Mary Pickford earned only $3,000 per week.

In 1918, aged 39, Nazimova had enough experience to start producing and writing movies in which also acted. His adaptations of authors such as Oscar Wilde and Ibsen, developed his own film, considered techniques bold at the time. Their projects, including House of dolls (1922), based on the play by Ibsen, and Salomé (1923), based on Wilde, had little success in public, and lost a significant amount of money with them.

1925, Already could not afford the economic investment which supposed film production, reason by which left the cinema and returned to acting on Broadway until the early 1940s, that work again in a few films, presumably by economic needs. Two of his best-known roles are now the mother of Robert Taylor escape (1940) and the mother of Tyrone Power in the film Blood and Sand (1941).

His private life gave way to many rumors about bizarre festivals and libertinas mansion of Sunset Boulevard, known as The garden of Allah, built in 1919, which became a hotel and apartment complex in 1927. In later years, she continued to live in one of the houses.[1] Nazimova lived a marriage of convenience with Charles Bryant (1879-1948), [ 3 ] an actor from New York, from 1912 to 1925.

Nazimova in the 1922 film House of dolls.

Between 1917 and 1922, Nazimova had a considerable influence and power in Hollywood.[ 2 ] It was extremely generous with talented young actresses, and occasionally came to sentimental relations with some of them. A notable example was Anna May Wong, whose first role came in the film The Red Lantern as an extra to fourteen years of age. He helped start the careers of Rudolph Valentino, Jean Acker and Natacha Rambova wives. Nazimova was romantically involved with Acker, [ 5 ] but debate whether his friendship with Rambova ever reached an affair. There were rumours of a homosexual relationship between Nazimova and Rambova – mentioned in Dark Lover, Valentino’s biography written by Emily Leider – although never came to be confirmed. Nazimova was impressed by the work of Rambova as Artistic Director, and Rambova designed the innovative productions of Nazimova decorated Camille and Salome. Among those who had an affair with Nazimova confirmed are Eva Le Gallienne, Dorothy Arzner Director, writer Mercedes de Acosta and the niece of Oscar Wilde, Dolly Wilde.

In 1927 they nationalized United States citizen. Nazimova lived with populous Marshall from 1929 until his death in 1945. Friend of actress Edith Luckett and her husband, Loyal Davis, Nazimova was the godmother of the future First Lady Nancy Reagan, daughter of a previous marriage of Luckett.

Although it was affected by breast cancer, [quotes required] Nazimova died of coronary thrombosis to 66 years of age in 1945, [ 8 ] on the Good Samaritan Hospital in Los Angeles, California,  and was interred in Forest Lawn Memorial Park in Glendale, California cemetery.

His contribution to the film industry was recognized with the award of a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.


Nazimova has been portrayed in the film three times. The first two were biographical films about Rudolph Valentino, The Legend of Valentino (1975), in which Alice Bond made the role of Nazimova and Valentino (1977), in which his character was played by Leslie Caron. The latest was Return to Babylon (2004), a film about the silent films of Hollywood, played by Laura Harring.