Sos Sargsyan became one of the most renowned Armenian actors in the second half of the twentieth century.
He was born in Stepanavan, in the Lori region of Armenia, on October 24, 1929. He debuted on the stage in 1947 as David Copperfield in a homonymous play based on Charles Dickens’ novel. He moved to Yerevan in 1948 and started performing at the Theater of the Young Spectator. Meanwhile, he entered the Yerevan Fine Arts and Theatre Institute, from where he graduated in 1954. Upon graduation, at the age of twenty-five, he entered the Gabriel Sundukian Drama Theatre, the premier theatrical ensemble of the country, where he worked for the next thirty-seven years.
Sargsyan was one of those actors who did not need to make recourse to external emphasis and emotions in order to reflect his feelings. During his lengthy career, he performed roles in many plays both by Armenian and non-Armenian authors. Roles like Ben Alexander (William Saroyan’s My Heart is in the Mountains), Don Quixote (Mikhail Bulgakov’s homonymous play), Iago (William Shakespeare’s Othello), or King Lear (Shakespeare’s homonymous play), among others, cemented his fame.
He played in over forty films, including unforgettable roles in Armenian classic movies like Guys from the Army Band (1961), Triangle (1
967, Armenian SSR State Prize in 1975), We Are Our Mountains (1969), Khatabala (1971), Nahapet (1977), Dzori Miro (1981), Gikor (1982), and others. His cinematographic participations included various Russian films, most particularly Andrei Tarkovsky’s Solaris (1972). He was the narrator of the documentary Matenadaran (1988, Armenian SSR State Prize).
|Sos Sargsyan in the film "Pepo"|
In 1992 he established the Hamazkayin Theater, which he headed until the end of his life. Sargsyan continued directing and playing, both in theater and cinema. Simultaneously, he was the dean of the Yerevan Institute of Theater and Cinema from 1997-2005, and served as a member of its board of directors from 2006 until his death. He published several novels, memoirs, and collections of essays between 1991 and 2013.
His lengthy career of more than sixty years earned him many distinctions. He was named Popular Artist of Armenia in 1972 and of the Soviet Union in 1986). He was also awarded the Mesrop Mashtots medal of the Republic of Armenia (1996), the St. Sahak-St. Mesrop medal of the Armenian Church (2000), and the Mekhitar Gosh medal of the Republic of Mountainous Karabagh (2001). He was named honorary citizen of Yerevan in 2000 and earned the title of Professor in 2003.
Sos Sargsyan was also active in the political field. He was elected deputy to the Supreme Soviet of the USSR from 1989-1991, and in October 1991 he was nominated by the Armenian Revolutionary Federation as candidate in the first presidential election in independent Armenia. In 2009 he was elected to the National Assembly on the A.R.F. list. On the same year, he was elected as member of the Public Council, an advisory body to the President of Armenia.
The famous actor passed away on September 26, 2013, in Yerevan, and was buried at the Komitas Pantheon.