Alexander Vertinsky: a brief biography

A difficult childhood 

Alexander Nikolaevich Vertinsky came to light on March 19, 1889 in the family of a practicing lawyer. The parents lived in the city of Kiev. At the time of the boy’s birth, they had not yet legitimized their relationship, although Sasha turned out to be the second child in the house. The reason for this situation was the fact that the head of the family could not obtain a divorce from his first spouse. The father managed to formally adopt children after the death of his beloved wife. Alexander Vertinsky’s mother died when he turned three, and his father passed away rapidly when the boy turned five.


brother and sister were taken to raise the mother’s relatives. The boy was given to study at the Imperial Gymnasium. For inappropriate behavior Vertinsky was expelled from a prestigious educational institution. The aunt had to arrange him at a school for commoners. Here Alexander began attending drama studio classes and became fascinated with the theater. For the orphan, the scene became a choke in a succession of monotonous days. In amateur performances, the youngster was trusted with leading roles. One day, after an argument with an aunt, the aspiring actor left home and began an independent life.

Witty and gummy 

As they say in the Russian proverb, hunger is not an aunt – the pie will not fall. Vertinsky had to make a living hard work. He mastered the professions of mover, salesman and concealer. In his spare time he wrote poems and short stories, which he published in different newspapers. Small but stable fees allowed Alexander to save up money and leave for Moscow. Here the actor and poet were welcomed to the Theatre of Miniatures on Tverskaya Street. Already in his debut performance, he was reincarnated into the image of Piero’s sad clown. One newspaper review described him as “witty and gummy”.

The Moscow Art Theatre Vertinsky was not taken because he did not reprimand the letter “r”. But they were invited to star in the film “Cliff”. With the outbreak of war, Alexander volunteered as an orderly, and he was sent to the front. After being wounded, the poet had to return to his former life. Vertinsky wrote poetry and composed music himself. Romances “Unnecessary Writing,” “Grey-Eyed King,” “Over the Pink Sea” the public received with delight. After the October Revolution of 1917, Vertinsky went on tour abroad and “delayed” there for twenty-plus years.

Recognition and personal life

Singer could settle and live with full material wealth in any country. However, he was drawn to Russia. Vertinsky asked several times to be allowed to return home. Such permission did not come until 1943.


famous singer’s personal life developed safely. Vertinsky found his family happiness in his second marriage to actress and artist Lydia Zirgvava. Two daughters were born in the family. Alexander Vertinsky died of a heart attack in May 1957. He was buried at Novodevichy Cemetery in Moscow.

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