Feodor Chaliapin Jr.
- Birth name:
- Date of Birth:
- 17 September 1905 Moscow, Russian Empire [now Russia]
Feodor Fedorovich Chaliapin Jr. was born on October 6, 1905, in Moscow, Russia. He was the youngest of six children. His father was the world famous Russian Opera basso Feodor Chaliapin Sr.. His mother, named Iola Tornagi, was a prima-ballerina, who quit acting after her marriage and became a caring mother of six children. Young Feodor Chaliapin Jr. grew up in a trilingual family environment. He received an excellent private education in Moscow, where he enjoyed the company of his father's friends, such as Sergei Rachmaninoff and Konstantin Korovin. He emigrated from Russia in 1924 and reunited with his famous father in Paris, France.He got out from under his father's shadow after moving from Paris to Hollywood. There he began his film career from playing cameo roles in silent films. He created a niche for himself as an impressive character actor with excellent skills. His role as Kashkin, dying in the arms of Gary Cooper in For Whom the Bell Tolls (1943), was one of the finest moments in his early career. He played a variety of Russian characters in the films made during and after the Second World War. Among the most memorable of his early works was his role as Fomich in 'The Prisoner of the Volga' directed by Viktor Tourjansky, also a Russian emigrant.After the Second World War Chaliapin Jr. moved to Rome, Italy. There he continued his film career as a character actor, during the 50's, 60's and 70's. He played a broad array of very different characters, ranging from a comic gem as Senator Torsello in the political satire film All'onorevole piacciono le donne (Nonostante le apparenze... e purché la nazione non lo sappia) (1972), to a sinister Professor Arnold in the horror film Inferno (1980). He returned to Hollywood and made a comeback in his later years. He really made his mark by playing the blind, murderous monk 'Jorge of Burgos' in Der Name der Rose (1986).Feodor Chaliapin Jr. is best known for his role as the Old man in Moonstruck (1987), where he was a loony dog-walking grandfather, who is living in a world of his own and greeting the Moon with his funny cries of "La Luna! La Luna!" He also enjoyed a fine part as Leonides Cox, Robert De Niro's father in Stanley & Iris (1990). His last notable role was as Professor Bartnev in The Inner Circle (1991), based on a true story about Soviet Russia under the dictatorship of Joseph Stalin.In 1960, Feodor Chaliapin Jr. reunited with his mother in Rome, Italy. Iola Tornagi was 87, when she was released from the Soviet Russia during the "Thaw", initiated by Nikita Khrushchev. His mother left behind a museum-quality home with a magnificent art collection built in Moscow by her famous husband Feodor Chaliapin Sr.. She could only bring her son an album of pictures of his childhood and youth in Moscow, Russia.Feodor Chaliapin Jr. took part in the returning of his famous father's remains from Paris to Moscow, Russia, in 1984. That was made possible during the time of perestroika, a political change initiated by Mikhail Gorbachev. Chaliapin Jr. was allowed to visit Moscow in 1984 for the burial ceremony of his father at the Novodevichy Monastery Cemetery. There he rejoiced with his three sisters and other relatives around the tomb of his father, Feodor Chaliapin Sr..Feodor Feodorovich Chaliapin Jr. died of natural causes on September 17, 1992, at his home in Rome, Italy.