Movie-freaks you are especially welcome to take a glimpse of this article. You know why? You are going to learn about the giants of Armenian cinematography, famous Armenian actors.
Some of them have worldwide popularity. So, maybe they are your favs but you had no idea of their Armenian descent.
If you are interested in Armenian cinema and theatre, or maybe you’d like to find out which famous actors can be Armenian, then these are the most famous Armenian actors and actresses you should look up to!
Briefly about the Origin of Armenian Cinematography
The roots of the Armenian cinematography date back to early 20th century when Armenian State Committee on Cinema was founded. The first Armenian mute black-and-white film “Namus” was followed by the first sound film “Pepo”.
And here it goes! The Armenian movies overwhelm Soviet cinemas. Armenian actors and actresses appealed to the viewers with their talent.
However, as a result of the Armenian Genocide, the Armenian Diaspora took shape. Accordingly, a lot of best-known actors and actresses with Armenian background live and work abroad.
They have their contribution in the international cinematography as well. Here is the list of famous Armenian actors, actresses in the crossroads of generations and worlds!
Famous Armenian Actors #1: Frunzik Mkrtchyan
When thinking about typical characteristics of an Armenian, the actor Frunzik Mkrtchyan is the very first person to come to mind. Big nose, massive traits, expressive eyes and serene look!
This is all about being an Armenian. Mkrtchyan possessed all these features plus infinite talent! May be these were the main reasons that peopled loved him and his roles.
This popular actor was born in 1930 in Gyumri. He was born to the family of refugees from historical Armenian Moush and Van. Frunzik Mkrtchyan was an Armenian actor of cinema and theatre. He was awarded as the national artist of Soviet Armenia.
It was the short film “01-99” that put him on the path of a successful actor. He managed to create such a bright role that everybody remembers till now.
Professionalism and talent made him one of the best actors of Soviet Armenia. “Triangle”, “The guys of the orchestra”, “Us and our mountains”, “Father”, “A piece of sky”, etc. are his best-known movies.
It is interesting to know that the actor had two names. He was called Mher by family members. His birth name was Frunze or Frunzik, which he got in honor of a hero Michael Frunze. As for childhood, he had nickname as well. Can you guess? The hint is provided at the beginning!
Famous Armenian Actors #2: Mikayel Sharafyan
Mikael Sharafyan was born and raised in Yerevan, Armenia. Both sides of his family include several generations of artists, writers, musicians, and actors.
One of them was legendary American costume designer Irene Sharaff. She won five Academy Awards for “The King and I”, “An American in Paris”, “Cleopatra”, “West Side Story”, and “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?”.
Mikael’s father is a well known Armenian theatre and movie actor, and his mother is a pianist-accompanist for ballet. It was in 2000 that his father got their Green Cards, and took them to United States, the land of opportunities.
In high school, Mikayel participated in many art competitions and was awarded several prizes. He became a member of National Art Honor Society. Soon, Mikayel started to work as a volunteer usher at the Glendale’s historical Alex Theatre and later designed the vests for the ushers.
He also worked as a paid extra in movies and television shows, where he has had the opportunity to work with such talents such as Steven Spielberg, Tom Hanks, Catherine Zeta-Jones, and Samuel L. Jackson.
Then he got the degree in Fashion, he got accepted to the Advanced Study Program for Theatre Costume Design at FIDM and received a Warnaco Scholarship.
He started his acting career in 2004 in the movie “The Terminal”. He played the role of a traveler. By the way, Mikael Sharafyan made it to the list of “Top 10 Best Costume Designers in The World for 2016” .
Famous Armenian Actors #3: Arsine Khanjyan
An Armenian-Canadian actress and film producer Arsine Khanjyan was born in 1958 in Beirut, Lebnaon. She is famous for her work in independent films.
Famous Armenian producer Atom Egoyan is her husband and he credits her for inspiring him to explore his Armenian roots further. Arsine started her acting career in 1984. The movie was called “Next of Kin”.
However, she is famous for mostly for her “Felicia’s Journey”, “The Sweet Hereafter” and “Ararat”.
This famous Armenian actress is not only good looking and talented but also very clever. She has a bachelor’s degree in French and Spanish from Concordia University and a master’s degree in political science from the University of Toronto.
Famous Armenian Actors #4: Angela Sarafyan
Have you watched “Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn”? If yes, then you must likely know Angela Sarafyan. This actress with Armenian background was born in 1983 in the Armenian SSR.
Her parents moved to the US when she was four. Her mother is a painter and her father is an actor. As an actress, she started her career in 2004. The movie was called “The Last Run”. Angela has appeared as a guest-star “Buffy the Vampire Slayer”.
In 2010, she joined the cast of “Good Guys”. Angela played an Egyptian vampire Tia in The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part 2, the mate of vampire Benjamin.
However, her most famous movie is “Lost and Found in Armenia”. This comedy is about the love story about an Armenian girl and American boy, who appeared in Armenia accidently.
It is interesting to know that this talented Armenian did a ballet and played piano in her childhood.
Famous Armenian Actors #5: Khoren Abrahamyan
When talking about Armenia cinematography it is just impossible to leave out the name of Khoren Abrahamyan. This outstanding actor and director was born in 1930 in Yerevan.
He studied at the Yerevan Institute of Theater and Fine Arts and graduated in 1951. Since 1951 worked at Sundukyan State Academic Theatre of Yerevan as actor.
He was a People’s artist of USSR. Abrahamayan played a lot of leading roles both in cinema and theatre. He debuted in 1949 in the mute movie “A girl from Ararat Valley”.
After that he acted in more than forty movies. His other famous movies are “Othello”, “Pepo”, “We and our mountains”, “Khor Virap”, etc. Natives loved him for his sincere acting and talent.
By the way, the script of the first soviet movie about Andranik Ozanyan was read by Abrahamyan.
Famous Armenian Actors #6: Khoren Levonyan
There is very good Armenian saying: “The fruit never falls far away from the tree”. And this is true when we talk about popular Armenian actor from new generation Khoren Levonyan.
Haven’t caught the meaning of the saying yet? But don’t you have any idea at all? Never mind! Khoren Levonyan is the grandson of the late Khoren Abrahamyan mentioned above. Hopefully it’s clear now!
This handsome and extremely talented man was born in 1983 in Yerevan. His talent for acting was obvious when he was a child. And he performed together with his grandfather. He graduated from Yerevan State Institute of Theatre and Cinematography.
However, 2006 was a sort of breakthrough in his life. He started his acting career. He debuted in “A great deal in a small town”. “Nothing will stay”, “Don’t be afraid”, “Poker.am”, “Garegin Ndzdeh” are the best-known movies he acted. Even so young, he has managed to receive many awards.
Famous Armenian Actors #7: Cher
The embodiment of female autonomy in a male-dominated industry has one name-Cher. This American singer, songwriter, actress, model, fashion designer, television host, comedian, dancer, businesswoman, philanthropist, author, film producer, director, and record producer is of Armenian descent.
Her real name is Cherlyn Sarkissian. She was born in the USA in 1946. This successful singer started her acting career with some disillusionment as Hollywood didn’t take her seriously as an actress.
However, in 1987 he starred in three films. These are “Suspect”, comedy horror “The Witches of Eastwick” and romantic comedy “Moonstruck”.
The two latter films were ranked as among top-ten highest-grossing films in 1987. Besides, Cher is famous for her distinctive contralto singing voice.
Famous Armenian Actors #8: Vic Bagratuni
Vahag (short-Vic) Bagratuni is an LA-based Armenian actor. He was born in Armenian in 1990 and raised in Germany. From handsome leading man to stone cold killer, Vic Bagratuni has appeared in Martin Scorsese’s “The Wolf of Wall Street” and “Boardwalk Empire,” and the documentary series “Inside the American Mob.”
His success is reasoned by the fact that he comes from artistic family. His grandfather was a highly-respected actor in Armenia. Besides, he is a ballroom dancer, pianist and singer. Vic is fluent in English, Russian, German and Armenian.
By the way, this talented actor is the descendant of the Bagratuni royal dynasty who ruled Armenia in the 9-11 centuries.
Famous Armenian Actors #9: Erika Marozsan
Erika Marozsan is a Hungarian actress with Armenian roots. She was born in 1972 and started her acting career in 1989.
The hit Hungarian film was her first movie appearance. It was called “Peace Negotiations-This century lasts until Thursday”.
Erika graduated from the Budapest Academy of Drama and Film in 1995 and then became a member of “New Theatre” in Budapest. She has played mostly in Hungarian films.
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