Runitsch, Ossip

views updated


RUNITSCH, OSSIP (1889–1947), Russian actor. Born in St. Petersburg of an assimilated family from Vitebsk, Runitsch acted for five years on the Russian stage, appeared in the first Russian film version of Tolstoy's War and Peace, and became a popular screen star known throughout Russia. After the Revolution, he went to Germany, acted for the Ufa company, toured Central Europe, then turned to the Yiddish stage in Riga. He emigrated to South Africa in 1939, acted in Yiddish plays, and for several years directed productions for Johannesburg City Opera seasons.