Lyubov Dobrzhanskaya was born on 24 December, 1905 in Kiev into the noble family of Ivan Andronikovich Dobrzhankskiy, a junior lieutenant in the 166th infantry of the Rovenskiy regiment of the Russian Imperial Army. Lyubov’s uncle was the famous opera singer Roman Andronikovich Romanov-Dobrzhanskiy.
In 1924, on graduating from the theatre studio of the Kiev Russian Drama Theatre, she was taken into the company. Her first husband, the actor Ivan Chervinskiy, was arrested and took his own life in prison. Lyubov Ivanovna’s father was also sent away to the Solovetskiy Islands.
From 1934 onwards, she worked in Moscow in the company of the Central Theatre of the Soviet Army, where A.D. Popov came to have a great influence on Dobrzhanskaya’s craft.
For Dobrzhanskaya, who enjoyed an amazing gift for impersonation, an expressive voice, and a strong temperament, she had a characteristic irony, sharpness of psychological depiction, and a clarity of form on stage. She performed both comic and dramatic roles.