Abbas Mirza Sharifzadeh

Abbas Mirza Sharifzadeh

Abbas Mirza Abdulrasul oglu Sharifzadeh (Sharifov) (Azeri: "Abbas Mirzə Şərifzadə") (12 December 1893, Shamakhi – 16 November 1938, Baku) was an Azerbaijani actor, film director and film editor.

Acting career

Abbas Mirza Sharifzadeh was born into a family of a teacher, who taught at Seyid Azim Shirvani's "Usul-i Jadid" school. After the 1902 Shamakhi earthquake, the family moved to Baku, where Sharifzadeh became a member of a drama club at his school. In 1908, he started acting in serious plays. But he had not gained fame until a successful portrayal of Agha Mohammad Khan Qajar in Abdurrahim bey Hagverdiyev's play of the same name in 1911. Not having received any professional training in dramatic arts Sharifzadeh was remembered for his outstanding performance of primary roles in stagings of both local and Western icon [ From Stage to Dock: Fragments of Abbas Mirza Sharifzadeh's Life] . "Bizim Asr". July 2002. Retrieved August 5 2007]

Abbas Mirza Sharifzadeh first appeared on screen in the 1916 Russian movie "Knyaz Temir-Bulat". In 1924, he played the role of the Khan in the Azerbaijani film "Baygush" ("Owl"). His other notable role was in the movie "Avaz-avaza" ("An eye for an eye") in 1929.

Career as a director

Abbas Mirza Sharifzadeh directed both feature films and documentaries. The former directed by him include "Bismillah" ("In the Name of God", 1925), "Haji Gara" (1929) and "Mahabbat oyunu" ("The Game of Love", 1935); and the latter, "Azerbaijana sayahat" ("A Journey to Azerbaijan", 1924) and "Shakhsei-vakhsei" (1929).

Arrest and execution

On 4 December 1937, at the peak of the Great Purge, Sharifzadeh was arrested in his own apartment on the counts of espionage. The evidence used against him were his frequent visits to the Iranian consulate in Ganja in 1932. The real reason for those visits, according to Sharifzadeh's colleagues, were friendly relations between a group of stage actors, of which Sharifzadeh was part, and the Iranian consul who admired Azerbaijani theatre and would often invite them for gettogethers. Sharifzadeh's émigré brother's active role in the formation of the Azerbaijan Democratic Republic in 1918–1920 among all contributed to the government's will to get rid of the actor. Sharifzadeh was also accused of promoting via theatre the works of the earlier arrested poets Mikayil Mushfig and Huseyn Javid (one of them would later be executed and another one would be exiled to the Russian Far East). On October 19 1938 he was found guilty of all accusations and was executed by firing squad less than a month later. He was exonerated posthumously after Stalin's death.

Sharifzadeh was married to actress Marziyya Davudova.


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