Ivan Lebedeff

Active - 1926 - 1953  |   Born - Jun 18, 1895   |   Died - Mar 31, 1953   |   Genres - Drama, Comedy, Romance, Crime, Mystery

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Lithuanian-born actor Ivan Lebedeff was a graduate of the University of St. Petersburg and that same city's Military Academy. At one time, Lebedeff served as an officer of the Czar and later as a diplomat. After the Bolshevik revolution, he fled to Germany, where he began his film-acting career in 1922. He worked in the French movie industry for a while before settling in Hollywood in 1925. His screen assignments included a leading role in D.W. Griffiths Sorrows of Satan (1926), a villainous turn in Wheeler & Woolsey's The Cuckoos (1930), and top billing in RKO's The Gay Diplomat (1931). Thereafter he settled into supporting roles as hand-kissing noblemen, phony Russian counts, society cads, professional correspondents and gigolos. Even at the height of his activity, the thinly mustached, expressively eyebrowed Lebedeff had no qualms about accepting an occasional unbilled role, notably W. C. Fields' tuxedoed ping-pong opponent in You Can't Cheat an Honest Man (1939). When the demand for continental-cad characterizations diminished, Ivan Lebedeff eased into dignified character roles; one of his last appearances was as Dr. Gratzman in the sci-fi classic War of the Worlds (1953).

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