Akim Tamiroff in the Netherlands in 1964
October 29, 1899
|Died||September 17, 1972 (aged 72)|
Palm Springs, California, U.S.
(m. 1932; his death 1972)
Akim Mikhailovich Tamiroff (Armenian: Ակիմ Թամիրով, Russian: Аким Михайлович Тамиров; born Hovakim Tamiryants (Armenian: Հովակիմ Թամիրյանց); October 29, 1899 – September 17, 1972) was an Armenian-American actor. He was nominated twice for the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor for his performances in The General Died at Dawn (1936) and For Whom the Bell Tolls (1943), and the latter won him the first Golden Globe Award for Best Supporting Actor. Tamiroff appeared in at least 80 American motion pictures in a career spanning thirty-seven years.
Tamiroff was born in either Tiflis or Baku, Russian Empire, to an Armenian family. He trained at the Moscow Art Theatre drama school for nine years. He arrived in the U.S. for the first time, in January 1923 on a three-month tour with a troupe of actors. He returned in November and stayed until 1924. His final trip with his theatre group was in October 1927 when he decided to stay permanently. Tamiroff managed to develop a career in Hollywood despite his thick accent.
Tamiroff's film debut came in 1932 in an uncredited role in Okay, America!. He performed in several more uncredited roles until 1935, when he co-starred in The Lives of a Bengal Lancer. He also appeared in the lavish epic China Seas in 1935 with Clark Gable, Wallace Beery, Jean Harlow, Rosalind Russell and Robert Benchley. The following year, he was cast in the titular role in The General Died at Dawn. He appeared in the 1937 musical High, Wide, and Handsome with Irene Dunne and Randolph Scott, and the 1938 proto-noir Dangerous to Know opposite Anna May Wong, frequently singled out as his best role.
In the following decade, he appeared in such films as The Buccaneer (1938) with Fredric March, The Great McGinty (1940), The Corsican Brothers (1941), Tortilla Flat (1942) with Spencer Tracy, Hedy Lamarr and John Garfield, Five Graves to Cairo (1943) with Erich von Stroheim as Field Marshal Erwin Rommel, Frank Borzage's His Butler's Sister (1943), For Whom the Bell Tolls (1943) with Gary Cooper and Ingrid Bergman, for which he received another Oscar nomination, and Preston Sturges' The Miracle of Morgan's Creek (1944).
In later years, Tamiroff appeared in Ocean's 11 (1960) with Frank Sinatra and Dean Martin's Rat Pack, Topkapi (1964) with Peter Ustinov and Simone Signoret, Alphaville (1965), and had a long collaboration with Orson Welles including Touch of Evil (1958) with Charlton Heston, Mr Arkadin (1955), The Trial (1962) and Welles' unfinished version of Don Quixote, in which he played Sancho Panza.
While Tamiroff may not be a household name now, his malapropistic performance as the boss in The Great McGinty is thought to have been the inspiration for the cartoon character Boris Badenov, the male half of the villainous husband-and-wife team Boris and Natasha on The Rocky and Bullwinkle Show. He was also spoofed in a 1969 episode of the TV show H.R. Pufnstuf entitled "The Stand-in" in which a frog named "Akim Toadanoff" directs a movie on Living Island.
Tamiroff's accepted birth year was 1899, although in at least two instances this appeared to be different. In his second trip to America in November 1923 his age is given as 27 and in the 1930 census as 32. He married fellow actress Tamara Shayne, with whom he performed nightclub acts, in February 1933 in Los Angeles. Yet, according to the above-mentioned 1930 census, the couple was living in Chicago, Illinois as married under the (misspelled) name Tameriroff. It appears also that this was his second marriage.
He was twice nominated for Academy Awards, both times for Best Actor in a Supporting Role. The first was for his work in The General Died at Dawn, and the second was for his work in For Whom the Bell Tolls.
In popular culture
|1932||Okay, America!||Bit Role||Uncredited|
|1933||Clear All Wires!||Moscow Hotel Clerk||Uncredited|
|1933||Gabriel Over the White House||Delegate to the Debt Conference||Uncredited|
|1933||Professional Sweetheart||Hotel Waiter||Uncredited|
|1933||Storm at Daybreak||Gypsy Fiddler||Uncredited|
|1933||The Devil's in Love||Adjutant||Uncredited|
|1934||Fugitive Lovers||Deaf-Mute Bus Passenger||Uncredited|
|1934||The Great Flirtation||Paul Wengler|
|1934||Whom the Gods Destroy||Peter Korotoff|
|1934||Straight Is the Way||Mr. Slavko||Uncredited|
|1934||Now and Forever||French Jeweller||Uncredited|
|1934||Chained||Pablo, the Ranch Chef|
|1934||The Scarlet Empress||Bit Part||Uncredited|
|1934||The Merry Widow||Manager of Maxim's||Uncredited|
|1934||Lady by Choice||Poupolis||Uncredited|
|1934||The Captain Hates the Sea||Gen. Salazaro|
|1934||Here is My Heart||Manager of Hotel|
|1935||The Lives of a Bengal Lancer||Emir|
|1935||La Veuve joyeuse||Le Turc|
|1935||The Winning Ticket||Guiseppe|
|1935||Reckless||Chef at Wedding||Uncredited|
|1935||Go into Your Dance||Mexican in La Cucaracha Cantina|
|1935||Paris in Spring||Cafe Manager|
|1935||China Seas||Paul Romanoff|
|1935||Ladies Love Danger||Undetermined Role||Scenes deleted|
|1935||The Gay Deception||Spellek|
|1935||The Big Broadcast of 1936||Boris|
|1935||The Last Outpost||Mirov||Uncredited|
|1936||The Story of Louis Pasteur||Dr. Zaranoff|
|1936||Desire||Avilia, Police Official|
|1936||Woman Trap||Joe Ramirez de la Valle|
|1936||Anthony Adverse||Carlo Cibo|
|1936||The General Died at Dawn||General Yang||Nominated—Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor|
|1936||The Jungle Princess||Karen Neg|
|1936||I Loved a Soldier||Unfinished film|
|1937||Her Husband Lies||Big Ed Bullock|
|1937||The Soldier and the Lady||Ogareff|
|1937||King of Gamblers||Steve Kalkas|
|1937||The Great Gambini||The Great Gambini|
|1937||High, Wide, and Handsome||Joe Varese|
|1937||This Way Please||Tartar Chieftain||Uncredited|
|1938||The Buccaneer||Dominique You|
|1938||Dangerous to Know||Stephan Recka|
|1938||Spawn of the North||Red Skain|
|1938||Ride a Crooked Mile||Mike Balan|
|1939||Paris Honeymoon||Mayor Peter Karloca|
|1939||King of Chinatown||Frank Baturin|
|1939||The Magnificent Fraud||Jules LaCroix / President Alvarado|
|1939||Honeymoon in Bali||Tony, the Window Washer|
|1939||Disputed Passage||Dr. 'Tubby' Forster|
|1940||The Way of All Flesh||Paul Kriza|
|1940||The Great McGinty||The Boss|
|1940||North West Mounted Police||Dan Duroc|
|1940||Texas Rangers Ride Again||Mio Pio|
|1941||New York Town||Stefan Janowski|
|1941||The Corsican Brothers||Baron Colonna|
|1942||Reap the Wild Wind||The Lamb (voice)||Uncredited|
|1943||Five Graves to Cairo||Farid|
|1943||For Whom the Bell Tolls||Pablo||Golden Globe Award for Best Supporting Actor – Motion Picture|
Nominated—Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor
|1943||His Butler's Sister||Popoff|
|1944||The Miracle of Morgan's Creek||The Boss|
|1944||The Bridge of San Luis Rey||Uncle Pio|
|1944||Dragon Seed||Wu Lien|
|1944||Can't Help Singing||Prince Gregory Stroganovsky|
|1945||Pardon My Past||Jim Arnold|
|1946||A Scandal in Paris||Emile Vernet|
|1947||The Gangster||Nick Jammey|
|1948||My Girl Tisa||Mr. Grumbach|
|1949||Outpost in Morocco||Lt. Glysko|
|1953||Desert Legion||Pvt. Plevko|
|1954||They Who Dare||Captain George One|
|1954||You Know What Sailors Are||President of Agraria|
|1955||Cartouche||Il marchese di Salpiere|
|1955||The Widow||The Uncle Carlo Serra||Italian title: La vedova X|
|1955||Mr. Arkadin||Jakob Zouk||Alternative title: Confidential Report|
|1956||The Black Sleep||Odo|
|1956||Anastasia||Boris Adreivich Chernov|
|1957||Yangtse Incident: The Story of H.M.S. Amethyst||Colonel Peng||Alternative title: Battle Hell|
|1958||Touch of Evil||'Uncle' Joe Grandi|
|1958||Me and the Colonel||Szabuniewicz|
|1959||Desert Desperadoes||The Merchant||Italian title: La peccatrice del deserto|
|1960||Ocean's 11||Spyros Acebos|
|1961||La moglie di mio marito||Presidente agenzia pubblicitaria|
|1961||The Bacchantes||Teiresias||Italian title: Le baccanti|
|1961||Romanoff and Juliet||Vadim Romanoff|
|1961||The Last Judgment||The director||Italian title: Il giudizio universale|
|1961||The Italian Brigands||O Zingaro||Italian title: I briganti italiani|
|1961||Ursus and the Tartar Princess||Khan of the Tartars||Italian title: Ursus e la ragazza tartara|
|1962||Invasion 1700||Jan Onufry Zagłoba||Italian title: Col ferro e col fuoco|
|1962||The Reluctant Saint||Bishop Durso|
|1962||A Queen for Caesar||Gnaeus Pompeius||Italian title: Una regina per Cesare|
|1964||The Black Tulip||Marquis de Vigogne||French title: La Tulipe noire|
|1964||Topkapi||Gerven the Cook|
|1964||Spuit Elf||Bakker / Brandmeester|
|1965||Le bambole||Monsignor Arcudi||Segment: "Monsignor Cupido"|
|1965||Crime on a Summer Morning||Frank Kramer||French title: Par un beau matin d'été|
|1965||Alphaville||Henri Dickson||French title: Alphaville: une étrange aventure de Lemmy Caution|
|1965||Marco the Magnificent||The Old Man of the Mountain||French title: La Fabuleuse Aventure de Marco Polo|
|1965||Marie-Chantal contre le docteur Kha||Prof. Lambaré / Dr. Kha||Alternative title: Blue Panther|
|1966||Adultery Italian Style||Max Portesi||Italian title: Adulterio all'italiana|
|1966||Lt. Robin Crusoe, U.S.N.||Tanamashu|
|1966||I nostri mariti||Cesare||Segment: "Il marito di Olga"|
|1966||After the Fox||Okra||Italian title: Caccia alla volpe|
|1966||Un gangster venuto da Brooklyn||Joe Montano|
|1967||The Vulture||Prof. Hans Koniglich|
|1967||A Rose for Everyone||Basilio||Italian title: Una rosa per tutti|
|1967||Monsieur Lecoq||Unfinished film|
|1968||O tutto o niente||Pigsty / Dean Light|
|1968||The Girl Who Couldn't Say No||Uncle Egidio||Italian title: Tenderly|
|1969||100 Rifles||General Romero||Scenes deleted|
|1969||Marquis de Sade: Justine||Du Harpin||Italian title: Justine, ovvero le disavventure della virtù|
|1969||The Great Bank Robbery||Papa – Juan's Father|
|1969||Death of a Jew||Inspector Mehdaloun|
|1972||Don Quixote||Sancho Panza||Unfinished film, filmed between 1955–1969|
|1952||Schlitz Playhouse of Stars||Episode: "Trouble in Pier Twelve"|
|1954||The Black Forest||Baron von Moribund||Television film|
|1955||The Chocolate Soldier||Major Ludek||Television film|
|1955||The Best of Broadway||Nick Verdis||Episode: "Broadway"|
|1955||Climax!||Albert Ganz||Episode: "To Wake at Midnight"|
|1956||Four Star Playhouse||Mendoza||Episode: "One Forty Two"|
|1956||Ethel Barrymore Theatre||Pancho Villa||Episode: "This Is Villa"|
|1957||Playhouse 90||Mr. Anagnos||Episode: "The Miracle Worker"|
|1957||Producers' Showcase||General Otakar Zandek||Episode: "The Great Sebastians"|
|1958||DuPont Show of the Month||Governor||Episode: "Cole Porter's 'Aladdin'"|
|1958||Matinee Theatre||Episode: "The Inspector General"|
|1958||The Rifleman||Cesar Tiffauges||Episode: "New Orleans Menace"|
|1959||The DuPont Show with June Allyson||Tony||Episode: "Love Is a Headache"|
|1960||Tales of the Vikings||Eyulf||2 episodes|
|1960||Johnny Ringo||Andy Baranov||Episode: "The Assassins"|
|1960||Westinghouse Desilu Playhouse||Captain Farago||Episode: "Thunder in the Night"|
|1961||Wagon Train||Joe Muharich||Episode: "The Joe Muharich Story"|
|1962||Route 66||Sam Benjamin||Episode: "Blues for the Left Foot"|
|1962||The Dick Powell Show||Inspector Boulanger||Episode: "View from the Eiffel Tower"|
|1962||Kraft Television Theatre||Captain Farago||Episode: "Thunder in the Night"|
|1962–1963||Naked City||Emil Pappas / Demetru Lapesku||2 episodes|
|1963||The Defenders||John Solasky||Episode: "The Trial of Twenty-Two"|
|1963||Breaking Point||Goldstein||Episode: "A Pelican in the Wilderness"|
|1966||The Man from U.N.C.L.E.||Chairman Georgi Koz||Episode: "The Jingle Bells Affair"|
|1969||Then Came Bronson||Papa Bear||Episode: "Pilot"|
- Armenian Soviet Encyclopedia (in Armenian). p. 948 – via Wikisource.
- Parish, James Robert (1978). Hollywood Character Actors. Arlington House. p. 478. ISBN 0-87000-384-4.
- "Akim Tamiroff, Actor, Is Dead; Had Screen Career of 35 Years". The New York Times. 19 September 1972. Archived from the original on 24 March 2018. Retrieved 24 March 2018.
- Adalian, Rouben Paul (2010). Historical Dictionary of Armenia. Lanham, Maryland: Scarecrow Press. p. 415. ISBN 978-0-8108-6096-4.
- "Russians in Hollywood".
- 'Practice Fun' Music Studio Archived October 29, 2006, at the Wayback Machine. Dougmacaulay.com. Retrieved on April 1, 2014.
- "Akim Tamiroff". Archived from the original on February 1, 2005. Retrieved September 2, 2016.. theoscarsite.com. Retrieved on April 1, 2014.
- King, Susan (August 26, 2012). "Cinecon film festival unearths some old treasures". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved March 1, 2018.
- King, Susan (September 1, 1995). "HOME ENTERTAINMENT : New 'Bell' Tolls With Original Luster". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved March 1, 2018.
- McCarthy, Todd (May 19, 1992). "Don Quijote de Orson Welles Don Quixote of Orson Welles". Variety. Retrieved March 1, 2018.
- Lim, Dennis (August 17, 2008). "'Quixote' eerily like Welles' life". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved March 1, 2018.
- Corliss, Richard (October 23, 2010). "Unsung Creator of Rocky and Bullwinkle Dies". Time. Retrieved March 1, 2018.
- Low-rated and barely animated, Rocky & Bullwinkle became a TV touchstone. Tv.avclub.com. Retrieved on July 8, 2013.
- 1923 passenger list, Birth year 1896. "Ancestry.com".
- Census 1930, Tameriroff couple. "Ancestry.com".
- Marriage date. "Ancestry.com".
- "Golden Globe Awards for 'Akim Tamiroff'". Golden Globe Awards. Hollywood Foreign Press Association. Archived from the original on 16 January 2016. Retrieved 24 March 2018.
- "Akim Tamiroff | Hollywood Walk of Fame". Hollywood Walk of Fame. Retrieved March 1, 2018.
- "Akim Tamiroff - Hollywood Star Walk". Los Angeles Times. September 19, 1972. Retrieved March 1, 2018.
- The Moviegoer. (New York: Vintage, 1998), 165