They called her the Russian Tigress.
Olga Baclanova (pronounced bahk-LAH-no-vah), sultry Russian actress of stage and film, is best known today for her film appearances as Cleopatra, the evil trapeze artist, in the legendary cult film Freaks (1932), and as the seductive Duchess Josiana in the influential Universal silent The Man Who Laughs (1928).
Olga's career began with a meteoric rise as a student actress in Russia's Moscow Art Theatre in the 1910's, followed by an ascension to the pinnacle of success under the Soviet regime. In 1925, her life was forever changed when she toured America and chose to stay, leaving an increasingly oppressive homeland behind for a gamble at success in America, knowing she would never see her family or homeland again. After performing in the stage spectacle The Miracle, Hollywood began to notice and offer her strong supporting roles in late silents such as The Man Who Laughs and The Docks of New York (1928).
After a brief stardom in 1929, Olga's heavy Russian accent qualified her for featured character roles in early talkie films such as the unique masterpiece Freaks and the reappraised Downstairs (both 1932). By the early 1930's, she would return to the stage, performing on Broadway, the West Coast stage, and in roadshow tours, and finally in a tremendously successful two-year run in the stage hit Claudia, which would be filmed in 1943 with Olga performing her stage role.
Olga Baclanova: The Ultimate Cinemantrap introduces this exotic blonde temptress to the web for the first time.
March 4, 2004