Making his theatrical debut with Russia's Mariinski Theater in 1926, Nikolai Cherkassov (sometimes spelled Cherkasov) entered films one year later. Described by one observer as "a Soviet Gary Cooper," the handsome, charismatic Cherkassov starred in scores of historical epics, notably Eisenstein's Alexander Nevsky (1938), Ivan the Terrible, Pt. 1, and Ivan the Terrible, Pt. 2 (1944-1946). His other film roles of note include Alexei in Peter the First (1937) and Peter the Great (1939), Maxim Gorky in Ivan Pavlov (1949), and Franklin D. Roosevelt in the two-part Battle of Stalingrad (1949). He was awarded the order of Lenin in 1939 and was appointed People's Artist of the U.S.S.R. in 1947. Though he wrote his memoirs in 1951, some of Nikolai Cherkassov's finest work lay ahead of him, such as his starring roles in Rimsky Korsakov (1954) and Don Quixote (1955).