Like many other early Russian film actors, Ol’ga Rakhmanova entered into a new career after a long professional life in theater, mostly in the provinces. She was born in Odessa, Ukraine, then part of the Russian Empire, sometime in 1871 and studied there at the Drama School of the Russian Music Society. Abandoning her married name, Sokolova, and her three children, she first acted in semi-amateur troupes. In 1896, as the first Lumière films were shown in Moscow and Saint Petersburg, she made her professional stage debut under the guidance of a well-known provincial entrepreneur, Konstantin Nezlobin, in Vilna, now Vilnius, Lithuania. However, it would take her almost twenty years to branch out into cinema.
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