Mikhail Ivanovich Zharov (Russian: Михаи́л Ива́нович Жа́ров; 27 October 1899 – 15 December 1981) was a Soviet and Russian stage and film actor and director. People's Artist of the USSR (1949) and Hero of Socialist Labour (1974). He studied under the prominent director Theodore Komisarjevsky and debuted in Yakov Protazanov's Aelita (1924). Later he became a Protazanov regular, appearing in The Man from the Restaurant (1927) together with Mikhail Chekhov. In the 1930s he was a leading actor of Alexander Tairov's Chamber Theatre, before moving to the Maly Theatre where he was engaged from 1938 till the rest of his life and most fully unfolded his actor's gift, mainly playing classical repertoire parts (in Wolves and Sheep, The Inspector-General, Heart is not a Stone, The Thunderstorm, etc.)Mikhail Zharov gained wide popularity thanks to the role of Zhigan in Nikolai Ekk’s internationally known drama Road to Life (1931). Playing the leader of a gang of thieves, the actor made use of the opportunities of the first sound-film: he endowed his character with a specific accent, played the guitar and sang songs with his peculiar charm. In 1933 he appeared in Boris Barnet's Outskirts. The most acclaimed of his sound films were Peter the Great (1937), in which he played Prince Menshikov, and Sergei Eisenstein's Ivan the Terrible (1942–44), in which he played Malyuta Skuratov. His last and probably most popular role was that of Aniskin, an amusing and witty village militiaman in the television series The Village Detective (1968), Aniskin & Fantomas (1974) and Aniskin Again (1978). Zharov was awarded three Stalin Prizes: twice in 1941 and in 1942.